The Best Market supermarket in Coram will abruptly close Friday after 20 years in business.
Best Market officials said the 30,000-square-foot store, which opened in September 1997, will be shuttered because the chain has a newer 50,000-square-foot location nearby and can’t sustain both stores.
The Coram store, at 1840 NY-112, is about 2 miles from a Best Market in Selden. That location, in a former Waldbaum’s supermarket at 211 Middle Country Rd., opened in February 2016.
“The two locations are really close to each other,” Best Market vice president and general counsel Or Raitses said Thursday. “We really tried to make both stores work. Coram being an older store . . . it made more sense to move into the bigger store that we acquired and serve the community.”
About 60 full-time and part-time employees at the Coram store are being offered transfers to the chain’s other locations. The employees were told about the store closure on Thursday, Raitses said.
“We will give them an opportunity to work closer to where they live,” Raitses said. “Everyone is being paid for their scheduled time, and then they are going to start being moved to their new store.”
For Diomedes Antonio Mos quea, 34, of Port Jefferson, a produce worker, moving to another location would hurt his wallet. Mosquea, who doesn’t have a car, pays $11 to $15 to take an Uber or taxi six days a week to the Coram store, which is the closest Best Market to his home, he said.
“I was surprised. It was shocking news to me,” Mosquea said about being given a day’s notice of the closure. “They should have let us know with time because at least we could have found another job or something.”
The Coalition for Sustainable Retail Jobs, a group of labor unions and workers’ right organizations including Long Island Jobs with Justice and the United Food and Commercial Workers, has been calling for better workplace conditions and higher wages for Best Market employees. They are not unionized.
“We’re involved because we consider an incident like this a workers’ rights issue, because it affects the quality of life of the Best Market workers,” said Anita Halasz, executive director of Long Island Jobs with Justice in Hauppauge. “Who can find a job within 24 hours?”
After the Coram closing, the Bethpage-based, family-owned grocery company, which expanded by taking over 10 local former Waldbaum’s and Pathmark locations, will have 28 stores in New York, Connecticut and New Jersey, including 23 on Long Island.
Next year, Best Market plans to open in a former King Kullen in Syosset and in a former Waldbaum’s in Center Moriches that became the Center Moriches Marketplace, a store banner of Key Food, before it closed down.