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Fairway Market in Westbury to become Food Bazaar if court OKs sale

Fairway Market has a pending deal to sell

Fairway Market has a pending deal to sell its Westbury store to Bogopa Enterprises Inc., which would operate the store as Food Bazaar. Credit: Charles Eckert

The Fairway Market in Westbury might be getting a reprieve.

The grocery store was scheduled to close soon because the parent company could not find a buyer, but the owner of Food Bazaar Supermarkets has agreed to purchase it, Fairway Group Holdings Corp. said in a bankruptcy court filing Wednesday.

The proposed buyer, Brooklyn-based Bogopa Enterprises Inc., acquired two other Fairway Markets in a bankruptcy auction in July — in Red Hook, Brooklyn, and Douglaston, Queens.

If the court approves the Westbury store's sale to Bogopa, the deal requires that at least 90% of about 130 jobs at the store be saved.

“That’s a fantastic situation not only for our members, but for the community. It’s a well-positioned supermarket. … It’s clean, it’s fresh and it will provide great service for decades to come,” said Rob Newell, president of United Food and Commercial Workers International Union Local 1500 in Westbury. 

The Westbury store would operate as a Food Bazaar Supermarket if the court approves the sale, he said.

Bogopa operates 26 Food Bazaar stores in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, including one in a former Pathmark in Brentwood. Bogopa acquired the Brentwood store from Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co. (A&P) in a bankruptcy auction in 2015.

The pending sales agreement for the Westbury store calls for Bogopa to buy the supermarket, at 1258 Corporate Dr., for $900,000, according to the court filing.

In addition, “the lease for the Westbury store will be assumed and assigned to Bogopa and Bogopa will assume all cure costs up to $300,000 and is entitled to a $150,000 purchase price credit,” the document said. 

In a bankruptcy case, cure costs are the rent and other fees owed to a landlord that must be paid in order for a lease to be assigned to a different entity.

Fairway submitted motions asking the court to approve the sale of the store and assignment of its lease to Bogopa, and that a request to expedite the process be approved. Fairway asked the court to set a hearing on the motions for Aug. 13.

Fairway declined Newsday’s request for comment. Bogopa did not respond to requests for comment.

Fairway Group Holdings Corp. operated 14 supermarkets in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut when it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York in January.

Buyers have been found for nine of the stores, and the Local 1500 was heavily involved in helping to find the purchasers, Newell said. 

“We have been exhausting all of our business relationships throughout this process to get as many stores purchased as we could,” he said.

Fairway’s stores in Plainview and Harlem closed, as well as two stores in New Jersey.

A store in Stamford, Connecticut, is slated to close by Aug. 14, according to a July 17 letter Fairway sent to the Connecticut Department of Labor.

The union represented about 2,300 Fairway employees in the New York City metro area before the store sales. Food Bazaar employees are members of the union, too.

The Fairway in Westbury was slated to close between July 31 and Aug. 14, according to a Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act filing, or WARN, submitted to the New York State Department of Labor.

Under the WARN Act, certain employers must notify workers and the state in advance of mass layoffs or work site closings.

The Westbury store opened in Raceway Plaza in 2012 and occupies about 60,000 square feet of leased space. The Mattone Group is the Queens-based co-owner and manager of the shopping center.

Mattone did not respond to a request for comment.

The landlord is supportive of the “sale transaction while Bogopa and the Westbury landlord negotiate the terms of an amendment to the current lease which will be assumed and assigned,” according to the bankruptcy court filing.

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