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Fairway Market in Lake Grove closing after two years

The Fairway Market, at 3200 Middle Country Rd.

The Fairway Market, at 3200 Middle Country Rd. in Lake Grove, is closing almost two years after it opened. This is the store entrance on Friday, June 24, 2016. Credit: Newsday / Aisha Al-Muslim

The Fairway Market in Lake Grove is closing almost two years after it opened.

At the entrance of the Lake Grove Fairway supermarket on Friday two signs stated: “Store closing. Everything must go.”

The store is scheduled to close by July 15, said Tony Speelman, president of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union’s Local 1500, based in Westbury. The Lake Grove store, which opened in July 2014, will be the only Fairway closing, and the company still plans to open a new store in Brooklyn, Speelman said.

Company representatives did not respond to several requests for comment.

The 50,000-square-foot store at the DSW Plaza shopping center, at 3200 Middle Country Rd., is directly across the street from the Smith Haven Mall.

“I really love the store,” said Lucia Grella, 59, of Nesconset, who normally shops there once a week for Italian cheeses. “I am going to miss this store. They had everything fresh.”

A notice posted Friday on the New York State Department of Labor’s website said the date for the store to close and potential layoffs to occur would be July 29. The company indicated in the state filing that 107 employees would be affected.

However, Fairway offered employees at the Lake Grove store transfers to stores in Plainview and Westbury, Speelman said. He said 20 to 30 employees probably won’t want to work at the other stores. In that case, the union will try to find them jobs with King Kullen or Stop & Shop, he said.

“Nobody in that store would be laid off,” said Speelman, whose union represents about 600 Fairway workers on Long Island. “Are we sad that the store is closing? Of course, we are. Unfortunately, Lake Grove wasn’t making money.”

Manhattan-based Fairway Group Holdings Corp. filed for bankruptcy protection in May after reaching a restructuring deal with creditors. At the time, the company said it would continue to operate its 15 Fairway locations and four Wine and Spirits stores in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, including its three supermarkets on Long Island.

Fairway’s problems were that “they expanded too quickly and they had way too much debt,” said retailing consultant Howard Davidowitz of the retail consulting and investment firm Davidowitz & Associates Inc. in Manhattan.

Earlier this month, the company’s reorganization plan was unanimously accepted by its voting secured lenders and confirmed by Manhattan bankruptcy Judge Michael E. Wiles. At the time, the company said it expected to emerge from bankruptcy this week with about $50 million in cash and a $140 million reduction of its debt.

“Some bankruptcy cases are filed to facilitate store closings or reject burdensome leases,” said Marc Hamroff, managing partner of the Garden City-based law firm Moritt Hock & Hamroff. “Since it doesn’t appear that the object of Fairway’s bankruptcy was to close stores and reject leases but rather to restructure its ownership and bank debt, it would not be unusual for a company to consider store closings or even new openings after it emerges from Chapter 11.”

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