We’ve heard that the mayor has reached out to the National Supermarket Association leaders. The NSA, a predominately Dominican trade group, represents around four hundred independent supermarkets throughout the city.
The mayor’s outreach is definitely a step in the right direction. He is setting up a task force to examine the needs of the industry. What the NSA leaders need to do, however, is to come up with a couple of concrete policy ideas in order to avoid the whole exercise deteriorating into a meaningless symbolic gesture. Our suggestion would be to ask the mayor to do the following:
1) Support a pilot program from commercial waste disposers – This would save the industry millions in yearly garbage disposal costs
2) Remove BJs from the Gateway Mall – There are minimally 25 independent supermarkets, on both sides of the Harlem River, that would be negatively impacted by a BJ’s at the Bronx Terminal Market site. The mayor should be told that it is unacceptable for the city to put tens of millions of dollars in public money into this project and, when all is said and done, allow the developer to tenant the site with a retailer who will put the investment of these supermarket owners at risk.