Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Hunts Pointless?

According to the NY Post this morning, the Hunts Point Produce Cooperative is looking to leave the Bronx: "The Hunts Point produce market may soon bid farewell to the city.
The privately run wholesale fruit and vegetable cooperative is looking for a new home after the city refused to fork over $150 million to help build a new facility in the southeast Bronx, The Post has learned."

This would indeed be bad news for the entire Bronx, but it would be particularly bad for the city's small businesses: "If the produce market leaves the city, it would be more costly for small grocers and bodegas to travel to a location further away to purchase crates of fruits and vegetables - possibly driving up costs for the consumers across the five boroughs." It would also make the smaller stores less competitive with larger stores that are less dependent on local supply.

Hunts Point provides the kinds of employment that is vital to the city's less skilled workers. The retention of the Cooperative is crucial to the city's food businesses, but EDC seems to be caught unawares when asked about the potential relocation: "Janel Patterson, a spokeswoman for the Economic Development Corp., said the co-op "has not made us aware of any plans to relocate out of the city." Patterson added, "We value the market for its significant impact on the city of New York. We are in preliminary discussions with the cooperative to develop a viable for plan to develop a new facility to meet its growing needs."

Let's hope so. The loss of the market would be a devastating blow to the entire food distribution system in New York City.