Brooklyn Fare will have mo’ of everything: Moe

The Brooklyn Fare supermarket on Schermerhorn St. in Downtown Brooklyn, the growing chain’s first location.

The Brooklyn Fare supermarket on Schermerhorn St. in Downtown Brooklyn, the growing chain’s first location.

BY MICHELE HERMAN | One supermarket door closes and another opens. At the north end of the West Village, we have lost the Associated despite spirited protests. But at the southern end of the neighborhood, in the Archive Building, the new Brooklyn Fare has a firm opening date of July 22.

I’m just back from a walk-through of the space. It’s in the latter stages of a gut renovation, started right after D’Agostino vacated last fall. This will be the third Brooklyn Fare store, the first two being in Downtown Brooklyn and on the far West Side of Manhattan.

Owner Moe Issa, an Israeli immigrant with a quiet, no-nonsense demeanor, has a lofty goal for the new store, one that few if any have ever attained: He wants to please all Villagers.

How will he do it?

“Through volume,” explained the former Pepsi distributor who went into the grocery business believing he could do a better job of it than the corporations that run — and tightly control — most supermarkets.

“You have to carry everything to make it work,” he said. “You can’t be one-dimensional. You have to serve the masses.”

Issa’s business model involves carrying more product than other stores, so that high-end customers and budget-minded ones alike can do their regular shopping there.

For quite a few months, the space’s huge windows at the Archive, along Greenwich St. at Christopher St., have been covered, leading some locals to fear that the deal had fallen through. Issa’s original projection of a spring opening date was optimistic, yet he said progress has been rapid.

“All supermarket equipment has to be made to order and requires 12 weeks of lead time,” he noted.

He has hired some key positions, and will do additional hiring in the next few weeks. He said that former D’Ag employees are welcome to apply.

Soon the windows will be opened up, revealing not just the bakery department but the actual bakery. All baking for the three stores will be done on the premises, which helps keep down prices. Also notable: All the meat and dairy cases are enclosed.

“It keeps products at a steady temperature,” Issa explained, “and is much more efficient and a better use of space.”

A low wall separates the aisles from the cash registers to streamline traffic. Throughout, there’s lots of fresh carpentry, flagstone, white tile and vast swaths of counters and cases. Issa said that everything in the space, down to every wire, has been replaced.

He held his first open house last week and hopes to do a couple more. He reports that he got great feedback. He also said that he used the event “to feel the pulse of the neighbors.”

Since the store is larger than his other two, he will be able to stock more items, possibly expanding his organics.

“One thing I noticed is a lot of families,” he said. “So I might stock cereal boxes in larger sizes.”

He will wait and see what else the neighborhood wants.

“We have to get a feel in the first few months,” he said. “We count on feedback. Our demographics are similar at all the stores, but there are always differences.”

When asked why other supermarkets have such a hard time staying in business, let alone appealing to wealthy and budget-minded customers alike, he said that he can’t speak for other operators.

“But it’s all about philosophy and vision,” he offered. “It’s hard to run an operation like mine. It’s about staying on top of everything. It’s much more work, but I’m not afraid to put in the hours.”

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