NYCEDC Opens Kensington Met Fresh Supermarket with Support from City’s FRESH Tax Benefits 

Food Retail Expansion to Support Health (FRESH) Program Brings Healthy and Affordable Food Options to Communities 

Since 2009 Launch, FRESH has Delivered 22 Finished Projects; Providing New Yorkers Across All Five Boroughs with Access to Fresh Food Options 

Brooklyn, NY – May 31, 2024

Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) today announced the opening of Met Fresh Kensington, a 7,043 square foot minority-and-women-owned local supermarket that will provide the community with healthy and fresh food options. The supermarket received tax benefits through the New York City Industrial Development Agency’s (NYCIDA) Food Retail Expansion to Support Health (FRESH) program in late 2023. 

The NYCIDA FRESH program aims to bring healthy, fresh, and diverse food options to communities by lowering the costs of owning, leasing, developing, and renovating supermarket retail space. Since launching in 2009, 28 projects have been approved for FRESH tax incentives across the five boroughs, 22 of which have completed construction and are open to the public, and more are currently under construction. These supermarkets represent over one million square feet of new or renovated space, creating over 1,500 new jobs, retaining more than 600 jobs, and an investment of $200 million into New York City’s economy. 

“Mayor Adams and EDC are thrilled that the FRESH program is providing the opportunity for a minority and woman-owned entrepreneur to bring greater access to groceries and fresh produce to the neighborhood,” said NYCEDC President & CEO Andrew Kimball. “The opening of Kensington’s Met Fresh supermarket in this long-vacant building demonstrates the FRESH program’s ongoing success in identifying and supporting supermarkets in key neighborhoods.” 

“As a minority and woman small business owner, I am very grateful to NYCIDA and the FRESH program for their support and help with the opening of the Met Fresh supermarket that will allow us to serve the Kensington community in Brooklyn,” said Jeneen Hamdan, Owner, Met Fresh Supermarket. “Small businesses are the backbone of the economy, and it is thanks to programs like these that more businesses can be created which will in turn can greatly benefit the communities they serve and help New York City thrive.” 

“I welcome Met Fresh Kensington to the Council District 39 community,” said Council Member Shahana Hanif. “I look forward to my constituents in Kensington having an additional source of fresh and healthy food available to them in the neighborhood. I thank the NYCEDC and NYCIDA for their support in making today’s opening a reality.” 

“Everyone should have access to fresh healthy food, and I applaud EDC’s efforts to help make this a reality for all New Yorkers,” said Assembly member Robert Carroll. “I am glad to see Met Fresh opening at this site, which has been vacant for too long. It will not only give residents more shopping opportunities but also provide much needed jobs and economic activity.”  

“Investments in supermarkets that are located in areas with limited food options not only enhances the local economy, but also helps improve the quality of life for area residents,” said Randy Peers, President and CEO of the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce and an IDA Board member. “I applaud NYCEDC and the Mayor’s Office for Food Policy for leveraging the IDA’s FRESH program to support the opening of Met Fresh Supermarket in Kensington, Brooklyn. The Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce looks forward to providing ongoing support to Met Fresh to ensure long-term business success.” 

Zulema Wiscovitch, Co-CEO and Co-President of Associated Supermarket Group (ASG), stated, “We applaud New York City’s Economic Development Corporation for extending their FRESH program into central Brooklyn. We at ASG are thrilled for Janeen and the entire Hamdan family for the opening of their Met Fresh on Church Avenue. This supermarket will excel at serving the food needs of Central Brooklyn’s multicultural communities with the freshest produce, variety, and excellent customer service.” Joe Garcia, Co-CEO and Co-President (ASG), added, “Met Fresh will encourage investment and job creation in Kensington and the surrounding neighborhoods. Congratulations to the Hamdan family on their new location.”

With the NYCIDA tax support, Met Fresh Kensington was able to convert a building that has been vacant for five years into a dynamic supermarket for the surrounding community. In order for a supermarket to be eligible for FRESH benefits, the store must be in an eligible area in New York City, identified as or adjacent to a highly distressed census tract, and provide: a minimum of 5,000 square feet of retail space for a general line of food and nonfood grocery products; a minimum of 30 percent of retail space dedicated to perishable goods; and at least 500 square feet of retail space for fresh produce. 

Met Fresh supermarkets are part of the Associated Supermarket Group (ASG) which provides retail solutions to independently owned grocery stores across the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions.  

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About NYCEDC  

New York City Economic Development Corporation is a mission-driven, nonprofit organization that works for a vibrant, inclusive, and globally competitive economy for all New Yorkers. We take a comprehensive approach, through four main strategies: strengthen confidence in NYC as a great place to do business; grow innovative sectors with a focus on equity; build neighborhoods as places to live, learn, work, and play; and deliver sustainable infrastructure for communities and the city’s future economy. To learn more about what we do, visit us on FacebookTwitterLinkedIn, and Instagram.   

About NYCIDA   

New York City Industrial Development Agency (NYCIDA)

Supports business growth, relocation, and expansion across the five boroughs by lowering the cost of capital investment. NYCIDA’s tax incentive programs bolster the local economy, create jobs for New Yorkers, and uphold the city’s position as a global business hub. 

About ASG  

Associated Supermarket Group provides retail solutions to independently owned grocery stores in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions, providing distribution, marketing, merchandising, promotional services, and store financing. A relationship with ASG allows independently owned and operated stores to take advantage of the economies of scale normally available only to larger supermarket chains. ASG’s supermarket banners include Associated, Associated Fresh, Compare, Compare Fresh, Met Foods, Met Fresh Metropolitan City Market, Pioneer and other independently named stores. 

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Janeen Hamdan, Met Fresh Kensington Owner

NYC Economic Development Corporation, ASG, Hamdan Family

NYC Economic Development Corporation, ASG, Hamdan Family

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ASG Continues Advocacy for Fair Competition in Washington, D.C.: National Grocers Association Fly In

ASG participated in the National Grocers Association (NGA) Fly-In for Fair Competition in Washington D.C. this week, joining over 150 independent grocers to meet with members of Congress on Capitol Hill. This pivotal event allowed independent grocers to directly engage with lawmakers on critical issues that impact our industry and the communities we serve, including antitrust reform and enforcement through the Consumer Grocery Pricing Fairness Act, support for SNAP CHOICE while protecting data privacy, and credit card routing reform the Credit Card Competition Act to reduce exorbitant swipe fees.

The NGA organized remarkable advocacy preparation for all attendees, featuring insights from Congress members and Capitol Hill experts to show how to influence legislative action and champion issues vital to our industry operations and the diverse communities we serve. Representing the retailers were, Zulema Wiscovitch, Joe Garcia, and Michelle Mendoza.

As we approach Memorial Day Weekend, a time for honoring those who have served our country, it’s a fitting moment to reflect on our collective efforts to ensure fair competition and support for independent grocers. Just as we remember and honor the sacrifices of our veterans, our participation in the legislative process underscores our commitment to advocating for a fairer market landscape that benefits the communities we serve every day.

Representative Marc Molinaro’s (R) NY-019

Office of U.S. Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D)-NY

U.S. Representative Nick LaLota (NY-01)

Office of U.S. Senator Kristen E. Gillibrand (D-NY)

Joe Garcia and Zulema Wiscovitch, co-Presidents and co- CEO of ASG
To amplify our collective voice and increase our impact, we encourage you to consider becoming a member of the National Grocers Association. For membership inquiries, please contact Jonathan Downey at jdowney@nationalgrocers.org, identifying yourself as an ASG retailer. Alternatively, you can also reach out to Michelle Mendoza, Vice President of Marketing & CX at Michelle.Mendoza@asghq.com, to learn more about membership benefits and ASG’s engagement in industry relations.
Thank you for your continued support and dedication to the independent supermarket sector. Together, we will continue to advocate for a vibrant and competitive marketplace that benefits us all.
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Gov. Hochul Signs Retail Theft Bills into Law to Protect Supermarkets

Store Owners and Operators,

We are thrilled to announce that ASG was a supporter and member of the Collective Action to Protect Our Stores (CAPS). Throughout the rigorous 18-month journey, the coalition relentlessly championed the cause of prioritizing retail safety, defending the welfare of both New Yorkers and the supermarket community.

On May 1st, Governor Kathy Hochul unveiled her resolute strategy to combat crime, signing into law the hard-fought bills we ardently advocated for. ASG played an integral role in this historic triumph, marking a watershed moment for our industry. The momentous signing ceremony took place at New York Law in Manhattan, a testament to the significance of our collective efforts.

The FY25 State Budget includes Governor Hochul’s five-point plan to fight organized retail theft:

  • Bolstering criminal penalties for anyone who assaults a retail worker by elevating it from a misdemeanor to felony. Any person who causes physical injury to a retail worker performing their job will be subject to this new felony. 
  • Allowing prosecutors to combine the value of stolen goods when they file larceny charges. The Budget allows retail goods from different stores to be aggregated for the purposes of reaching a higher larceny threshold when stolen under the same criminal scheme. 
  • Making it illegal to foster the sale of stolen goods to go after third-party sellers. A person will be found guilty if they use any website or physical location to offer stolen goods for sale. 
  • $40.2 million for dedicated Retail Theft Teams within State Police, District Attorneys’ offices and local law enforcement, including 100 New York State Police personnel dedicated to fighting organized retail theft. 
  • $5 million tax credit to help small businesses invest in added security measures such as cameras. To help alleviate the burden on small businesses for additional security measures, the Budget creates a $3,000 tax credit, available to any business with 50 or fewer employees that spends the threshold amount of money on retail theft prevention measures.
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