It's not a new thing to hear rumors that the Key Food super market at 5661 Riverdale Ave., is closing. But the gossip the troubled store might shut down in the middle of a coronavirus pandemic has even elected officials ready to step in.
Councilman Andrew Cohen and Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz want to broker a temporary deal between Key Food franchise owner Kevin Luna and his landlord, Braun Management, with the hopes to keep the store open, at least until society gets somewhat back to normal following the outbreak of the virus that causes COVID-19.
The problem? Neither Luna nor Braun Management is getting back to the elected officials, they said. That means that they are not only hampered in creating a temporary agreement, they're still not sure the rumors the store is closing are even true.
"Now is not the time for Riverdale residents to lose such a vital resource," Cohen said, in a release. "Braun Management and Key Food have a civic responsibility to the community and its most vulnerable residents to be transparent and good community neighbors. The community has expressed great concern about the future of the business, and this uncertainty has only added to the anxiety during a difficult time for all."
The Skyview Shopping Center anchor is a business many in North Riverdale rely upon, Cohen said, even when there isn't a shutdown looming. Because access to food is critical during a pandemic — especially now where most residents are being ordered to stay home — losing this store in the middle of that could have serious consequences for the neighborhood. Especially for senior citizens, those living with disabilities, and those with limited mobility.
"Right now, with so many Riverdale residents dealing with unemployment, loss of income, and all sorts of stresses and strains, I'm concerned about folks who will suddenly need to figure out how to get fresh food, and area businesses that will need to ensure supplies are sufficient for our residents during a shutdown scenario," Cohen said. "The two parties need to do everything in their power to ensure the Key Food remains open to serve the community in a moment of crisis. This is their chance to show that they care about the people of this community."
Those were sentiments shared by Dinowitz.
"Now is not the time for a grocery store to be closing," the Assemblyman said, in a release. "We are in the midst of a global health crisis with a domestic epicenter in our own backyard. People must be able to buy food and other household supplies in order of us to get through this pandemic."
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