NoLibs Superfresh Opens With Early Morning Roof Deck Suit-and-Tie Party

superfreshIt finally happened. The Northern Liberties grocery market has opened, and it’s taken the form of a Superfresh. Be happy, very cool NoLibs resident!

There was a mayor’s press conference and all out suit-and-tie party on the roof deck parking lot of 2nd and Girard this morning, from where you can see all of Northern Liberties and probably a pretty good view of the skyline, if only this morning’s sky weren’t so damn milky.

Shoppers were strolling in and out of the store smiling like hand-picked research test subjects while Mayor Michael Nutter, Councilman Darrell Clarke, Developer Bart Blatstein, A&P (which owns Pathmark and Superfresh) CEO Sam Martin and UFCW Rep. Al Vincent spoke to an audience of about 50.

Politicians mostly credited Blatstein with creating and going through with the project.

“[Blatstein] had the vision to see the good solid neighborhood with folks who cared and think that he could do some reach out, but they told him that the market wouldn’t bear it,” State Rep. O’Brien said to the crowd. “So he went out and helped create his own neighborhood: He built the Piazza. And over the years…he never took his eye off the prize, was always steadfast.”

When we spoke to Blatstein upon A&P filing for bankruptcy last summer, he said the Pathmark was still set to open and that it was actually going to be a new, improved “Higher End” version of Pathmark. “It’s ironic,” we quoted him saying at the time, “because Pathmark and A&P will emerge as a much stronger company…They’re getting rid of their old baggage so the company can reemerge stronger and with a better direction.”

Now that it’s open as a Superfresh, you don’t see too many people upset about the many delays in construction or the company’s troubles.

“I don’t know what size [the store] is but I know it’s big,” said Councilman Clarke to laughs. “I have no idea how many employees it is, but I know it’s a lot. All that good stuff. I just want to say how happy I am about what’s going on in this neighborhood.”
Clarke claimed he would be shopping at the Superfresh, too, and ripped former half-term Governor Sarah Palin in his remarks, saying he could see the Superfresh from his house.

The store itself is 51,000 square feet and features most of the stuff grocery stores feature (Bisquick, frozen meatballs, baby food, Tropicana, and more). But it’s also got a sushi bar, hot foods, free cake and free samples all over the place (Note: those last two examples are likely only today…perhaps only this morning; really good cake, though).

Blatstein said A&P has a long history ahead of it, and though he didn’t actually say the word “bankruptcy,” it was implied.

Amongst all the high end A.M. partying, the Pink Dolphin, a convenience store in the Piazza, just a block away from the new Superfresh, sat almost empty. Amongst the small aisles lined with health-friendly snacks were three customers – two of whom were wearing “Superfresh” T-shirts and had likely been helping promote the store’s opening today.

For people like Sal Gonzalez, who works the counter at the Pink Dolphin, a new large store a block away means one thing: Competition.

“There are a lot of regulars that come in here,” he says. “I’m sure those customers are going to continue coming in here. It’s convenient, it’s where they live. But with Superfresh opening up, it’s competition. So you wonder what’s going to happen down the road. When you build a rapport with people that’s strong enough, even though it’s a little more expensive here than there, it means something.”

The owner of Pink Dolphin declined an interview with PW.

“There’s no way to know right now [what affect Superfresh will have on Pink Dolphin]. I mean, it’s the first day,” Gonzalez says. “But it’s possible there might be some problems because, I guess, being a convenience store and located where it is, near Superfresh… then again, if people are just coming downstairs from upstairs, I guess we can hope some people are going to be lazy.”

14 Responses to “ NoLibs Superfresh Opens With Early Morning Roof Deck Suit-and-Tie Party ”

  1. CASHonly says:

    Pathmark AND Super Fresh both are owned by bankrupt A&P. Maybe it would have made more sense for a (rapidly-growing) ShopRite to open there instead.

  2. scot says:

    shoprite sux

  3. Sam Martin says:

    Thank you for the overwhelming support from this wonderful community. As CEO of A&P I pledge to offer lower regular retails to our valued guests when our new supply agreement kicks in when we exit Chapter 11, and all Genuardi family markets are sold off.

  4. TheONE says:

    I agree Scot but honestly, so does SuperFresh. Seriously, people in this area have no idea what a good supermarket is. If a Hannaford opened around here I think people would start fainting they are that good. And forget about Roche Brothers everyone would think they had died and gone to heaven if one of them opened around here. Seriously Philly, you have no idea what a good supermarket is.

  5. Don Ciotti says:

    Dear Theone, I am the big boss for a sister entity of Hannaford in this region. My stores are called Bottom Dollar and we are opening up very soon on Girard Avenue. Watch for an announcement. Like Hannaford, we sell better items at better prices than other are food retailers. Looking forward to meeting a very intelligent person such as yourself when we enter Center City.

  6. Reading-Terminal says:

    2nd & Girard… since when is that Northern Liberties? How about Fishtown?

    Anyhow, good to have a real supermarket in the area.

  7. andy says:

    Bottom Dollar operates cool stores in both the Philly area, and soon Western Pennsylvania.

    They have an edge in pricing, selection, throw in some humor, and give back to their community.

    What’s not to love about that?

  8. Don Ciotti says:

    As a refugee from the soon- to- be- defunct Genuardi chain, I wish to thank you. Even Philadelphia Enquirer girl reporter Maria Panini, who is very,very fussy, according to members of P&P, likes us.

  9. [...] When we spoke to Blatstein on AP filing for failure final summer, he pronounced a Pathmark was still set to open and that it was indeed going to be a new, softened “Higher End” chronicle of Pathmark. “It’s ironic,” we quoted him observant during a time, “because Pathmark and AP will emerge as a many stronger company…They’re removing absolved of their aged container so a association can reemerge stronger and with a improved direction.” [...]

  10. Don Ciotti says:

    Who is the handsome fellow who bears my name in Maria Panaritis’s EXCELLENT piece in the Philadelphia Inquirer business news segment of 1/8/12 ?? Bet your BOTTOM DOLLAR he has a lot more integrity than many other executives in his field who attained their positions through NEPOTISM !!

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