Changes ‘big deal’ for Morris Park market

Aurelio Rodriguez (left), Mike Stawniczy and Miguel Garcia outside Morris Park’s Big Deal supermarket, which reopened Friday, September 5, and is now affiliated with a new cooperative.
Community News Group / Ben Kochman

Some new offerings — and slashed prices — are a “big deal” for one Morris Park supermarket.

Big Deal Supermarket on Morris Park Avenue has partnered with a new parent cooperative, a move its owner says allows it to both keep its local flavor and keep up with the prices and selections of its competitors.

“The variety is larger, and more into the gourmet, but it was important for us to keep our name,” said Big Deal owner Manuel Garcia. “Now we have the opportunity to have the same pricing as our competitors in the urban communuity.”

Big Deal is now a member of Allegiance Retail Services, a co-operative of over 90 independent supermarkets that is also the parent company of Foodtown. Allegiance aims to leverage their network of local shops to keep them competitive with bigger chains.

Lower prices, more selection

Allegiance has been working with Big Deal in the last few months to rethink how it sells groceries. The store held a “re-grand opening” Friday, September 5.

For now, that partnership means that customers will pay lower prices on items, and see increased selection in areas like gluten-free foods, said Garcia.

“Before we had one aisle, with maybe two or three items that were gluten free. Now we have sections of that type of merchandise,” said the shopowner.

Customers will also see more sales that last longer, and increased signage around many items.

For example, the pasta aisle now boasts tags on different selections advertising if a certain selection is “heart healthy,” “gluten-free” or “low sodium.”

Stacking up with city shops

The new distributor and partnership is part of a larger renovation for Big Deal, that also included installing solar panels on the roof. The changes allow the Morris Park staple to keep pace with the best supermarkets around the city, said the store owner.

“People often tell me, this is the kind of place you might see in Manhattan,” Garcia said.

Inside the store, on the day of the re-opening, some people had already noticed the change in selection, and were curious about the new offerings.

“I’m not gluten free, but maybe I’ll start now,” said local Silvia Magro.

Reach Reporter Ben Kochman at (718) 742–3394. E-mail him at bkoch‌man@c‌ngloc‌al.com. Follow him on Twitter @benkochman.
Owner Miguel Garcia shows off his shop’s expanded pasta selection.
Community News Group / Ben Kochman

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