The closure of King Kullen, one of two major supermarkets in Glen Cove, has residents and local leaders concerned.
The grocery store, at 77 Forest Ave., which has been a fixture in the community for over two decades, will close for good on July 28. Neither King Kullen corporate nor Norman Bobrow & Co., the property landlord, would comment on why the store’s lease would not be extended. Those set on continuing to shop at a King Kullen will have to travel roughly nine miles, to Manhasset.
No information was available as to who will lease the storefront once the grocery store closes, leaving community members to speculate on whether another grocery store will open there to serve over 50,000 residents of Glen Cove and surrounding areas.
King Kullen’s impact on the city isn’t limited to its convenient location and selection of goods. It has also fostered a sense of community.
“I think the reason why I like King Kullen is that it’s smaller and friendlier, and you’re in and out quicker,” Michele Maziejka, of Glen Cove, said. “They’re just so friendly.”
Maziejka, a mother of six, finds herself shopping at King Kullen daily. The store has a history with her family: Two of her children found their first jobs there as teenagers. Her son worked in the deli, and her daughter was a cashier. She credits their experiences at the store for teaching them necessary life skills in a safe and community-based environment.
“They gave them the opportunity to work as young teenagers,” she said. “The feeling of a hometown store going away is sad.”
Amid high gas prices and inflation, those who hoped to supplement their incomes with a second job at King Kullen will have one fewer option to choose from.
“I still have the application sitting at my house,” said John Angeli, of Locust Valley. “I was looking at it yesterday, going, ‘I guess this isn’t happening.’” Glen Cove King Kullen, and recently considered applying to the Long Island based chain. Citing concerns over parking at other local stores, Angeli said, “I’m going to come here as much as I can because this place is going to be a memory and it’s not sitting well with me.”
Assemblyman Charles Lavine, of Glen Cove, and state Sen. Anna Kaplan, who represents parts of Franklin Square where another King Kullen is closing on July 14, wrote a joint letter to Norman Bobrow & Co. They cited their concerns that the grocery store’s closure would limit options for local residents to purchase their groceries.
The June 21 letter stated in part: “We write to express the hope that you will rent this space to another supermarket. Otherwise, Glen Cove will be left with only one major supermarket. As a city, Glen Cove has an urban demographic presenting the need for meaningful choices of markets providing fresh quality food.”
They also wrote that Glen Cove is a growing community with the opening of several large residential developments in Village Square and Garvies Point, which would support the existence of a grocery store in the area.
Lavine said in an interview that there are small specialty markets in Locust Valley, Glen Cove and Glen Head, but he remains concerned about maintaining the needs of an increasing Glen Cove population.
“They’re good markets and they’re very helpful,” he said, “but for a population of over 50,000 to be served by only one major supermarket is insufficient.”
Lavine states that he has no doubt that when residents learn King Kullen has closed, they will be disappointed and will want another market to take its place.
“That’s what we were hoping to accomplish by talking to the landlord,” Lavine said. “We have the longstanding tradition of having two markets in this area, and King Kullen was a very pleasant place to shop. The employees were always very nice people who were largely from the community. It’s with a note of sadness that we see them come to the end of their tenure here in the community.”