Congressman Charles B. Rangel (far left) joins with Aviv and Aaron Raitses, owners of Best Yet Markets, and Kenneth J. Knuckles, President & CEO of the Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone Development Corp. (UMEZ) to celebrate the opening of their newest store, Best Yet Market of Harlem.
LONG ISLAND-BASED BEST YET MARKET OPENS IN HARLEM
new supermarket offers a healthy choice of food options
New York, N.Y. – On Friday, March 5, Kenneth J. Knuckles, President & CEO of the Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone Development Corp. (UMEZ) joined with Congressman Charles B. Rangel, Robert Lieber, Deputy Mayor for Economic Development and Aviv and Aaron Raitses, owners of the Best Yet Market chain for a ribbon cutting and grand opening ceremony for Best Yet Market of Harlem.
Best Yet Market, a Long Island-based supermarket chain, is located at 2195 Frederick Douglas Boulevard (between W. 118th and W. 119th Streets).
The Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone Development Corp. (UMEZ) provided a $1 million loan to finance a portion of the start-up and build-out costs.
According to a study conducted by the New York City Departments of Health and City Planning, and the New York City Economic Development Corp., many neighborhoods are underserved by grocery stores, and the City has the potential to capture money in grocery spending lost to the suburbs. It was also estimated that the City is able to support approximately 100 new neighborhood grocery stores and supermarkets, and there is a high need for local grocery stores in all five boroughs.
As such, two communities, Harlem and Washington Heights, were among those identified in the joint study as “high-need” areas for supermarkets that offer healthier food options. In order to promote an increased presence of local supermarkets and healthier food options, the City has approved the Food Retail Expansion to Support Health Food Stores program (FRESH). FRESH provides zoning and financial incentives for the establishment and retention of neighborhood grocery stores in underserved communities in Upper Manhattan, the South Bronx, Central Brooklyn, and Jamaica, Queens.
Congressman Rangel said, “Given the increasing health concerns about the residents living in neighborhoods throughout Harlem and all of Upper Manhattan, it is essential that they are provided with the ability to purchase food items that will promote more balanced and wholesome diets. That’s why I’m especially pleased that Best Yet Market has chosen this particular community in which to open its newest store. I applaud the Best Yet family and UMEZ for making this possible.”
“UMEZ not only sees its investment in this venture as a financial one, but perhaps even more importantly, an investment in the future overall physical well-being of Upper Manhattan, also.” said Mr. Knuckles
Deputy Mayor Lieber said, “Given the family-owned Best Yet’s outstanding reputation, the Mayor and I believe that Best Yet Market of Harlem will help to address many of the concerns and needs related to the availability of quality, affordable fresh fruits and vegetables in other parts of Upper Manhattan.”
The Raitses are firm believers that Best Yet Market’s employees are the driving force behind his company’s success. "Our people are the company; the better our people, the better Best Yet Market becomes."
Best Yet of Harlem is the company’s twelfth supermarket opened since 1994.
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