People in one Brooklyn community are upset after losing a long-time friend: their neighborhood supermarket. And they say a retail giant is standing in the way of another one moving in. NY1's Jeanine Ramirez filed the following report.
Greenbeans not Walgreens is not only the chant. It's also the name of a newly-created group in Windsor Terrace fighting the pharmacy chain.
Walgreens took over the lease Wednesday at the former site of a Key Food. And opponents came out on day one, demanding another supermarket at the site because the nearest full-service grocery is about a mile away.
"Walgreens management either steps up or steps out," said Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz. "One way or the other. They heard us. They have it within their ability to make sure that this space has a full-service supermarket. They can make it happen. And if they don't, they're showing the community disrespect."
For the borough president, the fight is also personal because he lives here and shopped at the Key Food before the owner retired. Residents have been without a local supermarket for nearly two months.
"It definitely leaves a vacuum in the area," said one resident.
"There's really nothing here and the mom and pop stores cannot support the amount of people that need these basic necessities," said another.
More than 3,000 residents have signed petitions against Walgreens moving in. Other elected officials have joined the fight, including Assemblyman Jim Brennan, State Sen. Kevin Parker and City Councilman Brad Lander. They've met with Walgreens officials to try to broker a deal for a supermarket.
"It's just greed, essentially," Lander said. "There are grocery stores that want to be here, that want to operate. They would take the whole site, they would take part of the site."
Walgreens said only that it will "create a store that best meets the needs of our customers and the community." However, opponents pledge to boycott unless there's a supermarket on site.
"We will fight it all the way," said one.
"We're going to do the Walgreens walkout," said another. "The Walgreens walkout."
Opponents said what they don't need is another pharmacy. There are already two in the neighborhood that they said will continue to get their business.