53rd Street Co-Op closes its doors after 10 years

By Aviva Rosman

The lights were still on at the 53rd Street Co-Op Market, but the doors were locked and a sign on the window read: “Thanks for your loyal support for the past 10 years.”

After experiencing financial difficulties and operating at a loss, the 53rd Street Co-Op closed for good this past Saturday at 5 p.m. Co-Op Markets is in its final negotiations with Hyde Park Produce, currently located in a smaller location east on 53rd Street, to remodel the store and reopen it in approximately three months, according to store manager Ernie Griffin.

He said the reaction from the community has been “sadness” and “disappointment.”

“For a lot of university students, this is their hub,” Griffin said. “This has been a very sad experience for everyone—I myself have been here for 42 years, 32 under the [previous owner] Mr. G company and 10 with Co-Op Markets.”

He said that all of the workers from the 53rd Street store will still have jobs at Co-Op Markets after the closing.

The 53rd Street Co-Op has not shown a profit in recent years, and in order to minimize financial loss, the board of directors reached a decision to close the store, Griffin said. Two years ago, the Co-Op closed their 47th Street location, also in response to financial difficulties.

Shoppers waiting in line at the 55th Street Co-Op expressed regret over the closing of the 53rd Street sister location.

“I remember I used to live at 53rd Street [and Greenwood Avenue] and could walk down the street to get eggs or do grocery shopping, instead of pushing a shopping cart 10 blocks,” said customer Rita Stack.

“It was convenient if you lived in that area—it’s a nice plaza with a couple of restaurants,” said Eugene Losev.

For now, Griffin said, there are no plans to close down the 55th Street location.

“This should be an improvement for the 55th Street store,” Griffin said. “With the reduction, it’s time to concentrate all our efforts into making it the best store possible.”