Specialty Food Magazine

JUL-AUG 2013

Specialty Food Magazine is the leading publication for retailers, manufacturers and foodservice professionals in the specialty food trade. It provides news, trends and business-building insights that help readers keep their businesses competitive.

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Page 162 of 217

store snapshots Emergency action… Because they had planned for disaster two years ago when Hurricane Irene threatened the area, Fairway's owners had an emergency plan in place. "One of the main takeaways was it's always better to plan for the worst," says Sanford. That planning includes having business-interruption insurance—which Fairway purchased. "After a disaster like this, they pay for your lost profit and to carry your employees. So for four months, we retained all of our 350 Red Hook employees." Retaining staff during rebuilding was a key consideration. "Our employees are very skilled, and we knew that if we furloughed them, they'd go find other jobs," Sanford explains. Instead, Fairway provided three or four buses in the Red Hook parking lot each morning, which took the crew to other Fairway locations. Fortunately, the timing of temporarily closing in Red Hook created other opportunities. "Our Kips Bay [Manhattan] store was opening, so it was great to be able to have so many of our seasoned employees there to make the opening go smoothly," Sanford recalls. "And some of the Red Hook customers ended up shopping there and it was wonderful for them to be able to see familiar faces." Investing in insurance… It wasn't just the business-interruption insurance that was helpful. Fairway had a quick response from its insurance carrier, AIG. "They advanced us $10 million before they even had a detail of the damage. And getting the insurance recovery team in within 24 hours was the best thing because right away they got to see it." While the Red Hook outlet was most affected, the storm brought problems to other stores—including stretches without electricity. But emergency power FAIRWAY RED HOOK 480–500 Van Brunt St. and backup generaBrooklyn, NY tors kept those losses 718.254.0923 to a minimum. fairwaymarket.com/ In Red Hook, store-redhook/ the insurance comTime closed: Four months pany was responsible Total losses: for carting away all of $15 million–$20 million the food and destroy146 ❘ SPECIALTY FOOD MAGAZINE specialtyfood.com PHOTOS: FAIRWAY The damage... Sandy knocked out the doors, filled the building with more than four feet of water and ruined every single piece of food and equipment in the 52,000-square-foot space, the largest of the chain's 12 markets. Bill Sanford, Fairway's president, estimates that the total loss was between $15 and $20 million. Before After ing it. "Anything that had saltwater damage—which was everything, really—had to be destroyed as well," Sanford says. "The cleaning crews came in after that." Within 22 days, Fairway had a clean, dry shell to work with again. Store improvements… The disaster had a silver lining. "We were able to take all we've learned about the flow of the store, pinpoint areas for improvement and make them happen," Sanford says. The deli and cheese area has opened with new signage, making it more user-friendly. The meat department has been repositioned so one side of the aisle has the butcher section and the other side is chock-full of prepacked meats. The sign department, run by Armando Gonzalez and cheesemonger Steve Jenkins, upgraded the bold, easy-to-read signage that customers have come to expect. The cafe, which offers the best view of the water, is currently getting a facelift too, with clear glass partitions creating the barrier so the view to the water will be completely unobstructed. Aesthetics aside, the owners have made some practical changes that will prevent the same kind of damage from happening again. Structural devices that will be stored off-site can attach to the concrete on the sides of the building to prevent flooding. Giving back to the community… Fairway has been committed to the revitalization of Red Hook since it moved into its historic building in 2006. In fact, 90 percent of its employees live in the area. From the beginning of the recovery, the retailer made significant efforts to help the community. "A few days after the storm, we put together 2,000 family food packs," Sanford says, adding that the business worked with supplier White Rose and philanthropic group Thankful to Be Giving on the project. The packs were distributed at area community centers, but Brooklyn wasn't the only area that received post-Sandy support from Fairway. At Thanksgiving, when many people were still without power, Fairway served 4,500 hot meals the day before and the day after. "We used our Hershey, Pa., kitchen and shipped the food down, consolidated it and it went to seven locations," Sanford recalls. "It was exciting to see employees volunteer." After Thanksgiving ended, the business gave away its remaining turkeys to communities in

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