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With supermarkets, size matters, and bigger is not always better.

In fact, retail publications like Supermarket News have reported that some chains are rethinking optimal sizes, which can be between 12,000 and 20,000 square feet rather than the 50,000-plus square feet that many of the larger chains offer. Studies have shown that as many as a third of shoppers prefer smaller stores.

With this in mind, Kevin Kim, who owns a SuperFresh store in Bloomfield, plans on opening a pair of 16,000-square-foot SuperFresh supermarkets in North Jersey.

Kim said that within the next year he hopes to open two SuperFresh supermarkets: on Lexington Avenue in Clifton, which some old-timers may remember was once the site of a Grand Union and a Rite Aid, and on Van Houten Avenue in Passaic, on a site that the equally hoary might recall once housed an A&P.

“We will be little but big on perishable items, offering produce, fish, meats, dairy, deli bakery, sushi and flowers,” Kim said, adding that he’s been in the supermarket business for 35 years and has a good idea what his customers are looking for.

“I started with a fish market,” Kim said. “We are going to bring the biggest fish market in the area, with a live fish thank with catfish, Chilean sea bass, tilapia and lobster.”

Targeted locations

Kim said he was looking for an opportunity and targeted these locations because they sat smack in the middle of food deserts, urban areas where affordable or good-quality fresh food stores are sparse.

First to open, he said, will be the Clifton store, which he figures should be operating by April 2023, followed by the Passaic location by next fall. The Passaic site will take a bit longer, he said, because he plans to build an additional 6,000 feet of space.

SuperFresh was originally a brand of the A&P chain, but after A&P’s second bankruptcy, the SuperFresh brand was bought by Key Food.

In March 2016, Key Food relaunched the SuperFresh brand in Paterson, according to Supermarket News. It has since opened stores thoughout the metropolitan area, including rebranding existing stores in Clifton’s Botany section and in Passaic on Jefferson Street.

The owner of those stores, Randy Abreu, said that before joining the SuperFresh franchise, they operated under the National Supermarket Association banner.

“It’s like going from Burger King to McDonald’s,” Abreu said.

Clifton Mayor James Anzaldi said he’s been around long enough to see both ends of the store size trend.

“At one time, the supermarkets in the 1990s were much larger than than everyone was used to in the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s,” he said.

He’s not surprised that the larger-box stores, like Kmart and Pathmark, are being split into smaller spaces.

For Passaic’s Mayor Hector Lora, adding supermarkets in underserved areas helps everybody and especially the food-insecure, many of whom rely on supplemental nutritional assistance.

“Placing markets in food deserts increases the availability of health food,” he said. “It can significantly reduce obesity and chronic diseases in vulnerable populations like ours.”

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