North Shore Farms Markets Inaugurate Newest Location in Whitestone, Queens
The North Shore Farms supermarket chain opened its newest location in Whitestone, a neighborhood on the eastern side of Queens, New York, on Friday, December 14th. An opening ceremony was held the evening before, beginning with a traditional Greek Orthodox Agiasmos/blessing officiated by Bishop Apostolos of Medeia, Father Dionysios Anagnostopoulos of Holy Cross (Whitestone), Father John Lardas and Father Dennis Strouzas of Archangel Michael (Port Washington), Father Nektarios Papazafiropoulos of St. Demetrios Cathedral (Astoria), and Father Gerasimos Ballas of Sts. Anargyroi, Taxiarchis and Gerasimos in Greenport. A ribbon cutting ceremony followed, presided over by Queens Chamber of Commerce President Thomas Grech, representatives from the NYPD Community Affairs Office, the heads of the We Love Whitestone Civic Association, and members from assorted local nonprofits and churches. Once the doors opened at 9:00am on the 14th, customers were greeted by cheering, locally hired employees, and the first 10 shoppers to enter the store were rewarded with $25 North Shore Farms gift cards.
“We’re excited to bring North Shore Farms to Whitestone and to Queens,” said company spokesperson George Tsiatis. “Our Great Neck store was close, but there’s nothing like being in the heart of a vibrant community like Whitestone. We’re lucky to have had the support of the community, and we look forward to serving them now and in the future.”
According to Tsiatis, the Whitestone store came about due to a stars-aligning moment of the owners’ interest in Queens location paired with a newly vacant building. “The building itself used to be a Waldbaum’s but the footprint was too big for our store. We know our store performs well at a certain size building and a Waldbaum’s like that was too big. Once the landlord expressed to us that there was a big interest in a supermarket in the area, they had some conversations with us about their willingness to subdivide and that made it a lot more appealing. It was a combination of both the building as subdivided and the community.”
The first North Shore Farms store opened in 2003 in Port Washington. Since then, it has expanded to an eight-store franchise, with additional locations in Great Neck, North Bellmore, Glen Cove, Commack, Mineola, Hauppauge, and now Whitestone. The newest store also marks North Shore Farms’ first foray into Queens. Says Tsiatis, “Whitestone is a community that appreciates the type of food and the type of store that we are. We bring together sort of the best of your farmer’s market, your specialty store, and your standard supermarket. I think there really isn’t a similar store in the neighborhood so we don’t have a competitor, as a result.”
According to Tsiatis, by combining the best aspects of various types of markets, North Shore Farms enables its customers to tailor their shopping experience to their specific needs. “The company slogan Eat Well, Live Better is a driving force. There is a little bit of a philosophy that you see on display when you actually walk through the store. You’ll see in any aisle in any product category there’s going to be a whole array of options, from the generic to the highly specialty. So you’ll have everything from like Krasdale and Goya olive oil, to Greek olive oil, to Moroccan organic pressed olive oil and everything in between. Really the driving force there is we want our customers to make the choice for themselves what they want to either splurge on or spend on and what they want the budget version of. So rather than get too preachy about it and tell them we only give you organic options or we only give you generic options we try to give them as broad an array of options as possible and let them decide for themselves what they want.”
Besides items for purchase, North Shore Farms locations regularly host in-store events and samplings. “Store guests get to explore the fresh produce section and talk to the staff about freshly-baked goods, the fresh seafood and meat selections, the seemingly limitless supply of cheeses, and the aisles of ready-to-eat prepared foods—many of which are available to sample. Cooking demonstrations from local vendors will also be a regular part of the shopping experience,” says Tsiatis. One such event occurred on December 22nd, when the Whitestone location hosted a signing for cookbook author Maria Zoitas. “We’ll host that type of thing at a number of our stores from time to time. We have a few of those a year and we do have regularly cooking demonstrations and sampling throughout our stores on a more ongoing basis as well.” North Shore Farms stores also offer catering service, as well as online ordering at the Commack location.
Though North Shore Farms has eight locations, and an Agiasmos/blessing was performed at each opening at the request of the owners, the Whitestone branch is the first store to open near an area with a strong Greek population, both with the community in Whitestone itself and the nearby, and still predominantly Greek Astoria, Bayside and Flushing. According to Tsiatis, “North Shore Farms is really grateful to the community for welcoming them, specifically to the Chamber of Commerce, to Senator Tony Avella who was very supportive of us in the process and just various members of the community that have really welcomed us.”
The Whitestone North Shore Farms store is located at 153-01 10th Avenue. All North Shore Farms locations are open seven days a week, from 7:00am to 10:00pm. To learn more, their website is northshorefarms.com