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Food Universe in East Elmhurst to Close, 58 Jobs to be Lost: State Filing

The Food Universe supermarket located at the Jackson Heights Shopping Center, pictured, is slated to close. Fifty-eight employees are going to lose their jobs (Photo via Google Maps)

April 26, 2022 By Michael Dorgan

The Food Universe supermarket located in the Jackson Heights Shopping Center is slated to close and 58 employees are expected to lose their jobs.

The supermarket, located at 75-55 31st Ave., is operated by Key Foods and the company notified the New York State Department of Labor last month that the store is permanently closing on June 6.

Key Foods will lay off the workers once the store ceases trading, according to a WARN notice filed with the state. The workers are members of the UFCW Local 342 and UFCW Local 338 trade unions, according to the filing.

The company stated “sale of business” as the reason for the closure.

Key Foods and Food Universe could not be reached for comment.

The 31st Avenue store opened in 2016 and residents say it plays an important role in supplying groceries, fresh produce, meat, supplies and other products to the community.

They say the closure will have a devastating impact on residents as well as the workers who will soon be out of a job.

Community activists plan to hold a rally outside the store on May 7 in a last gasp effort to convince the operators of Key Foods to reverse their decision. The rally will take place at noon in front of the store, according to a Facebook event post about the rally.

“Without this nearby and easily accessible grocery store, the seniors and people with disabilities in our community are forced to travel at least a half-mile or more to purchase food and other important supplies necessary for living,” the Facebook post reads.

“We want to send a loud and clear message to the Key Foods Corporation that we want to save our local grocery store!”

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Ethan G.

This is terrible! All of us here in East Elmhurst rely on that supermarket for either daily and/or weekend food trips. I hope they replace it with another supermarket at least like they did before with Waldbaums because I’d hate for our area to become a food desert.

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