Signs like the one above are nothing new in Sunset Park. This one promises big things for the future of 49th Street. It's sad - for many reasons - when a place like Ho Ho Cleaners has to leave, but places that survive by taking in WIC vouchers and EBT thrive. It says a lot about where there's money to be made, for one. Also, these "groceries" don't actually provide groceries. Take a peek into a few of the 8th Avenue shops (including the one that replaced Ho Ho), and you see mountains of two things: Pampers Baby Dry diapers and Enfamil or Similac formula. I guess it's quite the profit margin. Or something. (According to a friend, she was approached about using her WIC and EBT benefits to purchase diapers and formula - which she didn't need. She would have been given half their cost in cash. No idea how that would work, but maybe they sell the diapers on eBay or something. But that's just my cynical speculation at work.)
So anyway, the long empty space on 6th Avenue and 45th is getting a new occupant. This is a catch-all shoppe. The new awning has 99 cents and wholesale and retail and WIC and Food Stamps and pictures of milk and Pampers and other items in English, Spanish, and Chinese all over it.
They were also changing the awning from KANG BAO to KING BAO. Apparently there was an error made in the printing. For some reason, the guy working on the A also started peeling off the K.
This new grocery is filling a space that has been empty for years. Another grocery was setting up, but never opened. The people gathered around were pretty excited about the activity, and a woman told me that they were opening next month. The man next to her said, "Maybe sooner!" a few times. When he saw me taking photos, he also said, "See? They're taking pictures already. See?" Nice to see some enthusiasm.
I can't imagine this longtime Grocery and Deli is too excited about it. However, if the new place reflects its 8th Avenue cousins, there shouldn't be too much competition. I can only wish each of them lots of luck. It's good to have something in that corner location anyway. Empty storefronts are never a good neighbor.