We're Open: Sahadi's

We're Open: Sahadi's

A Brooklyn market that has been around for decades has faced difficulties, but has found a way to adapt as New York City continues to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.
Sahadi’s store first opened their doors in 1948, and three generations later it has grown and expanded to two retail stores and a warehouse, all in Brooklyn.

"It started off as Middle Eastern specialty items, now it definitely flipped, we still skew Middle Eastern when we can,” says third generation owner Christine Sahadi Whelan.

Sahadi Whelan manages their location in Industry City. She says in the nearly 30 years she’s been in the family business, she hasn’t seen this much change in such a short period of time.

"Being a fulfillment center and selling a bunch of toilet paper isn’t the business we were in. But it’s OK, you have to evolve,” says Sahadi Whelan.

She says they’re one of the few businesses still running on the Industry City campus, but every day they get more and more customers who come in wearing face masks and staying six feet apart who want to buy their favorite foods.

"The whole idea was that you were shopping as if you were in a market, and you had your basket and you were filling it, we had to make a lot of decisions about moving a lot of departments. It doesn't look quite as inviting, but I understand that's what the customers want,” says Sahadi Whelan.

However, she says they haven’t had to let go or furlough a single worker.

Their other location, the original Sahadi’s on Atlantic Avenue has a much tighter layout, so they have been closed since March to focus on online orders. She says they are planning a comeback soon.

"That store is currently being broken down and put back together so it will look like Sahadi’s, but it will be much more customer social distancing friendly,” says Sahadi Whelan. “We're never going to be a supermarket, we are always going to be a market, so I think the most important thing is that we don't lose our identity.”