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Powered By Produce, Met Fresh Supermarkets Serving NYC In Style

Met Fresh Supermarkets

Last updated on August 28th, 2023 at 03:06 pm

Danny Hamdan was working in Florida, when he got a call one day in 2011 from his uncle, Omar, who after 25 years working in the grocery business wanted to move into ownership. He wanted Hamdan to come home and help him.

Danny Hamdan

“So we opened up our first store, and then the third and the fourth. And from there, we just kept opening store after store,” Hamdan said. 

The family together owns multiple Met Fresh Supermarkets across three boroughs of New York City and New Jersey.

“We have our family, even our distant family – aside from my father and my uncles, I’ve got cousins and their family – all in the business. It’s nice. We can all help each other out,” he explained. 

Hamdan opened his first store as sole owner/operator in 2018. He wanted to continue emphasizing produce as its focal point. The family members conduct business in their own ways, but produce and meat are always emphasized. 

“You can go anywhere and buy a box of cereal or some granola, whatever it is. But your produce – to be a fair price and have the best quality – is key,” he said. 

Met Fresh Supermarkets

Hamdan’s store has had success with pre-cut fruit and vegetables, particularly as many consumers turn to time-saving products and meal solutions. He also said the “artistry of grocery” comes from the produce section. 

“It’s all about having that beautiful aesthetic and keeping the ‘wow’ factor,” he said. “When people come into Met Fresh, they look, they shop, they go, ‘Wow, amazing.’ We like to focus on customer service. We take pride in the store being super-ridiculously clean and organized…it’s artistic, kind of its own form of artistry.”

The markets Met Fresh serve are organic focused, according to Hamdan. “We started doing [organic] in 2012, just a year after we opened the first store. And it took time. At first, people said they wanted natural…a couple years later, and the same people, they’re like, ‘Oh, I only eat organic.’ It’s all about having good variety in a limited space.”

New York City is not known for abundant retail space. Despite smaller locations, Hamdan said the company has always been able to provide good variety. “We want every customer to walk out with a full cart of things they are going to enjoy.”

Foodservice items also are popular at Met Fresh. Customers will find fresh steam tables and carving stations with meats like fresh turkey, pastrami or brisket. Convenience is a top priority for shoppers. 

“You can put it on a platter, put it with two sides. We make them fresh every day in our Bay Ridge and Bensonhurst locations,” Hamdan said.

“Our pastrami and brisket is the same – if not better – to the quality of Katz’s Deli. It’s really good pastrami and brisket, which is amazing to have in your supermarket. People can come in, grab lunch or take it home.”

One of Hamdan’s favorite new store additions is the walk-in beer caves, which emphasize microbrews. “Especially with the limited space, to have a walk-in beer cooler is something that has brought us some focus.”

Met Fresh Supermarkets

Hamdan has been pleased with New York’s ban on plastic bags, which has relieved him of the cost of buying them. In addition, it has turned tote bags into a commodity. Likewise, he’s happy the state has made it easier for businesses to get a liquor license. 

“A lot of guys open up and they bring the beer in later because they don’t get the license in time…now you can get a temporary liquor license while waiting,” he said. 

However, Hamdan has been facing increased operational costs, including New York City’s rising minimum wage. He described his property taxes and electric bills as “unbearable,” adding “and there’s nothing we can do” about them. 

These challenges make it difficult to save up for store improvements. “It’s crazy,” he said. “You save money for the business and ‘boom,’ it’s gone. What am I supposed to do as a business owner?” 

He has attempted to contact the mayor’s office, with no results. “It’s unbelievable. It’s unbearable. This is real life. What we’re dealing with is real, and it’s going to hurt us and the people who shop here,” he said.

He offered an example at his store, which totals 11,000 square feet. 

“My electric bill, for example, is about $14,000 a month. One month, the bill came in, it was $29,000. What are you supposed to do? Am I supposed to try to get a loan just to pay my bills?”

Read more independent store news and market profiles from The Shelby Report.

About the author

Jack R. Jordan

Content Creator

Jordan joined The Shelby Report in May 2022 after over a year in the newspaper industry. A native of Marietta, Georgia, he studied writing and communications at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College. He spends too much time in the grocery store trying to find recipe ingredients, so he looks forward to covering the industry.

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