New retailer replaces Food Basics

Photo by Ron Leir Fine Fare logo has been mounted over the former Food Basics store at Main St. mall.
Photo by Ron Leir
Fine Fare logo has been mounted over the former Food Basics store at Main St. mall.


A new supermarket has surfaced in Belleville’s Valley area in place of another that has been sold off as part of the A&P bankruptcy action.

Fine Fare, a chain of stores in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, has taken over the former Food Basics store at 414 Main St., anchor of the strip mall at that location where several of the smaller retail spaces remain vacant.

The Food Basics market was one of some 120 stores operated under various brand names but all owned by A&P as the parent company that were assets packaged for sale earlier this year with approval by the federal bankruptcy court.

A&P folded another 25 stores, which, it said, had “significant operating losses.” Among those stores are the Belleville Silver Lake Pathmark, 115 Belmont Ave., with some 70 workers, which closed Sept. 18; and the Bloomfield A&P, 19 Belleville Ave., with 46 employees, which shut on Thanksgiving.

Whether buyers for those stores will surface remains to be seen.

Meanwhile, customers have been filtering into the Fine Fare since it opened – following an inspection by the Belleville Health Department – on Nov. 22 – 10 days after Food Basics ended its operation – and in time to capture holiday shoppers.

Miguel Luna, who identified himself as the president of the store, told The Observer last week that he and his son Brian were functioning as co-owners.

Luna said that the new operators were still making adjustments and that, “over the next four to five months, the entire store is going to be remodeled,” including new lighting outside while, inside, “even the floor will be new.”

As far as its product goes, Luna said: “We’re looking to be very competitive” with other area merchants.

Among specialty items Fine Fare will be offering, there will be hot food to eat in or take out, deli, fresh meats department, fish, sushi and flowers, he added.

“Our warehouse is only about 10 minutes from here,” he said, across from the MetLife Stadium.

Even with all the improvements in the works, Luna said the store will continue operations without interruption.

Luna declined to say how many employees the store will be carrying but said that “about 50%” of its work force are former Food Basics workers, who live in the area.

“We prefer to hire local people,” he said.

“We like our new location,” Luna added. “People know our name.”

Luna has plenty of experience in the supermarket industry, having worked the past two decades with Fine Fare and Key Foods.

– Ron Leir 

Learn more about the writer ...