03/18/2013 12:52 pm ET Updated May 13, 2013

Small but Meaningful Victories for Brooklynites

Windsor Terrace, Brooklyn where I live, has been without a full-service supermarket since last June when the local Key Food on Prospect and 11th Avenues closed and the property was leased to Walgreens. Walgreens announced it would put a drug and convenience store with some food items in the space, but the community rebelled. The shout went out "Green Beans not Walgreens" and hundreds of residents, including a number of local politicians, protested, petitioned, and lobbied for a new full-service supermarket.

It sounds amazing, but nine months later it appears that the Windsor Terrace community has won. Walgreens has finally agreed to expand the Prospect Avenue building to make room for both its drug store and a new Key Food. The Key Food is expected to open this fall and will occupy about one-third of the newly expanded building. The new store will sell fruits and vegetables, meats and cheeses, as well as baked goods, and have the full range of non-food items found in any full-sized supermarket.

Near by Red Hook in Brooklyn has had a similar problem but for a different reason. At the end of October "Superstorm Sandy" flooded the waterfront Fairway supermarket with a five-foot high tidal surge and forced owners to gut the property and rebuild from scratch. I especially liked to shop at the Fairway because an attached food court with moderate prices and really good sandwiches had tables with scenic views overlooking New York harbor, the Statue of Liberty, and the Verrazano Bridge.

When Fairway reopened on Friday March 1, I learned there were other reasons to really like the store and its owners. First, Fairway is a union shop. Its employees are members of United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 1500 which means the "fair" in Fairway stands for fair wages and decent benefits workers. But even more impressive, instead of laying-off its workers when the store was forced to close, Fairway reassigned them to other stores and provided transportation to get them to work. Fairway also brought everybody back when the Red Hook store reopened.

I am going to shop at Fairway, at least until my new Key Food opens, just because it treats its workers the FAIR WAY!