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It’s Good To Be Kings

The wintery blast of weather that blew through our area recently may have prevented Kings Food Market from having its Taste of Spring ribbon cutting event outside like originally planned, but it didn’t stop executives from the company and local officials from taking part in the store’s official re-launch. As the sole Long Island location out of the 25 stores that make up the New Jersey-based supermarket chain, this Kings was taking part in a company-wide re-branding campaign whose tagline is “where inspiration strikes.” It’s a mantra that CEO Judy Spires unabashedly embraces.

“[Kings] is an upscale shopping experience for foodies. We absolutely love great food and we love sharing that passion with food,” Spires enthusiastically said. “What you’ll find in our stores are rare items. Only the highest quality product in the store for the person that has that sophisticated palate and taste. That coupled with our knowledgeable and caring staff, really solidifies what our brand is and differentiates us.”

As you walk around the bright aisles, you wind up passing by a station that makes fresh hand-rolled sushi and a bread department where loaves have a one-day shelf life before getting donated to the Interfaith Nutrition Network (INN). Most impressive is the seafood department which is defined by its Top of the Catch modus operandi which has Kings paying a premium to purchase the topmost level of any fishing boat’s haul, thereby guaranteeing that the market’s customers get the freshest and best fish. It’s these unique twists combined with stellar customer service that distinguishes the Village of Garden City’s premiere supermarket from similar upscale competitors like Whole Foods and Fairway.

“We offer a very intimate shopping experience, and that is a keystone of our operation,” Spires pointed out. “Our employees know our customers and their needs. We know what they want-the best produce, organic produce and organic chicken. [Kings] also carries organic beef that’s grass-fed. We’re ahead of those trends and have always been. Every competitor that we have is very formidable but you don’t get this intimate experience, variety and the quality under one roof with the people aspect that you can find at Kings.”

Despite the fact that the supermarket is based in the Garden State, community involvement is a paramount facet in the local identities of this and the other 24 stores that make up this 76-year-old chain. The INN has enjoyed a particularly fruitful relationship with Kings dating back nearly a decade. Which of course may have to do with the chain’s commitment to actively supporting hunger relief efforts in the tri-state region through its Act Against Hunger initiative. While the past year has seen the Jersey-based company and its vendor partners provide more than 50,000 pounds of food, 5,000 meals and approximately 2,000 turkeys to those in need, local efforts have been just as impressive. In addition to the $3000 donated to the INN at the ribbon (or in this case, pasta) cutting, store manager Connie Deckel and her crew were joining forces with Garden City Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts and students from the high school to conduct a food drive that’ll run through March 31. It’s this kind of spirit that not only had Deckel seek out a managerial job with Kings, but is what she says makes it such a great place to work, particularly given how well the store gibes with the Garden City’s small town feel.

“I love customer service and when I knew [Kings was] coming to Long Island, I Googled them and read all about how much they love their people,” Deckel explained. “Here, it’s a family-run type of feel. And that’s how they are with customers. Garden City is such a close-knit [community] and because this is a small store, people love how we know them by name. We’re small but we have everything you need.”