In a newly opened box that’s modest by club-store standards and enormous as area food shopping options go, the membership warehouse club BJ’s Wholesale Club hopes to make an outsized splash at its newest store, which opened in Long Island City, N.Y. Jan. 29.
The store, just a tad over 80,000 square feet, is relatively tight by the standards of BJ’s, the Westborough, Mass.-based membership club whose largest units in suburban settings are more than double the size. But the new store’s location in the dense and heavily trafficked crossroads of the Sunnyside, Long Island City and Astoria neighborhoods in Western Queens gives it access to about a half-million residents within two miles and more than 1 million within three, according to Heidenberg Properties Group, landlord of the Plaza 48 shopping center where the new store is located alongside a recently opened Burlington clothing store.
“We’re excited to expand our footprint here in New York with the opening of our newest club in Long Island City,” Antonio Ramos, general manager of the unit, said in a press statement. “Our team members have worked tirelessly to prepare for the club opening and we’re so excited to bring a safe and convenient shopping experience to the local community.”
BJ’s said it helps its paid members save money and time by offering “unbeatable value” on a mix of everyday groceries, household essentials and big-ticket items like electronics, office supplies, clothing, toys and small appliances in one-stop shop. It says its grocery prices are about 25% cheaper than competitors, based on a basket of 100 national brand household staples, on an unpromoted unit-price basis, when compared to leading grocery chains in its existing trade areas.
Grocery selections offer value on family-size items from a tight mix of about 7,200 skus overall. BJ’s officials say they have been working to refine the selection to pare down in some categories while growing selections of natural and organic goods, many under its Berkeley & Jensen private label.
A look at the adjoining produce department. Bouyed by strong performance in the pandemic, BJ's officials have made no secret they would like to build faster. The Long Island City store in the second to open this year; BJ's opened in Newburgh, N.Y. last week. Plans call for at least six openings in the current fiscal year; the East Coast-focused company is also new markets for growth including Pittsburgh.
Located at 34-60 48th Street, BJ’s is directly across the street from an existing Stop & Shop, and just east of a high-volume Food Bazaar, all accessible by busy Northern Blvd. Its opening may take some heat off other BJ’s units in the area including stores in nearby Queens neighborhoods of Ridgewood and Flushing. Long Island City is also home to a Costco.