Columbus Natural Food, an Upper West Side mainstay, is closing its doors at the end of September. The store, which offers prepared food and groceries among other items, has been in the neighborhood for more than 20 years.
“The landlord has other plans,” said Chet Patel, the store owner, who added that those plans may involve demolishing the building and eventually building upward. “There are expansion ideas going. We have no hard feelings against him.”
Patel, 47, has been part of the store’s ownership group for almost seven years. Attempts to find another space for the store have been unsuccessful. Patel said he plans to move to Florida full time and attend to a local business he has there.
“There are hardly any spaces available locally,” said Patel. “Only a couple spots and the rent is more than double.”
The store must vacate the premises at 725 Columbus Ave. (between 96th and 95th streets) by September 30. Patel said they are planning to have a sale the last few weeks of September to help get rid of inventory.
“What’s killing us more every day is online shopping and grocery deliveries,” said Patel. “And places like Trader Joes and Whole Foods,” both of which are within about a four-block radius of Columbus Natural Food.
The store has been a local favorite, with past reviewers calling it a “neighborhood treasure” and citing the friendly and helpful staff.