Rats found roaming around Fairway

September 27, 2012 2:23:49 PM PDT
The supermarket on the Upper West Side had a dozen people working all night trying to address a serious rat problem, and state inspectors arrived first thing this morning.

"It's like driving a stake through my heart when i see stuff like this," Howard Glickberg, Fairway Market owner, said.

That stuff was cringe-worthy pictures seen on Eyewitness News and first posted by myupperwest.com, that show a mouse just sitting atop fairways olive bar and a giant rat scurrying across the aisle of the market.

Fairway's owner took us inside and around the store for a look as state inspectors spent several hours doing the same.

"Quite honestly, some heads are gonna role in my organization. People didn't do the job they were supposed to do," Glickberg said. "They're not gonna lose their jobs, but we're gonna slap them on the wrist."

He says they get a couple of inspections per year, and that they haven't failed an inspection in at least 2 years.

Glenn Herman was in the store early Wednesday morning when another customer noticed the little rat.

"The gentleman who pointed it out to me, an older gentleman, looked like someone had tazed him," Herman said.

When Eyewitness News started looking online, we saw other videos taken by customers at the store and some still pictures as well.

The primary focus is the olive bar, which remains closed as crews set up additional traps and re-inforced steel walls. Eyewitness News saw rat traps set both outside and inside the store.

"The manager there did tell me that it is kind of difficult to wipe out the rat problem when they are basically walking through the front door from the subways," Herman said.

Supermarkets like Fairway are inspected by the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets once a year "unless there's something critical to cause reinspection."

In a statement Wednesday night, Fairway said, "We believe the incident was caused by the massive construction that is happening throughout the immediate vicinity of the store. We are now taking comprehensive measures to remedy the situation so that it doesn't happen again."

The o wner also blames construction on Broadway (although major construction is 2 blocks away) and an abandoned building right next door.

Fairway spokesman Bruce Bobbins told the Associated Press that Fairway is spending "hundreds of thousands of dollars" in an effort to fix the rodent problem. This includes new doors, walls and floors reinforced with diamond plating and new produce cases.

Fairway Group Holdings Corp. filed paperwork Monday to take its chain public. It has 11 stores in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.

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