The history of Fairway started in 1933 with Nathan Glickberg. He founded a small fruit and vegetable stand simply to support his family.
In 1954, Nathan and his son, Leo, partnered to create the beginnings of the first store at 74th St. and Broadway. At this time they decided to rename the business and Leo’s wife (Cynthia) suggested using the name Fairway because her own father had successfully operated a business under that name. She felt it was a lucky name. In 1974, after having grown up learning the family trade, Leo’s son, Howie Glickberg, came into the business with a bigger dream and grander vision of growing Fairway. Howie inherited sawdust covered wooden floors, item racks supported by milk crates, and a square footage that only had room for four cash registers. With an extraordinary work ethic, Howie wasted no time looking for opportunities to expand, and soon Fairway lived up to its slogan “LIKE NO OTHER MARKET®,” which is a registered trademark of the company. He brought in two partners, Harold Seybert and David Sneddon, and together the three of them catapulted Fairway well beyond anything that Howie’s grandfather, Nathan, could have imagined.
Back in the 1970s, Fairway was an unassuming Upper West Side, one storefront shop that offered the best values on fruits and vegetables and penny candy out of self-service bins built into a wall. The neighborhood truly loved and embraced it, food lovers traveled across town to shop there, and soon the three partners started to realize their vision of expansion. They brought in traditional groceries and specialty items, and started hiring the crew of ambitious, hardworking foodies who would one day become Fairway’s experts, department heads, and vice presidents.
Fairway took over the space next door, and by the mid-1980s talk of Fairway Market was reaching a fever pitch all over town and beyond. Fairway was always first to offer unique, different, imported, things-you-didn’t-know-existed foodstuffs. The low prices captured lots of attention and the new-and-improved product offering earned a new-found respect. Newspapers, magazines, foodies and the like could not stop writing and raving about it.
In 2006, having achieved a great deal of success, Howie’s two partners were ready to retire. This put Howie in the market for a new partner that could help him further realize his business dreams. Enter Sterling.
Sterling Investment Partners, based in Westport, CT, invests in middle-market businesses that have strong, sustainable competitive advantages and growth potential. With Fairway fitting the bill, and a shared aggressive growth vision with Howie, Sterling announced they had taken a majority ownership in Fairway Market in early 2007. Together, Charles Santoro, managing partner/co-founder of Sterling and chairman of Fairway, Howie Glickberg, Vice Chairman of Development and third generation owner, and a team of seasoned managers, accelerated Fairway’s new store openings to two per year. By the end of 2011, Fairway Market had expanded to nine stores, and the number of people employed was approximately 3,500. Herb Ruetsch, who had joined Fairway Market in 1998 as its Chief Financial Officer, was appointed the Chief Executive Officer in January 2012. Prior to this appointment, he was Fairway Market’s Chief Operating Officer.
Fairway Market has achieved excellence and recognition as an industry leader. It’s been listed as Inc.’s top 5,000 fastest private growing companies for 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2011. Other achievements include:
Despite rapid growth, the things that remain constant are the desire to keep Fairway Market as true to its entrepreneurial and customer-focused roots as possible, and to never lose sight of all of the things that make Fairway unique and special to millions of people each year: being the first to carry or import something new and delicious, sky-high piles of daily-delivered produce, a best of the best kosher selection, the freshest seafood, custom-cut USDA Prime meat from our Butcher Shop, an immense variety of organic and natural foods and products in every category, one-stop shopping with a full assortment of traditional groceries at fantastic values, the only market to roast hand-selected coffee beans of the highest quality on premises, an overall selection that all other grocery stores are absolutely envious of, and trained team members who are incredibly passionate and knowledgeable about food.
Regarding our coffee operation, Howie was once asked how Fairway learned so much about it. Howie responded, “It’s like everything else we do in the store. Whenever we bring a new product into the store, or a new department into the store, we become experts at it.” And that just about sums it up.
Come in and walk the aisles yourself. Explore, take in the aromas of a fresh market place, sample and let the tastes linger on your palate as you decide the best way to fill up your cart. You’ll never return to sub-par food again.