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PARSIPPANY, NJ-A few months ago, Gristede’s, the upscale New York-based grocer, thought it was all set to make its entry into the New Jersey market with the acquisition of the similarly upscale Kings Supermarket chain. At the 11th hour, however, Gristede’s was outbid by New York arch-rival D’Agostino, which paid a reported $160 million for the 29-unit Kings.

Now, Gristede’s is poised to enter the market anyway, with its own units. According to a published report, the grocer is currently deep into negotiations for five different locations, one here and the others in Westfield, Franklin Twp., Livingston and Short Hills. The game plan, according to Gristede’s CEO John Catsimatidis, is to have five stores in operation within the next year and 15 on the map within the next two to three years.

Gristede’s, which currently operates 42 stores in New York City, Long Island and Westchester County, NY-most of them in Manhattan-says it has a budget of $25 million to open at least 10 stores. The company is looking for existing buildings in the range of 25,000 to 30,000 sf.

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