There’s a transition happening at one of the Essex Street Market’s largest vendors.
After 19 years, Luis Batista has sold his grocery store, located at the south end of the historic market, to a new operator. Jose Luna and another partner took over Batista Grocery a couple of weeks ago. Mr. Batista is sticking around for a short period of time to help with the transition.
The transaction has been in the works for several months. Before the ownership change could take place, the new team had to go through a fairly involved process with the city’s Economic Development Corp. (EDC) which operates the market. The EDC grants a permit for each public market vendor.
In a brief conversation yesterday, Batista told us he had grown weary of the daily grind of running the business. He’s looking forward to taking some time off before deciding what’s next. He already got some vacation time in, visiting his home in the Dominican Republic. The new owners are also Dominican.
Batista Grocery sells a wide selection of fruits and vegetables, canned foods, including hard-to-find specialty Latin ingredients. Its prices are among the best on the Lower East Side.
There will be a sendoff party for Luis in the market later this month.