Freaked-out Fairway shoppers are hoarding groceries

Helena de Groot isn’t handling Fairway supermarket’s financial troubles too well.

“I feel I’m standing on quicksand. The ground is disappearing from my feet,” says the podcast producer, who’s lived on the Upper West Side for two years.

“It’s almost worse than the impeachment thing,” says retired singer Barbara Miller, who’s been shopping at the store for 30 years. “It’s not a good month.”

Barbara Miller has been shopping at Fairway for 30 years.Barbara Miller has been shopping at Fairway for 30 years.Brigitte Stelzer

When The Post broke the news on Jan. 21 that the grocery chain planned to file for bankruptcy — and was looking to close several of its NYC stores — “I cried,” de Groot tells The Post. The 36-year-old, who hails from Belgium, says her neighborhood market has been an anchor during her adjustment to life in the Big Apple.

She loves it for the same reason her fellow Fairway fans do: It’s affordable, with high-quality store-brand food and a large catalog of international goodies. (“[They sell Belgian] Jules Destrooper cookies, which feel like home,” says de Groot.)

Not to mention the franchise’s undeniable New York ‘tude, which Food Network Star Ted Allen captured in a recent tweet: “This is (was?) the best grocery store I have ever shopped,” he wrote. “I mean, ‘Don’t even THINK about asking us to cut the fat off the prosciutto!’ ”

The anxiety is acute at Fairway’s Upper West Side branch, which is the brand’s oldest store and sort of its unofficial hub in NYC. Although Fairway says it’s in talks to sell its five Manhattan stores to Village Supermarket — the company that operates ShopRite and Gourmet Garage — its future remains murky.

“There’s no guarantee that Village will be the successful bidder,” says bankruptcy lawyer David Wander of Davidoff Hutcher & Citron. “As the stalking horse, they have a significant advantage, but they can always be outbid. Nothing’s a done deal.”

It’s sent locals like de Groot into a state of despair. “It feels like you have no control over anything,” she says.

Helena de Groot and her beloved Fairway-brand OJ.Helena de Groot and her beloved Fairway-brand OJ.Brigitte Stelzer

But she’s trying to take advantage of the market while it lasts.

After a teary phone call with her mom, “I brought my backpack and three bags [to the store],” she says. She filled them with $80 worth of organic produce, plus bottles of her beloved Fairway-brand OJ.

Her Upper West Side compatriots are similarly stressing — and stockpiling — as the supermarket’s future hangs in the balance.

“I feel like crying,” says 83-year-old Henry Harris, pushing his crowded shopping cart as he stocks up on his grocery staples, such as organic sourdough bread and corn soufflé. “You have so few places now where ordinary people can shop … All that’s gone now.”

“I practically passed out when I heard,” says shopper Sydney Smith, who has lived on the Upper West Side since the 1990s. “My heart stopped.”

Although she’s planning for the worst as best she can — a $150 trip on a recent weekday included several boxes of Typhoo tea, a British brand that’s hard to find at American grocery stores, plus bagfuls of pretzel buns — Smith is grieving over the dairy aisle.

“The teas and stuff I can hoard, but I can’t hoard the perishables,” she says. “Nobody else makes Colby Jack [like Fairway.]”

And don’t get her started on the produce.

“I like to make fried green tomatoes,” she says, and “it’s very unusual” for stores to carry them outside of peak summer tomato season. “Only in the South can you find them year-round” — the South, and Fairway.

FairwayFairwayBrigitte Stelzer

Adding to the stress for panicked patrons? Limited apartment space.

“I plan to stockpile their Supreme blend Keurig-style coffee pods,” says Lisa Sharkey. And while she has an idea of where she’ll stash those boxes in her Upper West Side kitchen, she’s going to have to play some serious Tetris to clear freezer space for the supermarket’s organic ice pops. “They are my go-to nighttime snack.”

But in true Upper West Side renegade fashion, fans of the store say they won’t just let Fairway as they know it die without a fight.

“Can we protest someone’s going bankrupt?” says Gina, a 68-year-old from the Upper West Side who declined to share her last name for publication. “I don’t mean to sound selfish, but I don’t care if they’re in Brooklyn or the suburbs — this is the special one.”

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