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October 24, 2013 - Image 14

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2013-10-24

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metro >> on the cover

Fresh Out

With Farm Fresh closed, kosher consumers worry about options.

Yaffa Klugerman I Special to the Jewish News

CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1

"My husband and I are extremely dis-
appointed by Farm Fresh closing," said
Oak Park resident Talya Drissman Woolf,
echoing the sentiments of many in the
community. "It was our go-to spot for
shopping."
Many Farm Fresh customers also said
they would especially miss Jerry Denha,
the supermarket's beloved owner, who
sources said was despondent about the
closing.
"Jerry was always looking out for us,"
Woolf said. "Many times he'd bring me
a cart when I had started with a basket.
If he was missing an item, he'd do his
best to stock it for us. He went out of his
way to make it a welcoming, reasonably
priced and clean market for the Jewish
contingent in the area:'
Specifics about the reason for the clos-
ing remained unclear. Mike Salmo, the
store's manager, said only that sales were
down and that the store could no longer
make ends meet.
He insisted, however, there was "no
truth whatsoever" to rumors that kosher
distributors would not service Farm
Fresh or that lack of consumers from the
Jewish community were contributing fac-
tors to the store's closing.
Salmo added that he was currently
negotiating with possible buyers and
would strongly recommend to purchasers
that they include a large kosher section.
In the meantime, consumers worry
that having only one remaining Glatt
kosher butcher and grocery in the
area — One Stop Kosher Food Market,
located a mile to the west of Farm Fresh
at 10 Mile and Greenfield in Southfield
— would result in increased prices.
"One Stop has no competition now,"
noted Oak Park resident Mirjam Gunz
Schwarcz. "I love One Stop, but competi-
tion is always a good thing for the con-
sumer:'
Shlomo Goldman, the New York-based
owner of One Stop, responded that his
store's prices have always been based on
fair market value and would not increase
as a result of Farm Fresh's closing.
"We're here to service the community,"
he said, "as we have been doing since
1996:'

Kosher Retailers React

Statistics indicate that demand exists for
kosher establishments in Metro Detroit. In

14 October 24 • 2013

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Kosher meat used to fill this empty case at the now-closed Farm Fresh Market in
Oak Park.

How the community will be affected
by Farm Fresh's closing has yet to be
determined. But some kosher retailers
are already making plans.

a 2010 update to a study of Detroit's Jewish
population, 22 percent of respondents said
that they kept kosher to some degree —
the same percentage as in Miami. Fourteen
percent of Detroit respondents said they
kept kosher in and out of the home, which
was the second highest percentage out of
35 different communities.
Moreover, the study found that
Orthodox Jews, who arguably depend the
most on kosher establishments, made
up a significant part of the community.
In Detroit, Orthodox Jews comprised
11 percent of the Jewish community,
ranking it fourth in the country, below
Baltimore, New York and New Jersey's
Bergen County.
How the community will be affected
by Farm Fresh's closing has yet to be
determined. But some kosher retailers
are already making plans.
"In reaction to the Farm Fresh closing,
we have been internally discussing mov-
ing to monthly deliveries," said Chaim

White, co-founder of KC
Kosher Co-op, which
currently delivers kosher
products to the Detroit
area twice a year. "But
we'll probably first wait
to see if our co-op mem-
bers contact us request-
Chaim White
ing us to do so."
Based in Kansas
City, the co-op delivers
kosher products to 16 cities. It has about
300 members from the Detroit area, and
has been delivering here for two years.
In a move spurred by the Farm Fresh
closing and the shuttering of Hiller's
Market in Berkley at the end of this
month, Holiday Market on Main Street
in Royal Oak recently opened a new
kosher section that offers poultry, meat
and cheese. According to owner Tom
Violante, the selection of kosher prod-
ucts could very well expand if it proves
to be popular.

"We are trying to make sure that the
people who want kosher food can get it,"
he explained.
At the Costco on Telegraph Road in
Bloomfield Township, countless kosher
products fill the shelves, including chick-
en, meat and cheese. Bradley Whetstone,
the store's assistant general manager,
said Costco would certainly consider
suggestions for additional kosher items
in demand as a result of the Farm Fresh
closing.
"We do well with kosher products," he
said.
Meijer and Trader Joe's also have some
kosher meat and poultry.
Rabbi Jason Miller, who founded and
directs Kosher Michigan, which certifies
businesses from a Conservative view-
point, said the Farm Fresh closing would
undoubtedly affect many in the Detroit
Jewish community.
"I'm saddened by it because it's one
kosher [source] in this community that
is no longer," he said. "[But] I don't think
there's a dearth of options for kosher
food in this area:'
One Stop's Goldman agrees — but
adds that such availability is precisely the
problem.
"We carry a large variety of kosher
products," he said. "But it's very difficult
for smaller stores such as ours to stay in
business, especially when we are com-
peting with the Walmarts and Costcos.
That's really our challenge. We keep
fighting it so we can stay in business and
support the Jewish community here:'

Kosher Restaurant Challenges

While Farm Fresh's closing was not
caused by lack of support within the
Jewish community, the event is particu-
larly disheartening because the store is
the latest of several kosher food establish-
ments to close. In recent months, two res-
taurants in Southfield shut their doors.
The Council of Orthodox Rabbis of
Greater Detroit, known as the Vaad, lists
30 local retail establishments, including
caterers, bakeries, butchers and 7-Eleven
slurpees, that it certifies as kosher. Rabbi
Yosef Krupnik, who has served as its
kashrut administrator for more than two
decades, has seen many kosher restau-
rants shuttered because they could not
make ends meet.
"On some nights," he said of the res-
taurant owners, "they tell me they lose
money by turning on the electricity:'

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