April 14, 2024
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April 14, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Grand & Essex Celebrates 1st Birthday

Bergenfield—Not even an emergency rooftop snow clearing could stop this neighborhood grocery from putting on its one-year anniversary extravaganza. Packed with families undaunted at having to make their way through the rear service entrance, they came to see aisle after aisle of clowns, magicians, face painters, and caricature artists and to sample oodles of homemade delicacies passed by waiters in black tie. This epic celebration also included a $1000 tzedakah giveaway, a $250 shopping-spree drawing, and even a kid-friendly baking session with cookies baked by community children for Tomchei Shabbos. With festive music pumping inside and out, it was truly a fun-filled first anniversary bash for this community store and its loyal customers.

So one year later how do they rate themselves? “The initial goals are met, but there is always more to do,” says Elie Rosenfeld, a spokesperson for the store. “We have re-created a lower East Side shopping experience in Bergenfield.”

Sticking to the nostalgic roots of early kosher American food, Grand & Essex offers 25 types of homemade herring, regular heimish Shabbos food, and fresh baked goods with an added contemporary twist. The new offerings, like pretzel chicken, are palette pleasing for the next generation, and are all in keeping with friendly customer service that harkens back to the old neighborhood–where a butcher was knowledgeable about meat and was accessible and the baker put his heart and soul into his fresh-baked treats.

There are plenty of kosher marketing choices in the area, and even big regional supermarket chains now recognize the business upside of catering to kosher consumers. So far this has not affected Grand & Essex. In fact, quite the opposite is happening. They are reaching the rapidly expanding Bergenfield and New Milford Orthodox community, and there’s a surge in new customers from the Upper West Side and Riverdale. New delivery service has broadened the reach and added a host of new city customers that currently have limited options. Accommodating this burgeoning new demand, the owners are expanding next door, to triple the size of the kitchen, add display space and ensure that they can keep up with growing demand for traditional and innovative prepared meals.

“Shopping should be an experience,” says Rosenfeld. “At Grand & Essex it’s about more than just groceries, it’s about people and their needs. We cater to our shoppers and their changing needs. We stayed open until 10 p.m. the Wednesday before the big storm because we anticipated the needs of the community who wanted to shop early for Shabbos. We can easily do that even on Erev Shabbos, because our mashgiach can walk home if necessary.”

Active with social media and with over 1500 likes on Facebook, Elie says, “We enjoy hearing from our customers; it helps us adjust on the fly.”

At one-year old, Grand & Essex seems to be living up to its goal of being a competitively priced, interactive local kosher market with quick, convenient one stop shopping. You can also visit the store online at https://www.facebook.com/GrandandEssex.

By Elyse Hansford

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