December 15, 2021

New Passaic Mega Kosher Supermarket Strives to Become “Destination” Store

Passaic…It is one of the region’s newest large independent kosher super stores in a community that has grown significantly since 2000 when it numbered only 10,000 observant Jews who eat kosher. Aisle One is the newest independent kosher supermarket and one of several kosher options for the estimated 18,000 Orthodox Jews who live in the Passaic-Clifton area of New Jersey. The 26,000 sq. ft. beautifully designed supermarket is determined to become a “destination” store for the area’s kosher shoppers and beyond. A “Kosher Destination Store” is used by many in the industry to define a full kosher offering within a larger store.

Valerie loves the convenience of jumping into Aisle One during her lunch break to pick up some of the produce, which is beautifully laid out like a farmer’s market with large LED screens to show the products and the all-important prices. Judy walked with her one-year-old in a carriage “about a half mile” to do her pre-Shabbos shopping, although she finds Kosher Konnections more convenient since it is closer to her home.

Valerie has learned to negotiate the new kosher landscape in the area. “I buy many specials at Shoprite, and the kosher stuff either here or at Season’s,” she says. Open since July, Aisle One is constantly upgrading,” says manager Mark Raider, who is proud of all the special sections like produce, bakery, Take One (takeout), Sea One (fish), Prime One (Meat), Java One (sandwiches and salads), olive bar, Wasabi One (sushi) and so on as the “One” is part of the theme of each special section. He says that two new kosher restaurants, one dairy and one meat, are scheduled to open on the balcony level. Hence his belief that Aisle One will become a “destination” not only for the locals but also for neighboring New York and New Jersey counties. Eli Sebbag, one of the new owners of Kosher Konnections sees his store as the “neighborhood store” (also constantly expanding) catering to people like Judy while Mayer Gold of Season’s says that his brand has many loyal customers that appreciate the selection and quality of the products in the store that they have come to enjoy.

While on the surface, the many options for a community of 18,000 seems excessive, it’s part of the new “niche” kosher world, according to one distributor, something he is seeing in other communities like Lakewood, where many shoppers simply look for the best local option to avoid the constantly increasing traffic. With increased activity on-line and diverse options, the one-stop luxury may be taking a back seat, at least in Passaic.