April 11, 2011

A & P in Major Move to Shore up Kosher in Waldbaums, Pathmark and Foodtown

New York…It is no secret that the Great Atlantic and Pacific Tea Company, known as A & P has fallen on hard times. Founded in 1859, the company with some 400 stores filed for Chapter 11 protection in 2010. It closed many stores last year, including the Pathmark in Monsey NY, but in December A & P took a major step to upgrade its kosher program. Barry Eizik, a veteran kosher foods official was hired as its Ethnic Kosher Category Manager. It perhaps is following the model of other chains that have invested in a kosher czar, a move that has paid off handsomely for many chains. Eizik identified 44 stores as being in Jewish neighborhoods with a significant potential for upgrading its kosher program. He was focusing on such brand supermarkets as Waldbaum’s which was at one time the darling supermarket chain of the Jewish community in New York. There were also opportunities with several Pathmark stores as well as Food Emporiums in Manhattan. Eizik moved quickly, significantly improving the chain’s Passover offerings and redesigning kosher sets in many of the 44 stores. Kosher food sources agree with Eizik about the potential of the stores with kosher consumers. One distributor said: “A & P neglected stores that were at one time in the forefront of kosher” Mr. Eizik, 56, previously served with such major kosher companies as Manischewitz, R.A.B., and Matsui.