BROOKLYN — Purim (March 16th) is definitely in the air, at least it was in many of the Orthodox Jewish neighborhoods throughout the New York-New Jersey area. Major stores like Pomegranate, Gourmet Glatt and Evergreen have all invested in major displays depicting the theme of Purim. At Pomegranate, shoppers are greeted with a scene from Megilas Esther (Book of Esther) where the wicked king of Persia Achashverosh stands over a demoralized Haman who leads the saintly Mordechai through the streets of the capital, Shushan. At Evergreen a huge clown towers over the sign of the store with other blown-up clowns and even marching bands being featured. The music over the loudspeakers offers popular Purim songs. Special aisles were created with a plethora of nosh, pastry, and “fun” items.
In some neighborhoods, special pop-up stores with Purim costumes were also the order of the day. Retailers say that despite it not being considered a “major” Jewish holiday, demographics have made the one-day holiday March 16th a new profit center with some distributors predicting as much as a 20% increase in sales over 2013. They point to younger consumers who “have taken Purim to a whole new level.” Orthodox Jewish publications carried many full page ads with retailers touting their Purim themes and selections. Distributors say that their sales throughout the country depend on the degree of celebration with strong Orthodox neighborhoods leading the way.