July 27, 2015

Stop & Shop Newest Kosher Player in New York Area; End of an Era for Waldbaum’s

Queens, NY - Two grocery chains with an impressive history of catering to the kosher consumer may soon be history while another chain that has grown steadily in the New York metro area may soon be one of the nation’s leading supermarkets with a focus on kosher. The Stop & Shop Supermarket Company announced last week that it was acquiring 25 A&P stores in Greater New York for $146 million. The acquisition will include several Waldbaum’s and Pathmark stores with a long history of kosher, many of them in Queens and Long Island. Stop & Shop plans to convert these Waldbaum’s, Pathmark and A&P stores into Stop & Shop stores.  An Ahold Company, Stop & Shop has 395 stores throughout Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York and New Jersey.

The A&P bankruptcy and the sale of some of its stores to Stop & Shop is particularly noteworthy because it represents the end of an era for Waldbaum’s, once viewed as the supermarket of the Jewish community. The chain was founded in 1904 by Izzy Waldbaum, a Jewish immigrant from Austria, when he began selling butter and eggs at 911 DeKalb Street in Brooklyn. After Izzy’s death at the age of 55, his widow Julia Waldbaum remained active in management. She became the iconic picture of the chain and would routinely appear in the chain’s ads and particularly on many of the ads and promotions directed at the Jewish community. She died in 1996 at the age of 99. In many respects, A&P was not able to hold onto Waldbaum’s kosher base after it purchased the chain 1986. The chain ultimately emerged as a drag on A&P’s profits, leading to the bankruptcies.