March 20, 2017

Two Years after Acquisition Some Customers Still Fret

Detroit - Two years after a deal that saw the giant Kroger’s acquire the 75-yaer old Hiller’s Market, many kosher consumers are still upset with Kroger’s despite the chain’s efforts to retain and even strengthen its kosher program in many of these stores. In a story in the Jewish News, Steve Achtman, a 28-year resident of Walled Lake, said that he prefers shopping at the Kroger supermarket on 14 Mile at Haggerty in Commerce Township. Noticing that the fresh kosher deli meats were being eliminated, Achtman was told the store is “redoing their display cases, and if they have room they will put kosher deli meat back in.” Not placated, Achtman said, “How does a Kroger store within the Jewish community make this change without questions from the Jewish community? Kroger buys out Hiller and they start making changes?” According to Rachel Hurst, consumer affairs manager at Kroger’s corporate office in Novi, the change is strictly a business decision. Achtman’s local Kroger store is “going through a miniature remodel to be more consumer-friendly,” Hurst said. The manager, formerly employed by Hiller’s Market, said, “I’m sure that for some kosher items that didn’t sell, they’ve gone by the wayside. But that goes for any product. We are always in flux with our display cases, changing what we carry to improve the customer’s experience.” For now, Achtman is purchasing his kosher meat at Johnny Pomodoro’s Fresh Market Some other options include Harvard Row Kosher Meat & Poultry, Noah’s Marketplace, and One Stop Kosher Food Market. In 2015, Kroger of Michigan bought all seven Hiller’s Market locations in a deal that also saw the closing of the Commerce Township store. Kroger, which owns many stores with significant kosher offerings, retained a kosher presence in the Hiller stores. Founded in 1941 as a downtown Detroit butcher shop, the first Hiller’s store opened in Berkley in 1951. Many Jewish Detroiters were initially upset about the Hiller’s acquisition but were reassured by Kroger’s of the continuation of a kosher program in the stores.