Brach’s Supermarket in Lawrence confirms that it is closing.
The disclosure came in the form of a WARN notice filed by Brach's with the state Department of Labor. The notice, required under the state's Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act, said the store would close on May 1, resulting in the termination of 127 employees.
The notice cited "economic" as the reason for the "dislocation."
For months, shoppers have noticed empty shelves and encountered employees who declined comment when asked if the store was going out of business.
Last year, Brach's sold its original store, on Main Street in Kew Gardens Hills, to its across-the-street competitor, Wasserman's Kosher Supermarket. The Main Street store was opened by Jack Brach, a Holocaust survivor, who transformed a small kosher butcher shop into a path-breaking kosher supermarket before opening the huge Lawrence store in 1997.
The closing comes as Brach's Five Towns competitors were mounting major expansions in and beyond Long Island. Seasons, which in 2015 opened a 24/6 "express" location near the Inwood LIRR station, is expanding its small Scarsdale store into a large space abandoned by Gristedes and is opening major outposts in Baltimore and Cleveland. Gourmet Glatt recently opened a satellite location in Woodmere and a store in Lakewood that occupies space that formerly housed a Shop-Rite.
Over the last several weeks, Jack Brach has been unavailable for comment as word spread of an anticipated closing or sale of the Brach's store. The supermarket, at 11 Lawrence Lane, is housed in a cavernous space that was formerly a bowling alley. The store was viewed by some as a reduced-price option to other kosher markets in the Five Towns area. A large lot offers ample free parking next to the store.
Store owner Yanky (Jack) Brach, son of the founder, has provided tzedakah, often quietly, to numerous institutions and individuals throughout the community.
In just two of countless examples of his generosity, he delivered food to stranded travelers at JFK Airport and was instrumental in providing assistance to many after Hurricane Sandy.
UPDATED Feb 3, 6:20 pm. Jeff Bessen contributed to this report.