Gourmet Glatt Emporium: Prepping for Pesach


“The perception is that Passover is so expensive,” remarked Gourmet Glatt purchasing manager Howie Klagsburn, referring to the eight page Pesach circular that will reach every household this weekend consistent with the store’s Pesach opening and offerings.

“The fact is you can’t buy many of the items at these prices during the year.” Matzoh ball mix for 99 cents, 2/$4 matzo meal, Quinoa, Shmerling chocolate, 3lb block American cheese, these prices do not exist at any other time of the year, “ continued Klagsburn. We started our preparation before Chanukah this year, the first time we started that early. “ Gourmet Glatt is scheduling its official Pesach opening on March 3.

“Passover comes in such a short window, demand is high. I’m buying quantity at one shot. It gives me the opportunity to squeeze manufacturers for crazy prices… crazy low prices that we pass on to the consumer. What creates this perception is that we need everything at one time. If you look at the per item retail, it’s fantastic.”
Last year, Passover came just a few short months after the store rebounded from a fire. This year, on top of the sluggish economy, people are recovering from Superstorm Sandy. Some are still not in their homes, some are home but still under renovation, some can’t host family.

“This community became a model for what a community can do together. We were born as a nation on Pesach. As a Yomtov it’s the most unifying,” noted Klagsburn.

In the midst of the interview, Klagsburn takes a call from a matzoh supplier looking to schedule a delivery. Klagsburn makes the point that it’s supposed to rain tomorrow. “I’d rather receive a matzoh delivery when it’s not raining,” said Klagsburn, evoking laughter from the staff in the back office.

“Gourmet Glatt is very sensitive and caring to the community. Klagsburn and Shloy Rubinstein, grocery manager, are holding prices even when it’s costing us more. They are giving the greatest value for the consumer’s dollar, “ stressed Yoeli Steinberg.

“We have customers coming in from Montreal on Sunday as well as from Connecticut, Boston and from the City. They visit family and make a day out of it. We cater to so many facets of Judaism, I don’t think there is a store that has what we have, said Klagsburn
“With Yomtov falling on a Monday this year, you’re changing over before Shabbos,” noted Rabbi Berel Wolowik, meat manager. “We have a complete seasoned line of raw, ready to cook/bake/grill products. The selection has grown tremendously for the women who don’t want to buy prepared food but want the convenience of serving a fresh gourmet menu. “

“Since last year, the corn feed prices have risen, which has contributed to the rise in wholesale prices of meat and poultry. We are more hard pressed to absorb these dramatic increases so that we don’t pass them on to the consumer. We are aggressively pursuing every angle to secure the best cost for the consumer without compromising quality.”

Romaine lettuce and potatoes are the biggest sellers produce wise with respect to the holiday. The frost in California has had an adverse effect on the crop.

“We are coming off a very hard produce winter. Sandy hit at the same time that there was frost in California. ‘Hardware produce’ was affected. Squash, greens, all kinds of lettuce, onions as well,” said Ziggy Kohn, produce manager. “Prices of grapes are coming down, We were very nervous about the price of Romaine. We increased our offering of pre-checked vegetables, spinach and fancy greens.”

Why is this year different from last year? With the first Seder falling on a Monday night people are changing over before Shabbos. Two Shabbasos means additional preparation and additionally, one and a half days of Chol Hamoed require less food for travel.

The concept of Gourmet Glatt, always fresh, includes cleanliness of the store, friendliness of the employees, ten registers, and extended hours. “Hours are extended even beyond printed hours”. Concessions that are open for Pesach, Ossies and Chap-a-Nosh have a complete line, and the coffee concession will be serving hot coffee. The advantage of shopping early is a greater selection of products, with fewer crowds, and guaranteed peace of mind,” stressed general manager Yoeli Steinberg.