In time for Passover, in the Mid-City area of Los Angeles, the Fairfax District’s Western Kosher market has opened a second location in the former site of the Kosher Club on Pico Boulevard.
“This is about four times the size of our other store,” new owner David Kagan said. “We have brought in new shelving, refrigerator cabinets and lighting. We’ve repainted and polished the floor,” he added, speaking of the renovations to the former store that had closed in December 2011.
“Mickey [Schwartz] called and said the place was available,” Kagan said, explaining how a call from the building’s owner helped to set Western Kosher’s expansion into motion.
“The former Kosher Club crew was rehired,” former and current manager David Eskenazi said, noting the store has 12 employees. “We have the same great parking,” he added.
On a visit to the revamped location, which is currently stocked with kosher-for-Passover foods and will restock with year-round kosher foods after the holiday, final preparations were in evidence. As a crew fine-tuned a refrigeration system, another group was stocking the shelves with all things unleavened; all while a parking lot full of customers shopped the newly refurbished aisles.
The revamped store, which incorporates softer lighting and a redesigned check-out area, now has sight lines that allow the customer to see down the aisles to the back of store. In place of the former store office, a produce section has been added.
“For our takeout counter, I want to go upscale and bring in a chef,” Kagan said.
Apparently it will have a mix of the old and new, as Kagan indicated that he wants a counter with “gribenes in one corner and quinoa in the other,” he said.
To revive a location that closed due to a lack of customers, Kagan plans on drawing upon his “existing client base, old Kosher Club customers and hopefully some new people,” he added.
Additionally, Eskenazi recalled that the former store also included in its customer base local Seventh-Day Adventists and Muslims.
“Every supermarket and Trader Joe’s carries kosher now,” Kagan said, “We are going for a larger variety, and we will have two butchers for special cuts,” he added.
“We are definitely going to try to be aggressive and competitive with pricing, with quality on our mind,” Kagan said. He figured that “with two stores, we can bring pricing down a bit,” he said.
The building that houses the store, according to Kagan, has a long history with Jewish food. ‘This used to be a slaughterhouse for kosher chickens,” he said, indicating a spot near the store’s center, where the shochet used to stand.
To be consistent with the Fairfax location, the new store’s kashrut will be overseen by Kehilla Kosher.
The store, only open a few days, was already attracting attention from at least one personality in the Los Angeles kosher food industry, Moshe Grawitzky, CEO of It’s Delish, the well-known purveyor of kosher packaged spices, nuts, candy and gift baskets.
“The kosher consumer needs state-of-the-art. David’s put his heart into it,” Grawitzky said. “The community needs to support this.”