Stop & Shop’s new Woodmere supermarket has the largest kosher food selection among the chain’s more than 400 stores, as the retailer hopes to cater more to the high Jewish population in the Five Towns.
The new store, which opened Friday at 253-01 Rockaway Blvd. in Woodmere, replaces a 20-year-old Stop & Shop 1.7 miles away in Inwood, also in the Five Towns, that the grocer closed Thursday.
"Given the diverse community and what we can do, we decided it would be best to open up a brand-new store with new elements to better serve the community," said Stefanie Shuman, spokeswoman for Stop & Shop Supermarket Company LLC, a Quincy, Massachusetts-based chain owned by Dutch company Ahold Delhaize.
The dominant grocer on Long Island, where it has 51 stores, Stop & Shop has been facing more Long Island competition over the past few years from the growth of nontraditional grocery stores, including discounters Aldi and Lidl and high-end players Whole Foods and Uncle Giuseppe’s Marketplace.
Investing in stores
The Woodmere store is part of Stop & Shop’s multiyear investment of millions of dollars to spruce up some of its 406 stores in five East Coast states, in an initiative that started in 2018.
The retailer spent $133 million renovating 21 Suffolk County stores in 2019, it said last year.
Renovations at four more Long Island stores – in Glen Cove, West Babylon, Huntington and Port Washington – will be finished in November and December, said Shuman, who added that six more are planned for 2021.
Stop & Shop declined to say how much it is spending on the recent round of renovations and the replacement Five Towns store.
The new Woodmere store, in 5 Towns Shopping Center, occupies 66,000 square feet.
The store is taking about 80% of the space that Kmart vacated in 2018, said Sam Jemal, a partner in Rockaway Realty Associates, the Manhattan-based owner of 5 Towns Shopping Center.
The Stop & Shop in Inwood occupied 61,500 square feet at 603 Burnside Ave.
Stop & Shop chose to relocate the supermarket because its lease was expiring and the company wanted to expand the store’s offerings, Shuman said.
The Woodmere store has more selection and newer technology.
The new store has more ethnic and grab-and-go food, expanded beer and produce sections, and a hot food bar, Stop & Shop said.
And what about that roaming, beeping, 6-foot-8 Marty robot that Stop & Shop began rolling out at most of its stores last year to alert staff to aisle spills?
It was transferred from the Inwood store to the Woodmere location, Shuman said.
Features that the new store has that were not in Inwood include an in-house sushi chef and pickup service, in which shoppers can order their groceries online and then drive to the store, where employees will bring the purchases outside and place them in customers’ cars.
Also, the number of kosher products in the Woodmere supermarket exceeds 2,000, more than double the amount in the Inwood store, Shuman said.
Some of the key kosher items at the store include Sprinkles brand ice cream, fresh meat and fish fillets, and Tuv Taam deli items, she said.
Located on Long Island’s South Shore, Five Towns is an informal group of five communities — Cedarhurst, Lawrence, Hewlett, Woodmere and Inwood — that has a high percentage of Jewish residents.
"In the whole Long Island, the Five Towns has the largest percentage of Jewish people … who are traditional and keep to a kosher diet," said Rabbi Zalman Wolowik, director of Chabad of the Five Towns, a Cedarhurst-based community social services center that includes a synagogue.
Wolowik estimates that 80% of the Five Towns population is Jewish.
Kosher food is defined as having been prepared according to the requirements of Jewish dietary law.
Kosher restrictions include not consuming meat that comes from animals that do not have split hoofs and chew their cud, Wolowik said. Also, seafood that lacks fins and scales is prohibited.
So, pork and shellfish are out.
Retail Roundup is a column about major retail news on Long Island — store openings, closings, expansions, acquisitions, etc. — that is published online and in the Monday paper. To read more of these columns, click here. If you have news to share, please send an email to Newsday reporter Tory N. Parrish at firstname.lastname@example.org.