GARDEN CITY, N.Y. -- Melmarkets Foodtown here has built double-digit Passover holiday sales by converting the back rooms in half of its 16 Long Island, N.Y., stores into selling areas merchandising kosher for Passover foods.
"We really go out of our way to accommodate the Jewish trade for Passover by giving them the largest Passover selection available from areas and places that a lot of people in the supermarket trade don't even bother to carry," Dick Salmon, senior vice president, told SN.
The back room of a Melmarkets Foodtown store in Inwood, N.Y., visited by SN late last month, was a beehive of activity with dozens of shoppers hurrying around the concrete floors of the cavernous dimly lit gray room filling their shopping carts with a wide array of kosher foods merchandised out of stacked cut cases.
Salmon said the backroom Passover selections range from about 900 stockkeeping units in the Inwood store to 2,000 SKUs at Melmarket's East Meadow location.
"We have a ton of stuff from Israel, a ton of stuff from Borough Park in Brooklyn and items from all other areas. We do a fantastic job, and we are today, as far as I am concerned, the best operator in that area.
"We also certainly try to look out for the Christian trade come Easter. We try to be all things to all people as much as we can," he said.
"We've done a thing like this for so many years that we are now very good at it," he said, adding that the backroom is also used for the autumn Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur holidays, as well as the Thanksgiving-Christmas-New Year's period.
He said the temporary elimination of the backroom storage space hasn't posed any logistical problems for the chain.
"We just increase the level of trailers so that we get deliveries every day. The trailers are loaded every day and they go on the shelves everyday. "That way you never run out of product and you never need backup," he said.
Featured items included five-pound boxes of domestic and imported matzos for $4.99; macaroons, $2.99 for a 10-ounce package; Mrs. Adlers Gefilte fish, $1.99, quart jar; Joyva marshmallow twist candies, $1.69, nine-ounce box; Fox's U-Bet chocolate syrup, $1.89, 30-ounce jar, and Foodtown apple sauce, 99 cents, 25-ounce jar.