SOUTHFIELD, Mich. -- Supermarkets here are competing not only with one another for kosher sales this Passover, but with an additional retailer: One-Stop Kosher.
The new 2,800-square-foot store, located in this Detroit suburb, carries anywhere from 7,000 and 10,000 kosher products, including frozens, groceries, baked goods and meats.
Six aisles of dry goods, with a bulk candy section, fill much of the space. There's also a 40-foot refrigerator filled with cheese and other dairy products.
"Frozen is not as big as we want it to be," said Benjamin Silverstein, one of three partners who opened the store last September. "We want to expand it."
A wide range of brand-name kosher products are offered, along with a variety of products found in a conventional supermarket.
For example, a selection of paper products and detergents, such as Tide and Clorox, are available. There are no major kosher requirements on paper products, he explained.
Traditional Center Store items are offered to help create a one-stop shopping experience. While major Detroit-area supermarkets carry kosher foods, shopping for a full array of kosher products could mean a trip to several stores for kosher meat, baked goods and dairy goods, he said.
"In the Orthodox Jewish world, the average family is six to eight kids," said Silverstein. "When shopping for groceries, they want to get it all in one shot."
Silverstein and one of his partners, Shlomo Goldman, are former schoolmates. As a sales rep for a kosher-food distributor, Goldman had visited grocery stores in other cities that were a single-stop source for customers seeking kosher items.
He suggested the idea of opening a Detroit-area store to Silverstein and, with a silent partner, they went into business.
Silverstein personally provides free home delivery on orders over $50. As of the week before Passover, Silverstein said he already had a list of more than 20 requests for home delivery.
To promote the holiday, One-Stop Kosher created an eight-page flyer listing kosher products for Passover. The flyer was delivered to 3,000 homes in communities with large Jewish populations.
"People really liked it -- it has been our best advertising," Silverstein says. "It wasn't stuffed in an envelope. It was eight pages folded over and on the outside it had our name and logo. It was specifically addressed to each house."
This marketing program differs from those favored by traditional supermarket chains, which often opt for television and radio ads and inserts.
"Word of mouth is the best kind of advertising, but I don't rely on it," Silverstein says. "Because I am Orthodox, I support Orthodox organizations. When they're doing fliers or yearbooks, I put my ads in. I run a weekly ad in the 'Jewish News."'
Despite its Jewish focus, Silverstein says the store draws a wide variety of customers, including Muslims and Seventh Day Adventists. As reported in SN (April 7), the kosher market is expanding to include not only a greater and more varied Jewish consumer, but also Muslims, the health-conscious and the lactose-intolerant.
"I didn't want to be situated just in an Orthodox community. I wanted to be in an area where I can serve anybody and everybody. That's why we bring in standard products (that are actually kosher) as well as kosher brand-name products."
The store is open from 7:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. every day except Thursday, when it remains open to 9 p.m. It is closed on Saturday.
"A lot of Orthodox families are early risers," Silverstein explained. "They like to know that if they need to buy something before they drop the kids off at school or before work, they can get it."
He acknowledged the store isn't big enough to compete on price with Detroit-area majors such as Farmer Jack or Meijer's, but said that "all my prices are within reason. Seventy percent of the time, if it's not the same price, it's a better price."