Sullivan County, NY - Catskills ShopRite Stores Catering to Jewish Customers
Sullivan County, NY - Walk into a ShopRite store in Sullivan or Ulster county on a Thursday afternoon and you may be surprised not only by the number of kosher products on the shelves, but also by having the cashier wish you a good Shabbos as you check out.
For the past three summers, ShopRite has made a serious effort to woo the 250,000 Chasidic and Orthodox customers who vacation up in the Catskills, hiring Zelig Krymko to serve as the Jewish Community Liaison and Kosher Consultant to the Monticello, Liberty and Ellenville stores.
Krymko’s duties are vast and varied, having taught the corporate offices the finer nuances of kashrus, educating customer service employees how to deal with the Jewish community, advising stores what types of products to carry and when to carry them and even creating flyers in the stores that not only list kosher sale items, but also licht bentshing time, the current parsha and even a short synopsis of the parsha. He also travels to other local stores, including Walmart and Jewish grocery stores, to make sure that ShopRite’s prices are competitive.
“When I got here, their idea of kosher meat was Hebrew National,” said the 34 year old Queens resident in an interview with VIN News. “I taught them how the Jewish community thinks and buys. We brought in Meal Mart meats, Abeles and Heyman hot dogs. I taught them what cholov yisroel means and put them in touch with the distributors.”
Krymko, a single father who works as a Hebrew-Russian translator during the year, helps the stores attract summer residents by stocking kosher products and placing appropriately worded advertising and in-store coupons in Jewish publications. He is proud of the fact that ShopRite has a strong relationship with area Shuls, sponsoring kiddushim at the Young Israel of Ellenville and the Landfield Avenue Synagogue in Monticello in past years, with an upcoming Kiddush planned this year in Swan Lake.
One of the more innovative ideas that Krymko has recently launched with ShopRite is summer camp night activity programs. Camps are invited to plan in-store scavenger hunts with Krymko. Every participant receives a bag of chips and a drink and the winning team is awarded a $25 Shop Rite gift certificate. The entire store is treated to an hour of Jewish music over the PA system during the scavenger hunt.
“It is a win win situation,” said Krymko. “The kids have a great time and when they are done, they are thrilled to have a chance to do some shopping of their own.”
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