The customers of Aron Streit Inc., a New York City fixture for kosher-for-Passover matzah and other holiday food items since 1925, have one wish during this shopping season: Next year on the Lower East Side.
The bakery and retail store at the corner of Rivington and Suffolk streets, the neighborhood’s last family-owned matzah-making facility, recently went on the market for $25 million.
This year, the customers are still buying their matzah, matzah farfel and other holiday goods at Streit’s, coming by car and subway. “Some ladies,” in the neighborhood, “push their carts,” says Alan Adler, director of operations and great-grandson of the firm’s founders, Aron and Nettie Streit.
One family of former Lower East Siders, some members of which live in California, made their annual trek here for their Passover supplies, Adler says.
Business is down in recent years. The Lower East Side isn’t as Jewish as it once was. “Most of the traditional Jews have moved to Florida,” Adler says. “But starting after Purim, business goes up. Customers come in all the time. On Sundays the store is quite busy.”
A family from Connecticut, above, does their Pesach shopping, and a Streit’s employee, below, wheels away crates of matzah.
“People will be sad to see us leave,” Adler says. “The customers are as sad as we are.” But, Adler assures them, that won’t happen before next year. “This definitely won’t be our last year” on Rivington. “We’ll definitely be here next Passover.” After that, Streit’s will re-open “in the metro area.”
The company currently operates a warehouse and dry pack operation in Moonachie, N.J.
Members of the Jewish community, of course, are the main customers for Streit’s matzah. And “quite a few” non-Jews walk out with a box of matzah under their arms this time of year.
“Because it tastes good,” Adler says. “At least ours does.”