Jewish families in greater New Haven will soon need to find somewhere else to shop for Kosher food.
“I would love to see somebody else coming in takeover, the community needs this place,” said Rachel Hamenachem, co-owner of Westville Kosher Market on Amity Road.
Hamenachem and her husband have decided to close their business of 34 years at the end of the month.
“It was devastating because for those of us who are Kosher this is where we come for everything,” Karen Bogdanoff of Woodbridge said.
But the market isn’t just a place to buy Kosher meat, challah bread and Israeli food.
“It’s the center of the community people come in here they all know each other,” said Alan Lovins, who has been a customer since 1985. “The people who run this place have been willing and eager to be the center of the Jewish community.”
A notice on the front door lets customers know the last day for business will be Friday May 31, but the owners have also made personal calls to members of the community who have supported them for more than three decades.
“Well it wasn’t totally unexpected, but it was really sad for me,” Lovins said.
The past decade has been difficult for business, Hamenachem said.
“Stop & Shop opened has Kosher stuff, Trader Joe’s opened has Kosher stuff and the community trickled down,” she said. “People went to some other places, so we had our beautiful customers, but it wasn’t enough.”
But those other grocery stores don’t sell the Hamenachem’s homemade hummus.
“You don’t have to be Kosher, you don’t have to be Jewish and you definitely don’t need to eat meat to be able to eat my hummus,” Hamenachem said.
“Her hummus is the best ever outside of Israel,” Bogdanoff said.
After retiring, Hamenachem and her husband said they plan to split time between their home in Bethany and with family in Israel.
“We need to relax we need to go and see grandkids,” Hamenachem said.
Bogdanoff said she does not know where she’ll shop for Kosher food after May 31.
“I’m going to fill up my freezer and I’m going to eat more fish and maybe be a little more vegetarian and I’m not exactly sure what I’m going to do,” she said.
But she understands why now is the time for the owners to move on.
“I have a lot of respect for them,” Bogdanoff said. “They’ve serviced this community beautifully.”