A trip to the suburbs always includes a trip to a Heimish Store.
Make no mistake, some of those affectionately called Heimish store are the size of a small ball park.
We New Yorkers shop mostly local, and sometime the bill kills. For the most part, we tell ourselves that the convenience of living in NYC has its tradeoffs, and we must suck up some unpleasant experiences of overpaying, at some restaurants or stores. But whenever I have a chance to “chop a rein” (phonetic spelling: Spell check help needed please!) I love to go to the Kollel Store: KRM in Boro Park, or Wesley Kosher in Monsey. This week, the day after I ran a bill at an UWS market that nearly ruined my day and left me scratching my head about what I might have done wrong to make the bill so extravagantly high, I spent a day in Monsey with my daughter in law Ruthie, who needed to stop at Wesley Kosher to shop for dinner. I was dazzled by the sheer variety and volume of the items neatly stacked up on shelves, and by the prices: So much more sensible than ours. A quick mental calculation, after running through the aisles, told me I could have done my whole shopping at about half the price I had paid the previous day in my neighborhood. I got such a kick out of their Shalom Bayit Kugel (layered according to each household member’s preference. Cheaper than the shrink!)
Don’t let the Heimish Store name fool you:
Looking at all the beautiful produce and prepared foods on display only reinforced my belief that there could be no excuse whatsoever for eating less than beautifully, nutritiously, sensibly, and economically. Bags all sizes of pre-washed salad greens, shredded cabbage and carrots, diced veggies; Sushi as gorgeous as in any expensive restaurant, enormous selections of prepared foods, meat and poultry, fish, baked goods, health foods….. There was my spelt flour, in a 10-pound bag, my dried fruit, my olives, my cheeses, my favorite crackers, and much much more, all under one humungous roof. Outside a swarm of children biked, cried, bickered, munched or lent a hand while their parents loaded their cars with their goodies: G-d bless!
Are high NYC rents indeed enough to explain the absurd incongruity between the prices in our stores and stores in the rest of the New York area? Or are NYC food markets simply telling themselves, correctly I’m afraid, that we have no choice? Whatever the case may be, our local merchants make it terribly difficult and frustrating for us to patronize them….
Any chance we Manhattanites could unite, and have a talk with our local markets to make our shopping more cost-effective? Put together a little delegation or something? Count me in! And until then, could we make some fun dates to go one-stop-shopping to a Heimish Store, and share transportation costs, and maybe a little lunch?