With fanfare provided by the Richard Montgomery High School marching band, the red ribbon was cut last week at the newest Safeway store, which boasts the most robust selection of kosher food items at the grocery chain’s area locations.
At 62,753 square feet, the new 24-hour Safeway is the largest in Montgomery County. The store, which opened Dec. 9, is located on Rockville Pike on the main floor of The Galvan, a mixed-use project developed by JBG.
The new location is in the heart of Jewish Montgomery County. In an effort to serve the community, said Craig M. Muckle, manager of public affairs and government relations for Safeway Inc. Eastern Division, several area rabbis were consulted regarding what kosher offerings should be stocked.
The Safeway Foundation, the charitable arm of the company, made a series of donations to local organizations, including the Jewish Community Center of Greater Washington. Michael Feinstein, JCCGW CEO and Felicia K. Gottdenker, chair of the board of directors, were on hand to accept the $2,500 check. Other charitable recipients included the Richard Montgomery High School marching band, the Rockville Volunteer Fire Department and Easter Seals.
Steve Burnham, Safeway Eastern Division president, said, “As you walk down the aisle, you’ll see a tremendous commitment to kosher in almost every department.
“We’ve got a great assortment of kosher as well as an international aisle and hundreds of new items that we’ve introduced specifically for this store.”
The new store offers 750 kosher items, including glatt kosher chicken and beef from Aaron’s Best, frozen and fresh dairy and kosher sandwiches in the Wrap To Go section.
Baked goods from Brooklyn mainstays like Reisman’s Bakery and Wein’s are available, as well as kosher beef and chicken jerky from Aufschnitt, which grew out of the Wasserman & Lemberger kosher butcher shop in Baltimore.
At the store’s opening, Saloman Benjamin of Aufschnitt was passing out samples of his spicy and black pepper beef jerky, which several Safeway employees said was tastier than the nonkosher jerky. Samples of Aufschnitt jerky were also given away as part of a Chanukah gift bag.
Rather than concentrating all kosher foods in one section, Muckle explained, the kosher items have been integrated into the store. The kosher frozen foods section, dairy section and baked goods are labeled with blue “Your Kosher Destination” tags.
There remains a dedicated kosher aisle for such standards as matzah, gefilte fish and jelly rings, as well as Israeli snacks, including Bamba, Bissli and Klik.
A large chanukiah was erected in the main entrance of the store for Chanukah and a lighting ceremony took place Sunday, along with a kosher chocolate factory event run by Rabbi Levi Raskin of JCrafts by Chabad in Rockville.
Shia Friedman of Reisman’s Bakery traveled from Brooklyn last week to be present at the grand opening.
Friedman, who has been with Reisman’s for 16 years, said that kosher goods have become big crossover items. He said, “It’s not just a kosher aisle anymore.”