Max and Leah Cohn, the brother-and-sister team that has run Goldman’s Kosher Bakery for 40 years, knew it was time to call it a day.
The business had been in their family since 1965, when Fred and Inge Cohn bought the bakery from Isaac and Jean Goldman, who opened the original Goldman’s in the 1950s on West Rogers Avenue.
Fred Cohn was an immigrant, originally from Leipzig, Germany, who started Freddy’s Bakery before purchasing Goldman’s Bakery. After nine successful years, Goldman’s moved to its Reisterstown Road location, where it has been since 1973.
Goldman’s was the first kosher bakery under the supervision of Star-K.
“I joined in as soon as I could,” Max said of the family business. “We all grew up in the bakery. [Fred] did whatever it took for the place to run like a well-oiled machine.”
Goldman’s closed on Dec. 31, and the Cohn siblings are ready to head into retirement. They also run Pastries Plus inside Seven Mile Market, which is set to close at the end of the day on Jan. 5.
Both are looking forward to having their lives run on a more regular schedule again.
“I’m looking forward to not getting up early in the morning,” Max said, “and not getting a call from the alarm company in the middle of the night that the electricity for the freezer is out. I’m not that old that I’m flying to Florida or anything, but I have my vacation home. I’ll spend more time with my nieces and my dogs.”
Leah won’t miss the extra work during all of the major holidays.
“Holidays aren’t fun,” she said. “Everyone else is having fun, but we’re not.”
Both noted that working with family in such close quarters has its ups and downs (Max and Leah’s sister, Ruth, also pitches in part time), but Max says, “All in all, [we] did it.”
“When we do fight, it’s usually over with by the next day,” he added.
During the last week Goldman’s was open, many of the products were 50 percent off, an act that Leah referred to as “giving back to the community.”
“The customers have been so good to us,” she said.
Tsvi Palmer, 25, of Baltimore has been coming to Goldman’s for as long as he can recall.
“I grew up coming here,” Palmer said while choosing baked goods at the counter. “When my family would go on road trips, we’d come here and pick out things we wanted. That’s what [my family] is doing today. This is going to be my last time here.”
Customer Gloria Thompson has one specific product that she’ll miss most.
“Eclairs were my favorite things here,” she said. “I’m going to miss coming here. I’m going to have to come back [for more before they close].”
Max says the Goldman’s space has already been purchased by another bakery that will eventually move in. He is not sure if it will be kosher.
“Our parents were immigrants, and they came to this country with 50 bucks in their pocket, and they created this, and we followed,” Leah said. “Max and I worked well together. It was good to us, but it’s time now for us. We want to rest a little bit and have some fun.”