An array of green and purple balloons, complemented by a matching sign with the classic greeting “Shalom,” welcomed shoppers as they flocked to Seasons on Tuesday morning.
The opening of the New York-based kosher supermarket chain at 1630 Reisterstown Road, the former site of an Office Depot, was three years in the making. Customers began trickling through the automatic doors at 10 a.m., and within an hour, roughly 200 Maryland residents had stepped foot in the 30,000-square-foot facility, said Zachary Richards, regional director of operations for the Baltimore grocery store.
“Seasons is all about building relationships with our customers, so we want to hear from people — the good and the bad as well as what they think we’re doing right and what they think we’re doing wrong,” Richards said. “And whether they tell us today or 15 years down the line, that’s our whole philosophy.”
Each of the store’s departments, including bakery, sushi and deli, handed out free samples to eager-eyed customers. Upbeat Jewish music played over the loudspeakers as kosher foodies bustled about the aisles. Parents left the market with bags of groceries while their children, clutching onto balloon swords and flowers made by a balloon artist in the store, followed closely behind them.
Moussia Dolfin has long-awaited the opening of Baltimore’s new upscale grocer, just minutes away from her Pikesville home.
“I love that I can come to one store and get everything I need,” Dolfin said. “It’s a one-stop shop.”
In regard to Seven Mile Market, the only other full-service and kosher certified supermarket in the area, shopper Karen Katz said the Baltimore area shouldn’t have a problem accommodating two kosher grocery stores.
“I think the community is big enough that there really is room for more than one kosher supermarket,” said Katz, who grew up in Los Angeles. “The community has grown a lot since I moved here in 1985, and I think both supermarkets will be very successful.”
Meat department manager Aryeh Rosen was one of approximately 75 employees hired and trained by Seasons two months ago. In addition to helping customers browsing his department, the Alabama native began processing and packing his first online order of kosher meat, which will soon be shipped down to a family in Georgia.
“It’s important to make sure people come hungry and leave happy,” Rosen said. “We want to help them enhance their Shabbos tables and yontif tables as well as their barbeques.”
The specialty retailer will offer delivery options in the near future, Richards said. The Baltimore store, which has already ordered delivery vans, is planning to service the local community before expanding delivery to neighboring areas, such as Silver Spring and Annapolis.
Seasons has four stores in and around New York City as well as two in New Jersey.
The Baltimore location will be open from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday – Wednesday, 7 a.m. to midnight on Thursdays and 7 a.m. until two hours before Shabbat on Fridays, according to Seasons’ website. For more information on products and store hours, visit seasonskosher.com.