The steady stream of trucks and vans going in and out of the parking lot underscores the telltale signs of construction and renovation at the former Brach’s kosher supermarket site at 11 Lawrence Lane in Lawrence.
According to the Town of Hempstead Building Department, former storeowner Jack Brach and Gourmet Glatt, another kosher supermarket, submitted the application to renovate the location in December of last year.
The nearly 42,000-square-foot building will be refurbished and divided in half, town officials confirmed. Gourmet Glatt will use about half of the building for another kosher supermarket. A future tenant, not yet identified, will file a separate application to fill the remaining portion.
Brach’s closed its doors on May 1, 2016. Plans had been made to sell the supermarket to Brooklyn-based KRM/ Moisha’s discount kosher grocer, but that deal fell through.
Rumors were rampant throughout the Five Towns that Gourmet Glatt would take over the site. Yoeli Steinberg, general manager of Gourmet Glatt, did not confirm that any deal was pending last year. Neither Brach nor Steinberg could be reached for comment by press time.
Sam Brach, a butcher in Kew Gardens, transformed his small Queens market into a kosher supermarket and opened Brach’s in 1997. His son, Jack Brach was forced to close it after nearly 20 years due to financial reasons.
“We are tremendously grateful to all of you for your support over the years and we will miss the action as well as each and every one of you,” Jack Brach wrote in a goodbye message, he placed in publications last year.
The Lawrence Lane location would be the third Gourmet Glatt store in the Five Towns. The first supermarket is on Spruce Street in Cedarhurst. A second store opened in 2015 in the Key Food building in Woodmere.
Competitor Seasons kosher supermarket has its primary store on Central Avenue in Lawrence and an express store on Doughty Boulevard in Lawrence across the street from the Inwood Long Island Rail Road station.
It has been reported that a second Seasons Express is expected to open on Peninsula Boulevard in Cedarhurst in the future. Identical to the Lawrence location, it is planned to be open 24 hours a day, six days a week.
Before Brach’s shut its doors regular shoppers had lamented the hole its absence created in the community. As it offered good merchandise at lower prices. Malka Eisenberg, a Woodmere resident, had shopped at Brach’s since it opened.
“When Brach’s opened here, it was a bigger store at the time compared to others, and had its own parking lot,” Eisenberg said previously. “It had good-quality merchandise and prices within reason.”
Eisenberg said that since Brach’s closed she has shopped at Gourmet Glatt, as has Melinda Hilsenrath, another Woodmere resident and longtime Brach’s customer.
“Their prices were better than a lot of neighborhood supermarkets,” Hilsenrath said previously. She had hoped that KRM would buy Brach’s to increase competition and, hopefully keep prices lower.