One of my weekly activities is to take my toddlers to Costco in Far Rockaway and replenish some of the staples in our cabinet. You know the items, Kedem Grape Juice, Empire Kosher Chicken, Milk, Eggs, Seltzer, Cheerios, Quaker Oatmeal, and Canola Oil, just to name a few. While we cruise the isles, we are tempted to try the array of food samples in our reach. In the kosher consumer world, sampling food is more than just an all you can eat buffet. The box of the item must be checked for a hechsher, or kosher certification, before the food can be consumed. If I am not familiar with the kosher certification of an item, I always request the packaging in order to ensure that the proper kosher certification is on the product. This is where Costco differs from all other main stream retailers. The people that provide the samples at Costco in Far Rockaway are familiar with the word and the meaning of kosher. I was so impressed by this concept that I have since cancelled my BJ’s membership entirely. Why is Costco so into the kosher consumer?
I found out that the person behind the kosher friendly staff at Costco is Adam Self, general manager of the Costco on Rockaway Turnpike for the past three years, and a veteran of half a dozen other Costco stores in New York and New Jersey. Adam has tuned into the requests of the kosher consumers and he isn’t even Jewish. He is very aware of the benefits of kosher food products whether the consumers are Muslim, Christian, Vegetarian, Lactose-Intolerant, or Gluten-Intolerant. As the kosher mommy blogger and advocate for kosher food, I just had to introduce myself to Mr. Self.
I actually found Mr. Self exactly where an excellent general manager of a store should stand and that was near the kosher food section. He was engaged in a conversation with a kosher consumer when I politely introduced myself to him. I had so much to say, but my two year old had decided that she wanted to climb out of the shopping cart and do some of her own shopping. In my brief schmooze with Mr. Self, he had invited me to today’s kosher sampling event with representatives from major kosher brands. The event, which will be going on until Thursday, September 17, features kosher brands such as Gabila’s, Natural & Kosher, Geshmak, David’s Cookies, and Schick’s. The samples were plentiful and the company representatives both informative and friendly. It wasn’t just the Jewish customers filling up their carts with food for the upcoming Rosh Hashanah meals. All types of customers were delighted with the samples and filled up their shopping carts with kosher organic cheeses, kosher potato salad, knishes, kugels, and desserts. You could see the appreciation in their faces. Keeping customers educated about healthy food options is exactly what Mr. Self had achieved today. You don’t have to be Jewish to love kosher food, you just have to be conscious about what you are eating. That is the best thing that retailers can do for their customers, after all, they don’t call it customer care for nothing!