While many bakeries are associated with the city they serve, a kosher wholesale bakery crosses geographical boundaries, bringing traditional tastes to consumers thousands of miles away from the delicious aromas of their industrial-sized ovens.
For Reisman’s bakery, the story began in 1962 with a small operation on the corner of Avenue O and West 7th in Brooklyn. Today, Reisman’s range of kosher baked goods is distributed by Pathmark, Shoprite, A &P, and Albertson’s among other mega-chains. Their Brownie Bars, found in assorted gas stations and convenience stores are the go-to product for a hungry Jew on the highway. Shipped from Brooklyn, Reisman’s range retails all over the US as well as in Mexico, Canada, England, Switzerland and Belgium.
Baking takes place daily at Reisman’s, with the ovens starting at five in the morning. Twenty people are involved in the production process, another thirty in the distribution network.
Although the Reismans have added new products and made variations to sustain interest, their popularity is an outcome of consistency, and after three generations in the business, the best-selling item is still those ubiquitous, delicious Brownie Bars. Mr. Friedman opines that this iconic product’s sustained popularity has made it part of kosher culture—“an advertising campaign a couple of years ago featured a picture of just a brownie bar, with respondents asked to name the item and the company which produces it, and correct replies just flooded in. They came from five year olds and from sixty year olds—it was unbelievable!”
What makes Reisman’s special? “We want to keep our customers for life,” Mr. Friedman explains. “That was my grandfather’s philosophy and I learned the business from him. Over here the customer is always right, and will be treated like gold. That’s what keeps them coming back—as well as a consistently great product, of course.”
As well as supplying the Kosher market, Reismans distributes widely in the Southern US and in Mexico. Mr Friedman explains that the products retail to non-kosher consumers based on their great taste, and the Reismans have made adaptations to gear them to new tastebuds. “Different cultures have different preferences. For the Jewish market, chocolate flavor is the perennial best-seller, but non-Jews tend to prefer cinnamon and fruit flavors. Hamantaschen are a real hit with our non-Jewish consumers, selling the whole year round. We’ve even come up with new fillings, like mango and other fruits, which are a hot item in Mexico!”
Published September 2018