Breaking News: Gourmet Glatt Sale
Major scoop from tomorrow's Jewish Star, which seems to be making itself the go-to place for all the local Jewish news:
If you would like to read the rest of the story, the newspaper should be on the streets by tomorrow afternoon.
Gourmet Glatt Being Sold
By Mayer Fertig
The white knight lives in Borough Park. He is an investor named Chezky Kaufthiel, leading a group that is now in the process of becoming the new owners of Gourmet Glatt. The Bolender family has sold its entire interest in the store, which their parents founded.
The sale is expected to herald the return to Gourmet Glatt of many, many customers who have stayed away since late October, heeding the directive of their rabbonim. The boycott followed the removal of the hashgacha of the Vaad Hakashrus of the Five Towns and Far Rockaway.
Rabbi Simcha Lefkowitz of Congregation Anshei Chesed in Hewlett, and a member of the Vaad Hakashrus of the Five Towns and Far Rockaway, confirmed that, "the Vaad is returning it's hashgacha, and everyone should be free to shop there, in all the departments, including meat."
Rabbi Yosef Eisen, the rabbinic administrator of the Vaad,said, " Mr. Kaufthiel and his group have an interest in concluding this deal ASAP. All parties have been working closely together. We're walking toward the chupah right now. The conclusion is, b'ezras Hashem, going to take place in the not so distant future.
Through his attorney, Paul Sod of Lawrence, Kaufthiel confirmed he is the buyer and said, "We are interested in bringing Gourmet Glatt to a point where it is the premier supermarket in relation to quality, service, value and kashrus." Other members of the group were not identified. Paul Sod, and his counterpart, Alexander Novack, representing the Bolenders in the sale, said they did not know who else is part of the group. They called Kaufthiel "a facilitator" who's "been in the lead in the efforts to resolve this unfortunate mess, but it's not clear what role he'll play" ultimately.
Novack said, "all the sellers are very happy with this resolution of what has been a very difficult couple of months and hope for the continued success of Gourmet Glatt."
... Virtually every Orthodox rabbi in the Five Towns and Far Rockaway is a member of the Vaad, which is led by Rabbi Eisen. Together, they made an emergency decision to remove the hashgacha from Gourmet Glatt in late October after Rabbi Yehudah Kravitz was retained to provide a second hechsher. At that time the Vaad had recently advised Mark Bolender and his siblings to sell the business prior to the permanent removal of the hashgacha in four months time. This followed an incident where several brands of kosher Cornish hens were mislabeled and a long string of other run-ins between Mark Bolender and the Vaad.
Rabbi Kravitz declined to comment when he was contacted on Tuesday.
Two members of the Bolender family, Chaim and Andrea, will remain at Gourmet Glatt to help with the transition, and possibly longer. They will be salaried employees of the new owners. Mark Bolender's relationship with the store will end with the sale.
... "The community will hopefully find this to be a very positive outcome to a very difficult experience," said Rabbi Kenneth Hain of Lawrence's Cong. Beth Shalom. "Due to some hard work and responsible efforts by all parties I expect that this will result in not only a quality establishment under the highest of kashruth standards, but also in competition that will be of benefit to kosher consumers."
One of the attorneys, Alexander Novack, said the deal was structured with care taken to be sure it would easily lead to a resumption of supervision by the Vaad Hakashrus. "A number of rabbonim who have made themselves available on Sunday nights, and holidays," he said, "have been very accommodating." He singled out for credit Rabbi Eisen, whom he said had made himself available for consultation on a number of recent Sundays.