Yesterday's note in the window of imperiled Jefferson Market says "We are not going out of business."
And today the store is temporarily closed for restructuring:
This comes after news in the New York Times, The Villager, and oddly enough, Al Jazeera, that the store's demise was imminent.
A sometimes lunch destination, over the weeks, I've watched the shelves at Jefferson Market deplete and the stocks at the deli counter diminish, such that my usual, and my usual backup are no longer available. Consequently, it's been a ghost town. If people can't find what they want, they go elsewhere.
The store opened in 1929 and did well until 2003, when Citarella opened, then Whole Foods in 2005, and Trader Joe's in 2006. The triple whammy hit them hard. To the Times, Owner Louis Montuori said they'd made some bad management choices: “We were running it like a mom-and-pop when we shouldn’t have been."
It's deeply regrettable that, in this town today, running a business like a mom-and-pop, taking care of staff, giving personal treatment to customers, etc., is considered bad management.
Hopefully, the new sign in their window today is a good sign, and that the restructuring will save this old neighborhood place.
I remember when I first started going there, I was startled by how consistently the customers politely held the door for me, going in or out. I was shocked, really. I enjoyed getting into their holding-the-door culture, and would often good-naturedly fight with customers over who would hold the door for whom, laughing in a refreshing way that made me feel connected momentarily to another stranger in the world.
You don't get that much anymore.