The smile on Grove Kosher Market owner Shlomo Goldman’s face said it all.

Seven years in the making, the one-stop, full-service kosher store opened its doors for a “soft opening” at noon July 22. Even before that time, curious shoppers were already inside the 40,000-square-foot store on Warrensville Center Road in Oakwood Commons in South Euclid. Within two hours of the opening, he estimated more than 1,000 people had come into the store and he predicted 2,000 people would be through the store by closing time at 9:30 p.m.

“I wanted to come to the Cleveland market about seven years ago ... and it just feels amazing,” Goldman told the Cleveland Jewish News July 22. “I love to see the people smiling, the younger, the older, the kids, it’s just amazing.

“I always look at the market that’s lacking. It’s such a big Jewish community, and I see the schools have hundreds of kids. I see the synagogues from Reform, Conservative and Orthodox, and the general community, knowing what these stores are, I see where’s a need for it and I said you know what, I pinpointed Cleveland a long time ago because we have one in Michigan and there’s a need for it.”

Asked if this store would be a game-changer in the community, Goldman answered, “I hope so, I hope so.”

Elected officials and city officials from South Euclid were on hand as well as Lyndhurst Mayor Patrick A. Ward.

South Euclid Mayor Georgine Welo helped to cut the grand-opening ribbon and welcomed Grove Kosher Market to the city.

“We’re so excited like I said before, I really think this is going to set the tone for the whole neighborhood,” Welo told the CJN as she toured the store with Goldman “The new Jewish school, two in the area. We have a lot of young families in the area. We also have the people that chose to stay in South Euclid, a lot of older Jewish people who didn’t run out to the ‘burbs and stayed close to Cleveland. They were the ones who helped build the synagogues and so I think this reinvestment is probably a testimonial to what they loved about Cleveland because they’re the ones that came here and why you (Goldman) chose to come here.”

Customers were greeted with free samples, live music, raffles, face painting, a balloon artist and more.

The aroma of freshly baked bread and pastries, and simmering hot chicken and beef permeated throughout the store.

The store is under supervision of Cleveland Kosher and is the sixth owned by Goldman. Other stores are in Southfield, Mich., and Boca Raton, Delray Beach, Hollywood and Surfside, Fla.

Grove’s hours of operation are Sundays from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., Mondays through Wednesdays 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Thursdays 8 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. and Fridays 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

One shopper was overheard saying he couldn’t believe the turnout, but he wasn’t surprised.

“Everyone,” he said, “is here.”

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