6/29/2012 2:57:00 PM

Shalom's Strictly Kosher plans move to Kemp Mill

Shalom Strictly Kosher set to take over Magruder's Kemp Mill location.

by David Holzel and Suzanne Pollak
WJW Staff

Shalom Strictly Kosher, a longtime fixture on University Boulevard in Wheaton, plans to open a store in the Kemp Mill Shopping Center. The new location will be the current site of Magruder's.

Shalom applied to the Montgomery County Department of Liquor Control to transfer its alcoholic beverage license to 1361 Lamberton Drive, the address of Magruder's. A hearing on the application is scheduled for July 5. The application is for a Class A license, which allows beer and wine sales. No alcohol consumption will be allowed on site.

"I would think they would get their license in the next few days," said Emily DeTitta, licensing and education at the county Department of Liquor Control. "It's the same license. They are relocating."

Shalom owner Larry Dekelbaum declined to comment on the move.

Kemp Mill Shopping Center also is home to Shaul's Kosher Market and Kemp Mill Beer and Wine. Satyembra Kunwar, owner of Kemp Mill Beer and Wine, called the news "very bad" because he will have to compete for kosher wine sales.

He said he heard about the move when "we ... saw the sign [for the license application] and some of my customers came here and told me."

He said many of his customers are area Jews, adding, "The Jewish community has supported me for 13 years."

Shaul's owner Aaron Orlovsky did not return phone calls and store founder Shaul Rafael declined to comment.

The move comes at a time of increasing competition in the kosher food market, according to Baltimore-based supermarket consultant Jeremy Diamond. "Competition is fierce in the Baltimore-Washington area, also with mainstream supermarkets selling more kosher products at cheaper prices," he said.

Diamond added that this is an opportune time for Magruder's to leave the Kemp Mill area. "Magruder's is feeling the effects of the larger companies moving into the Baltimore-Washington region, and Magruder's needs a niche to stay competitive. Being a local chain does not hold that much weight in the current economy with customers looking for low prices and high quality with broad variety," he said.