Boro Park Flashback: KRM Kollel Supermarket
By Yehudit Garmaise
When Reb Moishe Binik, a”h, who first worked as a food salesman for Spanish grocery stores, first opened KRM Kollel Supermarket in 1982 on 14th Ave. and 44th St., he wanted to provide affordable groceries for people in the community who learned and taught Torah, after noting how high grocery prices skyrocketed around Pesach time.
“It’s not fair,” thought Mr. Binik, who was first inspired to open supermarket that aimed to serve large families after first seeing one on a trip to Eretz Yisroel. “People can’t afford it.”
Wanting to serve kollelim, rabbanim, and large mishpachas (KRM), for whom he named his store, the first of its kind in the U.S., at first Mr. Binik sold food at wholesale prices with absolutely no mark-up.
After volunteer employees proved themselves to be not as reliable as one would hope, Mr. Binik’s children persuaded him to raise his prices just enough to be able to pay his employees, and KRM has been expanding ever since: adding new shelves, sections, and products.
KRM always had a full range of meat, dairy, produce, bakery, take-out, and nosh, but the store started out with only six registers and two minivans for delivery, remembered a longtime KRM worker.
Located at 1325 39th St. since 1991, the Suski K bar, a fleet of 19 delivery vans, and 16 registers are newer additions to the store.
According to the children of Boro Park, only KRM has the nosh they prefer, reported the KRM worker.
“Parents always come in and tell me that they stopped in at other stores for this or that, but that their kids complained that they didn’t get the nosh they like that we have here,” the KRM worker said with a laugh.
KRM in Boro Park proved so wildly successful that Mr. Binik opened Moisha’s Discount Supermarket in Flatbush in 1995 to serve that neighborhood.
But establishing discount grocery stores was just one of Mr. Binik’s many chasadim. For instance, showing extreme discretion and sensitivity to those who had trouble feeding their families, Mr Binick gave away thousands of dollars’ worth of food vouchers that looked like credit cards, so that no one standing in line would know the difference.
In addition, Mr. Binick was not only inspired by a supermarket in Eretz Yisroel, but he was similarly inspired to use his earning to create Bais Horaah, a halachah Kollel on Avenue M, after learning of a kollel that was funded by a grocery store in Eretz Yisroel.
An early member of Hatzolah, Mr. Binick and his wife Rossy were also known for opening their home to many guests, cholim, and teenage runaways. But the Binicks’ chesed took place quietly in the background as they were busy providing food, comfort, and good cheer to anyone who needed it in Boro Park.