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Special Report: Aisle One - Passaic, NJ

Aisle One
Owner: Mark Raider
Opened: July 2021
Cooperative: none
 217 Brook Ave, Passaic, NJ
Photographed: December 2021
We've been to the city of Passaic before, for a number of stores downtown (see here and here for some of the posts). Today we're about a mile and a half outside of downtown Passaic for a brand-new redevelopment in a former industrial space near the Clifton border. While downtown Passaic has a notable Latino community, the community that occupies much of the southern part of the city near the Clifton border is Orthodox Jewish. The new Brook Haven mall is designed to cater to that community, with Phase I being Aisle One, a brand-new kosher supermarket positioned front and center in the reclaimed industrial building.
As we can see here, the building is sprawling but still in progress. The supermarket takes up the first floor of the complex here, which is actually above ground-level because there's a parking garage underneath. You can see that I came at an off-time (a late Monday afternoon, to be specific) but all the better to photograph this spectacular supermarket -- which is, furthermore, an awesome postindustrial urban reuse of an otherwise abandoned space.
We enter and exit at the left side of the storefront with the service departments on the left side of the store. Produce takes up the exact center of the store, with dairy and packaged baked goods on the back wall in two aisles. The grocery aisles, which are relatively short, are on the right side of the store with frozen in the front right corner. There's a wall between the produce department and the front-end, which has packaged prepared foods and other grab-and-go items along it. I estimate that the store comes in at around 30,000 square feet, although it certainly feels much larger.
Here we have the coffee shop and bakery on the left side wall (and you can see the entrance/exit doors next to it to the left). In the next alcove we have deli and prepared foods service counters lining the outside walls, with self-service prepared foods bars in the middle.
We can see that the perishables are the centerpiece of the business, especially when we see how little sales floor space is dedicated to the grocery aisles.
This store, by the way, was designed by New York-based DY Design, a familiar name with one of their latest efforts being another store we're covering today, the Foodtown in Caldwell.
Butcher shop, or Prime One, is up next as we move towards the back of the store. I love the curved case matching the curved ceiling here! And this department faces seafood on the back wall; as you can see below, these departments form a hallway into the backroom space.
It's easy to forget in these few shots as we circle the perimeter starting to the left that this is a repurposed industrial space. We do get a clear sense of that as we transition into the center of the store for produce...
What a view! And I love the flooring, too. Another spectacular and visually stunning design by DY, in the same vein as CitiGrocer.
These produce cases run front to back, so in the above picture we're looking towards the back wall of the store with deli-meat-seafood to our left and the grocery aisles to our right, and in fact you can see the aisle markers if you look carefully.
The front-end is on the other side of the wall to the right here.
And here we see the meat to the left of the produce department. Dairy lines the back wall, and in the aisle in front of that, we have a slightly odd selection of product...
I think the products we see to the right here, in a case that I don't actually think was refrigerated although it looks like it, are packaged baked goods. This aisle was the single part of the store that I really didn't understand.
And in the last aisle, we have dairy and cold cuts with the beautiful high ceilings.
And I believe we have a total of 7 grocery aisles in the back right corner of the store. Funny how this selection is so minimized compared to the other departments in this store. I assume they know their customer, though, and that it makes sense. I know a little about kosher foods, since at my foodservice job part of our facility is a dedicated kosher meat kitchen where I've worked a little bit, and so it's my understanding that a lot of general grocery staples are kosher even if we don't necessarily pay attention to it. For that reason, I think it's possible that customers who keep kosher may be able to buy packaged grocery staples at any mainstream supermarket since many of them are suitable for kosher cooking.
Here we're looking down the right-side wall of the store towards the front. You can see the freezer cases in the front corner of the store. This isn't exactly a complaint, but this space does feel a little bit like dead space on this side of the store. I do think that's a pretty good design, though, because there's so much space in the central produce area that this area can be a little more straightforward. I don't know if that makes sense. It made sense in my head.
As we can see, the store is brand-new but they certainly take care of it well with all the aisles beautifully stocked.
And here we have frozen foods in the front corner of the store.
As I mentioned, and as you can see from these pictures, there's plenty of space around the store but I also visited when the store was empty. I know it gets crowded at times, so the space is probably quite pleasant at those times. The front-end is a great example...
So nice and wide, but I'm sure the lines get long. Well anyway, this is a spectacular supermarket and well worth the stop to check it out! Don't forget to see what else we have today here.


  1. Makes sense - even the regular stores that specialize in Kosher (like a couple ShopRites I've seen in NJ and at least one Price Chopper/Market 32 up here) tend to have primarily separate sections for Kosher fresh items (like meat, deli, bakery) and only a fairly small amount of noted items elsewhere (like a few freezer or dairy cases marked as such).

    1. Exactly, so the emphasis here is gonna be on things you can't find easily elsewhere.

  2. Replies
    1. Isn't it great? There's a Foodtown or two in Brooklyn with roughly the same decor package from DY Design which I really want to get to, but it might be a while.


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