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'We want to do this for the Jewish community': Longtime customer takes ownership of St. Louis kosher deli

In addition to its fully kosher grocery store, the establishment offers a deli counter, bakery and dining area where it serves its popular pastrami sandwiches.
Credit: AJ Moll
Kohn’s Kosher Meat & Deli, located at 10405 Old Olive Street Road, is under new ownership.

CREVE COEUR, Mo. — A new set of owners at Kohn’s Kosher Meat & Deli last week finalized a sale and assumed operations of the longtime St. Louis grocer.

Located at 10405 Old Olive Street Road, the establishment has been selling kosher foods – or foods meeting the standard of Jewish dietary laws – since 1963.

In addition to its fully kosher grocery store, the establishment offers a deli counter, bakery and dining area, where, among other things, it serves its popular pastrami sandwiches.

Two generations of Kohns have helmed the establishment, which currently operates out of its third brick-and-mortar storefront. Brother-and-sister-duo Lenny Kohn and Rosemary Cooper for more than a decade considered the possibility of selling the business, finally put it on the market in March.

AJ Moll, a St. Louis-native with decades of experience in both the grocery and culinary industries and a longtime customer of the establishment, had been considering buying the business but ultimately decided it wasn't a financially viable decision. But when two New York-based silent partners, who Moll described as “finance guys,” entered the picture, things changed.

Moll became a minority partner in the company following its Dec. 1 sale, though he declined to share the terms of his partnership deal or the final sale price of the business.

Lawyers Realty Co., a St. Louis-based real estate company, listed the business and property for a combined $2.28 million. The business was listed for $875,000, while the 10,200-square-foot, one acre property was listed for $1.4 million.

Public records have not yet been updated to reflect last week’s sale, and a representative from the St. Louis County Assessor’s Office said the office did not currently have information regarding the transaction, adding that it will likely become available in the next month or so.

Moll remembers being eight years old and visiting Kohn’s (which was then in its second location) with his grandfather, while his grandmother went to the beauty shop next door. Now he's overseeing day-to-day operations of the store in his new role.

He said not much will change for customers during the first six months of new ownership. Improvements will be made to the back of house, including a new water heater, deep cleaning and general improvements.

Moll declined to share the total cost of investments but offered that the new water heater alone is likely to cost north of $10,000.

“If we did not do one thing to this place, we would be in great shape financially,” Moll said. “But that’s not why we’re doing it. Of course, we have to make money, but, primarily, we want to do this for the Jewish community.”

He said that he and his partners plan to reinvest the profits from the store back into the business through renovations and expanded hours.

Read the rest of the story on the St. Louis Business Journal's website.

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