Long Island Network

Fact: By 1985, Waldbaum had sales of $1.76 billion.

Photo: Added by A chris80 Posted on Unaltered. Creative Commons US 3.0 (CC BY 3.0 US)

Waldbaum’s has been a beloved Long Island institution for decades. The grocer may no longer be in business, but its legacy lives on in the hearts of many Long Islanders who grew up shopping there.Here are some crazy historical facts Waldbaum’s:


  • The grocery store’s history begins in 1904 when founder Israel “Izzy” Waldbaum and his uncles opened a butter and egg store in Brooklyn

  • The store is located at 911 DeKalb Avenue

  • They are Jewish immigrants from Ukraine

  • In 1938, the company hired identical twins Ernest and George Brown, who were African-American, to be promoted to cashiers, a first for a company in a white community

  • They both eventually rose to become administration staff in the company

  • Izzy Waldbaum died in 1947

  • By then, there were seven stores in Brooklyn

Waldbaum’s becomes Waldbaum’s

  • this the first Waldbaum’s opened in Flushing, Queens in 1951

  • Waldbaum’s has locations in every NYC borough except Manhattan

  • they only opened one Manhattan store closes after eight months

  • Waldbaum went public in 1961

  • Waldbaum family retains 81% of shares

  • Company moves headquarters from Brooklyn to Garden City in 1964

  • In 1967, sales were $197.4 million

  • From 1970 to 1979, Waldbaum’s grew from 80 stores to 138

  • In 1974, Waldbaum’s moved its headquarters and distribution center to Central Islip

  • By the late 1970s, Waldbaum’s was The second largest company in sales on Long Island and the third largest employer

  • In 1984, Waldbaum’s and three other supermarket chains pleaded no contest to a charge of conspiracy to fix prices by removing double-value coupons

  • By 1985, Waldbaum’s sales reached $1.76 billion

Julia Waldbaum

  • Julia Waldbaum (born 1897)

  • Izzy’s widow Julia has become the face of the supermarket – her image is on almost all of their branded products

  • “They wouldn’t let me eat dog food and toilet paper,” she once told reporters

  • Julia would conduct surprise inspections at various stores to check quality until later in life

  • She kept her phone number because, she said, “I like having customers call me,”

  • One reason is because customers think she’s a fictional person, “like Betty Crocker,” she says

  • Julia Waldbaum died 99 years old in 1996

buyout and bankruptcy

  • great atlantic and pacific tea co. purchase 1986 Purchased Waldbaum’s from family for $287 million or $50 per share

  • At the time, Waldbaum’s was the 12th largest supermarket chain in the United States.

  • Waldbaum’s is said to have lost its unique advantage – some kind of ethnic spice that the family brought to the store – once bought out

  • It went down from there, and in 1990, 47% of the stores failed New York State sanitation inspections

  • Controversy ensues as Waldbaums confront Teamsters over labor

  • In 1994, Waldbaum’s was still the #1 grocery store on Long Island

  • Along with stores owned by A&P, the Waldbaums closed in 2015

  • many long island locations are Sell to other grocery chains, including Stop & Shop

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