After years of struggling to stay in business on the Lower East Side, Streit’s Matzo has made the decision to close its Rivington Street manufacturing plant.
A short time ago, co-owner Alan Adler told us it was a difficult decision but a necessary one. After 90 years in the historic neighborhood, operations will be shifted later this year to an already-existing facility in New Jersey. The four tenement buildings – 148-154 Rivington St. – that make up the LES Streit’s Matzo factory are under contract to a developer. Adler declined to name the prospective owner or the purchase price.
“The economic reality of running a modern manufacturing facility in converted tenement buildings just caught up with us,” Adler said. New equipment wouldn’t fit in the production spaces, meaning Streit’s had to make do with old, lumbering machinery. “I’m very sad it has to come to this,” said Adler. “We are the last remaining connection a lot of Jews have to the Lower East Side.”
Adler indicated that it remains to be seen whether Streit’s will look for a new manufacturing facility in New Jersey or expand the current plant. There are about 30 workers on the line at the Lower East Side location, plus five or six rabbis who handle the kosher certification of Streit’s products. The workers will be offered jobs at the new location. The move will take place in the spring or early summer, when the Passover baking season wraps up. Adler said he’s optimistic about the company’s future.
In 1925, Aron Streit opened the Rivington Street factory, after moving from an original location on Pitt Street. Streit’s remains a family-owned business.