The New York Kosher Deli on High Street has closed its doors after more than five years in business—citing a weak national economy and the lack of support from town government.
“The first three years were good,” said owner Jeffrey Green, who started the business with his wife and son in 2007. “We were able to cover our expenses for the first three years.”
Green said the downturn in the last two years had forced him to use his social security check to cover rent and other expenses.
“As the economy in general took a downshift, there were less and less tourists coming and less and less activity here on the street. From that point on it has just gone down hill,” Green said.
At the local level, Green said the town government has done little to help merchants.
“I don’t think the town government has done anything to help businesses or the local economy,” he said. “They’ve stuck their heads in the sand and choose to believe everything is fine.”
Green said one thing that has hurt local businesses is the consolidation of several events on the same weekends—in response to local complaints about the number of tourist in the town.
“[Residents] were complaining from what I’ve been told,” he said. “Then all of the sudden they started compressing two or three activities into a single weekend to appease locals who didn’t want tourists around all week.” He said spreading the events out would bring a steadier stream of foot traffic to local merchants.
Green also disputed the idea that the Farmers’ market is good for downtown businesses.
“The market shuts down all business on the street on Saturday because there is nowhere to park,” Green said. He said his business resumed to normal on Saturdays only after the market had closed—when parking became available again.
Market vendors sometimes come with “up to three vehicles and take up all of the parking spaces,” Green said. “By the time we would get here at 8:30 in the morning, there was nowhere for anyone to park.”
In a strange irony, Green says he has received an outpouring of support and kind words lately from people who rarely or never came to his deli.
“I’ve had more people come up to me and tell me how sorry they were that we’re leaving. These are people to my best recollection that had never set foot in this place as a customer,” Green said. “People told me how important it was and how good it was for Kent County to have an ethnic restaurant, but they were never customers. If they were, it was once in a blue moon.”
“I could have stayed in business if I had gotten just part of the support financially that I have gotten verbally over the last few days,” Green said.
Green said he had some debts to pay off on the business and would probably return to teaching. “My license is still good.”