By Daniel Chavkin, staff writer, @dchav96
The dairy aisle at TargetExpress displays an array of cheese. The new Route 1 establishment carries some kosher items, but kosher-certified meats and cheeses are still a 20-minute car ride away. Dovid Fisher/Mitzpeh
In July, the opening of a TargetExpress along Route 1 above the Landmark apartments found immediate popularity among students, giving them another option to shop for food and supplies in College Park.
However, not all students have found the store to be convenient. Jewish students who keep kosher were disappointed when they found out TargetExpress didn’t sell many kosher items, just like most other stores along Route 1.
“They don’t have kosher meat or cheese, so there kind of isn’t a point in going,” said sophomore Jewish studies and sociology double-major Andy Weissfeld.
While Weissfeld isn’t completely correct, as TargetExpress does sell some cheeses such as cottage cheese, he does have a valid point. In order to buy kosher cheeses and unprepared kosher meats, students must travel beyond the College Park campus.
“For produce and general stuff I go to [the] new Grand International Food Market,” Weissfeld said. In order to do so, he drives 15 minutes to Hyattsville. Additionally, Weissfeld said he also shops at Wheaton’s Costco and Shalom Kosher, both of which are about 25 minutes away from campus.
Junior business major Marc Leeb shops at TargetExpress before Shabbat begins for fruits and vegetables.
“I [originally] came during the first weeks…there was a little bit of cheese left, but there wasn’t meat,” he said. “Every time we’re here, we [ask] ‘Hey, when’s the next shipment coming in of kosher foods?’”
Shakeeah, a TargetExpress employee who couldn’t disclose her last name due to company policy, said the store received complaints at the beginning of the semester. Additionally, she said that the store’s shipments depend on what foods are popular and what headquarters sends them.
TargetExpress isn’t the only store that has had this issue, as the 7-Eleven at the shopping center on Knox Road lacks a variety of kosher items. It only sells kosher tuna, chicken, and turkey sandwiches and wraps.
“I used to go [to 7-Eleven] when I lived in [South Campus] Commons, but now I never go there,” said senior linguistics major Jacob Sacks.
Emmanuel Asante, an employee of 7-Eleven, said they haven’t received any complaints of late. However, he does admit that there are complications to adding foods to stock.
“[For] any requests, the manager has to ‘7-Eleven approve’ [them],” he said. In other words, 7-Eleven has a pre-decided list of foods that they can and cannot sell, meaning they cannot just add foods to stock based on every recommendation.
Sacks points out that commuting off campus isn’t the only issue with buying kosher foods.
“The main issue is that kosher food tends to be really expensive,” he said. “I end up just buying better-priced things that aren’t ‘real food’ like snack food.”
As for TargetExpress, Sacks said he only goes there to buy snacks and drinks, but not “real food.”
“If they had kosher meat or kosher cheese, I know I’d buy [more] from them, and other people probably would also,” Sacks said.
“If [kosher foods] were here, every Thursday and Friday, they would sell out,” Leeb added.