Specialty Food Magazine

JUL-AUG 2013

Specialty Food Magazine is the leading publication for retailers, manufacturers and foodservice professionals in the specialty food trade. It provides news, trends and business-building insights that help readers keep their businesses competitive.

Issue link: https://www.e-digitaleditions.com/i/139333

Contents of this Issue


Page 72 of 217

profile A CENTURY OF RUSS & DAUGHTERS M ark Russ Federman, the third generation of Russes to run the family business, recently released a memoir of the store's history, Russ & Daughters, Reflections and Recipes from the House that Herring Built. In it, he chronicles the shop's storied past. After arriving in the U.S. from Poland, Russ & Upper East Side, along with current Russ & Daughters Daughters' founder Joel Russ peddled herring from a owners Niki Russ Federman and Josh Russ Tupper. pushcart in New York's Lower East Side before opening a He had spent his childhood in the store where he small storefront on Orchard Street in 1914, near where the and his cousins were required to work behind the store stands today. By 1920, he relocated to a larger shop, counter to learn to earn money, he explained at the named J. Russ National Appetizing Store, at its current event, moderated by Leonard Lopate, host of "The address, 179 East Houston Street, which was added to the Leonard Lopate Show" on WNYC. However, rather National Register for Historic Places in 2001. than envisioning a future at Russ & Daughters, Mark From the time they were children, Joel's daughters, went on to attend Georgetown Law School and begin Hattie, Ida and Anne, were expected to work in the a legal career. When his father became ill with a heart family business. During the Depression, Joel opted to condition, Mark stepped in and soon felt a tug toward sell his home rather than the store and moved his family the family business. "My first day in the store was the from Brooklyn to a small apartment on East Fourth last day I practiced law," he said. Street. Despite his wife and daughters' objections, Mark noted that Russ & Daughters originally was he was determined to hang on to the family's source not meant to be passed on to the next generation. "Our of income and, Mark writes, answered with what had families worked hard so their kids could get an education become his constant refrain: "Vi nempt men parnosa? and become professionals and work five days a week in From where do we make our living?" an office rather than come home tired and smelling of By 1933, the store was renamed Russ & Daughters. fish," he said. But having worked in the business world, he In The House that Herring Built, Mark writes, "Joel Russ wanted his kids to join him at the store and experience wasn't a feminist, but he recognized two things: first, that the value of the rewarding hard work. (Mark's son, Noah, it was indeed his daughters who had helped him grow his has not expressed interest. "I may be the only Jewish business and keep his store; second, that the name Russ father disappointed that his son is a doctor," he teased.) & Daughters would be a good marketing tool," among the "We have a collective understanding that there's numerous "& Sons" businesses at the time. After Joel's more going on at Russ & Daughters besides buying and death in 1961, Hattie and husband Murray and Anne and selling fish," Mark said. "Maybe that's why we've survived husband Herbie (Mark's parents) ran the store. (Ida had when so many other appetizing stores haven't. We're a left Russ & Daughters in 1941 for a career in retailing and vehicle for sharing food memories. There's soul there." antique dealing.) Mark came on board in 1978 when his parents retired, and was joined by his wife Maria. Next year marks Russ & Daughters' centennial, with a fourth generation at the helm. As for the future generations, Niki notes it's appropriate she has a The Soul of the Store Last March, Mark described his experience joining daughter, now only 20 months old. "I would love it if she decides on her own that she values the beauty of what the family business during a discussion as part of the we do here. And if that time comes, I hope I'll be able to 92Y Talks series at the 92nd Street Y on New York's hand it over to her and let it be hers." in one place is meaningful and has a lot of currency," Niki says. "We need to preserve that and keep our presence on the Lower East Side. The original store will always be here. It's the mothership." The pair admits, however, they have ambitions. "We're currently working on a project that I hope is seen as a logical extension of Russ & Daughters," says Niki. She declines to give details but notes that one such move could be another store and hints that an 56 ❘ SPECIALTY FOOD MAGAZINE specialtyfood.com announcement about future endeavors may be ready to time with Russ & Daughters' 100th anniversary next year. "We don't want to be the generation where people say they used to love Russ & Daughters," she says. "We are stewards of the tradition, but we also want to grow." Denise Purcell is editor of Specialty Food Magazine.

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of Specialty Food Magazine - JUL-AUG 2013