Rishon Letzion…It is a supermarket. It is a Club Store. No, it’s like a Whole Foods Store or perhaps a gourmet specialty store. The Chatzi Chinam (“Half Free”) supermarket is like no other in Israel and certainly without parallel in the US. Any kosher consumer would think of Chatzi Chinam as a Disneyland of foods. The aisles are neatly laid out to project an abundance of branded, imported and specialty items. Customers expecting to find produce at the entrance will be disappointed as the first aisle is full of housewares, kitchen utensils and detergents. There are aisles upon aisles of branded products, namely by Israel’s giants Osem and Strauss-Elite, specialty items like gourmet and organic items from around the world, fresh beef and poultry that is not packaged, its freshness obvious through a large showcase. There are prepared meals and an incredible array of cheeses and wines in what seems like an endless display of great looking foods. There are plenty of tasting opportunities as part of a general emphasis on customer service. In a relatively short period of time, Chatzi Chinam has become the model of the new-age supermarket, and everything is kosher.
Amazingly the chain is the third largest sales without having the number of stores of its key competitors. Cousins Zaaki Shalom and Mordechai are not stopping there. They continue to open more stores but are also in an acquisition mode, including the well-known Binyamina Winery which they acquired in 2008 for $13.5 million.