Famous New York gourmet food store Dean & DeLuca is on its way to Israel: If all goes as planned, the Israeli branch of the upscale grocery store chain in the central city of Herzliya will include a café with a sitting area and a bar, as well as a delicatessen.
Harel Wizel, owner of the Fox clothing chain, considered bringing Dean & DeLuca to Israel several months ago and opening stores in local malls, but eventually decided to back down on the deal.
The negotiations with the food chain are currently being led by gastronomist and food journalist Michal Ansky together with businessman Shlomo Tzfania.
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The Israeli store, which is expected to measure 690 square meters (7,427 square feet) in size, will open on the ground floor of a new office building being constructed by the Canada-Israel and Acro group, which was planned by architect Moshe Tzur, in the industrial area of Herzliya Pituach.
The building was meant to be used for offices and commerce, but Ansky appeared before the District Planning and Construction Committee and asked to extend the building's commerce area for the establishment of the "gourmet house."
The committee members accepted her request and approved, in an exceptional manner, the extension of the commerce area while narrowing the office space. The decision was not unanimous.
"Michal Ansky came to the committee, and surprisingly managed to convince its members to accept a concrete plan increasing the commerce space in s building in the industrial zone, just because she wants to bring some delicatessen from New York," said committee member Dror Ezra, a representative of the Green faction who opposed the change.
39th store worldwide
Dean & DeLuca has 38 stores around the world, 13 of them in the United States. The chain opened its first branch outside the US, in Japan, through a franchisee in 2002, and currently has stores in Kuwait, Qatar, Dubai, Thailand, Turkey, South Korea and other countries.
The chain, which is identified with New York City, was founded in 1977 by Giorgio DeLuca, Joel Dean and Jack Ceglic, who opened its first store in the SoHo district on an area of 2,600 square meters (28,000 square feet). Its stores, which include a café and a delicatessen, sell wine, unique types of meat and cheese, high-quality fruit and vegetables, as well as premium household utensils.
The chain's criteria for a franchise license are very strict. It requires its franchisees to prove they have the financial ability to expand the chain in their country, and demands proven retail experience.