The name of the organization I went to and used to work for is called Goldberg’s Kosher Bakery and Deli. The person I interviewed is named Dan Knudsen and his wife. Dan mainly talked everything. I felt lucky to get them because I hadn’t seen them in about two years.
His new bakery still has the same name, but it is located in Hillsboro in a shopping complex. The original Goldberg’s was a fine dining restaurant located at the Lloyd Center Mall in Northeast Portland. The owner’s father died and passed the business on to his daughter and her new husband, who worked for her father in the 1960s. The new owners opened in Hillsdale and only baked and ran a deli. They were no longer a fine dining restaurant. People always asked “Is this the same Goldberg from the Lloyd Center?” The answer would be “Same family, but different operation.”
After owning a bakery in Hillsdale in the late ’70s, they moved a mile away to a location in southwest Portland. His marketing concept was simple; they wanted to have an old-fashioned Jewish bakery because the family was Jewish. The decor was photographs of the original family, including the father (owner) hanging in the bakery. The bagels served were hand rolled and boiled before being baked. That is clearly the old way. The sandwiches were made with bread baked on the bakery side of the establishment.
On Fridays a certain braided bread called “challa” was baked. I guess it’s Jewish tradition to eat this every Friday. That would be the busiest day. It was clear who the clientele was for that day of the week. There would be fresh roast turkey on the sandwiches that were very popular. It was like baking a Thanksgiving turkey and putting the meat directly on a sandwich. People would come from miles around. They were regulars and once again it was clear who the clientele was. The food was kosher and Jewish customers cannot eat any other types of bread and bagels unless they are certified.
There was a lot of competition, especially during the holidays. Customers would search all over town for the perfect dinner roll. There were many other bakeries in the city. These included the bakery department of Elephant, Grand Central, Noah and Albertson. I think customers chose Goldberg’s because they have already been going there for many years.
The products were mainly loaves of bread, bagels, sandwiches, and items such as fictional bread. There would be an option to have the bread sliced or unsliced. The price was reasonable. It was $ 2.50 for a heavy loaf of bread. There were always four types to choose from: wheat, white, light rye, and dark rye. I never knew how much the other local bakeries charged for their breads.
The location was not the best, but not the worst either. It was located in a small strip mall in a neighborhood. There was a Jewish community center less than a kilometer down the road. I knew, as did the owners, that this had to generate additional income. The main promotion would be a bagel, cream cheese and a coffee for a dollar. That might have been a lost item for the establishment, but I never asked. I’m sure if there was a profit involved, it was a lot.
One more marketing ploy they had was a sign that said a free bagel and cream cheese if it’s your birthday. But that was minor compared to not having a billboard in front of their building. I think they just didn’t have the money for that.
The male owner who did most of the cooking suffered a brain aneurysm. He was unable to work and the place had to close for about a year and a half. They never reopened there. Instead, they reopened in Hillsboro and are now hiding in a shopping complex. His main source of income is standing out in Portland selling his products. They simply use the business complex to bake their products and transport them to the stalls.
When I recently visited the owners at the new location, I noticed a handwritten note on the door that said “We are open again and the tradition continues.” I thought it was awesome. Honestly, I don’t see them expanding much more than that. They are getting old.