Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

Passings : Murray Klein

Marketer made deli a destination

December 11, 2007|From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Murray Klein, 84, whose marketing savvy transformed the Jewish delicatessen Zabar's into an international food emporium and foodie haven, died of lung cancer Thursday in New York, according to Sandra Serrano, who had worked with him for decades.

A part owner with the Zabar family, Klein oversaw the store's merchandising, pricing and publicity for more than 30 years. "That one little Yiddishe store had an effect on the way people ate all over America, and it was really because of him," Steven Fass, an importer, told the New York Times last week.

Klein's trademark was selling high-end gourmet food, often imported from Europe, while still offering such Jewish staples as chopped liver and borscht.

The store attracted crowds by steeply discounting selected fancy foods and by packaging high-quality staples such as coffee beans and preserves under Zabar's private label.

Born in 1923 in the former Soviet Union, Klein was held in a Soviet labor camp during World War II. His parents and five siblings died in Nazi concentration camps.

Three years after immigrating to New York in 1950, Klein began his career at Zabar's as a stockman and stayed until retiring in 1994.

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|