Morscher’s Pork Store, an iconic German and Polish butcher shop in Ridgewood, has stood the test of time for decades—but no more.
Despite being a historic piece of Ridgewood, the 58-44 Catalpa Ave. store is slated to close for good on Feb. 3.
Herbert (Herbie) Morscher, one of three owners of the pork store, says the decision to close up shop wasn’t his doing. He says the owner of the building, Siegfried Strahl, a senior partner in business with Morscher since 1983, is quadrupling the rent come March.
“I mean, at the end of the game, Yes. We did very well. I did well for my family here, but it is what it is. It’s sad. It’s bittersweet,” says Morscher.
The farewell to Morscher’s Pork Store represents an end of an era for the Morscher family who have operated the business since its founding.
The pork store serving all sorts of beef, sausages, and European delights first opened its doors in 1955. It later relocated to the shop on Catalpa Avenue in 1957, where it stands today. Joseph “Pepi” Morscher started the business after immigrating to the U.S. from a German enclave in Slovenia and bringing with him the Morscher family.
Herbie Morscher’s father Herbert, a cousin of the founder, also operated the pork store for years until he eventually passed down the reins to his son. Ever since, Herbie, Strahl, and Peter Kotarowski have worked together under one roof.
At 57-year-old, Morscher says he didn’t plan to stop working anytime soon, but considering a necessary shoulder surgery he’s been putting off, he figures it’s a better time than ever to retire.
“My wife says don’t walk away from the business. She says it’s time to run away from the business,” Morscher says.
For over 40 years Morscher has run the day-to-day operations of the business. Morscher says Strahl, the landlord and business partner, made it clear for years that he held the power to increase the rent especially after having disagreements.
Morscher says since he initially had a verbal lease with Strahl, the likelihood of him losing his career was always a possibility. The addition of business partner Kotarowski made having a formal lease possible, but that will shortly come to an end in March.
The Ridgewood Times attempted to contact Strahl over the phone for comment but had yet to receive a response by press time.