Russ & Daughters

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Storefront on Houston Street

Russ & Daughters is an appetizing store[1] opened in 1914. It is located at 179 East Houston Street, on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, New York City. A family-operated store, it has been at the same location since 1914.

History[edit]

Joel Russ, an Eastern European immigrant who arrived in America in 1907, started the business from a pushcart to cater to the throngs of Jewish immigrants settling in the Lower East Side of New York. He began by schlepping Polish Mushrooms on his shoulders to support his family, and save enough money to purchase a pushcart. Joel Russ soon was able to buy a pushcart, and expanded his operation and sold pickled herring and Polish Mushrooms. Then in 1914, Joel Russ opened J Russ International Appetizers, a storefront around the corner from the current location.

In 1920, Joel Russ opened his store at the current location of 179 East Houston Street, after a few years of operating out of the original storefront around the corner. In 1933, he renamed the business "Russ and Daughters" after making his three daughters, Hattie, Ida and Anne, partners in the store. According to Hattie, they had all worked in the store "since they were 8 years old" on weekends[citation needed]. They would fish out the herring fillets from the pickle barrels and learn the importance of hard work and dedication. Once each one of them finished high school, they all worked full-time, and so it was only natural that they continue to work in the business that had provided for them since they were born.

Historically, businesses typically took on the name "and sons", but since Joel Russ only had daughters, the unique way in which this small family business began took on a whole new meaning. Moreover, Joel Russ never closed the store, working seven days a week. However, Joel Russ was not a 'feminist' ahead of his time. For him, getting his daughters into the business was not a matter of persuasion, but a matter of parnosa, or surviving to make a business. Vi nemptmen parnosa was what Joel Russ famously used to say, meaning 'From where do we take our living.'[2]

Russ & Daughters was recently featured on an episode of the TV series Louie and in the theatrical movie Lola Versus.

References[edit]

Notes
  1. ^ Michael Pollak (27 June 2004). "F.Y.I.". New York Times. 
  2. ^ The Soul of a Store. Mark Russ Federman in Gastropolis. Edited by Annie Hauk-Lawson and Jonatha Deutsch. pg. 198. Columbia University Press. New York. 2008
Further reading
  • A fourth-generation business, Russ & Daughters is a reminder of the people that, historically, make this city what it is. You know them, you trust them, and they promise to do right by you.” The New York Times Magazine

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 40°43′21″N 73°59′18″W / 40.722616°N 73.988296°W / 40.722616; -73.988296