|by Bernie Blotner
Shefshick’s Kosher Meat Market was started in Chelsea, MA. Gittel Rigoff Shefshick took over the store in the 1920’s when the owner told her he was going to close the business. A widow with 4 children, Gittel (who could not read or write) needed to buy the store or be out of work. She had come from Russia with her husband Besha, who died in Chelsea during the flu epidemic of 1918. Three of her children - Aleck, Israel (Izzy) and Minnie worked in the store.
The family opened the “summer branch” of the business in Old Orchard Beach, Maine in the early 1930’s. Someone told Izzy that there might be a great opportunity for a kosher meat market in OOB to serve families with summer places and hotels with kosher dining rooms. They rented the first building ( “the old building”) from the Harrisburg family until the Harrisburgs said they no longer wanted to rent out the property.
The Shefshicks purchased the property at 47 East Grand Ave and continued the summer business in the “old” building until the summer of 1949. At the end of the summer they razed the building and built the one that stands on the property today. Construction was done by Gittel’s brother Kalman Rigoff with help from family members. The first floor of the “new” building housed Shefshick’s Kosher Meat Market and the F & L Market (grocery store operated by Irving Feder and Henry Levine of Portland). The second floor was the living quarters for the family that included 8 bedrooms, 2 kitchens, 2 bathrooms and a living room.
In 1960 Feder and Levine ceased operating the grocery store and the Shefshick family took over under the name Star Food Center. With the changing demographics, the family closed the business(es) in 1963 and rented out the first floor until the building was sold in 1975. The original store in Chelsea, MA was sold in the late 1970’s.
Marilyn Shefshick Segal has maintained a summer home in OOB, and the Shefshick family continues to gather annually around the corner from the building at the foot of Cleaves St during the last week in July (except during pandemics). .