Join The Conversation With Mishpacha's Weekly Newsletter

Keep it Cheap

Ruti Kepler

They started out selling milk and bread out of a truck. Who would have thought the company that sprang up from that early-morning venture would net them 140 million shekels? But Aryeh Baum has no desire to retire. Instead, he’s creating more and more stores for budget-conscious shoppers to fill up their carts and get out in a hurry.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Aryeh Baum, joint owner of the Osher Ad chain and a trailblazer in Israel’s retail supermarket industry, asks to see the list of questions. He reads rapidly: “ ‘What’s my background?’ Not interesting. ‘How did I go from being an avreich in Ashdod to the owner of a huge supermarket chain?’ Not interesting. ‘What did I do before that?’ Not interesting. So tell me again, why did you want to interview me?” Baum — enthusing, evading, explaining, smoking, drinking coffee, accelerating from zero to a hundred in a fraction of a second — is the visionary half of the two-man team that changed the way chareidim (and all other budget-conscious families) shop. He praises his partner, Avrum Moishe Margulis, as the one who focuses on the day-to-day details of the business. “He’s one of those men of action who knows how to turn the wildest dreams into reality. He’s a cannonball,” Baum effuses of his partner and long-time friend. That’s the combination that got them started one day in 1995. Baum, then a 26-year-old Gerrer kollel yungerman living in Ashdod, turned to his beis medrash colleague, 25-year-old Avrum Moishe, with an idea: “What do you say we open up a little business, selling bread and milk early in the mornings — making life easier for our neighbors and making some cash on the side?” Baum envisioned the truck; Margulis ordered it. The next morning, Margulis rose at five to accept the order of bread and milk and the sale began. Baum and Margulis continued to operate their joint venture, but Reb Aryeh — who easily talks about his ADHD diagnosis and how he manages it — soon realized that the technical end wasn’t his forte. When he worked the cash register, he could never remember how much milk cost or how much to charge for the bread. “Ask your mother how much milk costs,” he said to one girl. “Tell me, how much did you pay Avrum Moishe yesterday for the bread?” he tried to verify with another customer. “Aryeh,” friends tell him, “take a little Ritalin and you’ll settle down.” Thanks but no thanks, he says. “Why should I take it? It destroys my creativity and limits my imagination.”  He’s still not good with prices or other small, annoying details, but that hasn’t stopped him from creating a multimillion dollar business. “Even when I’m in an Osher Ad store, I’m never sure what’s a cucumber and what’s a zucchini,” he admits. Back to the bread-and-milk sale, which soon morphed into a neighborhood mini-market, followed by a grocery in nearby Kiryat Malachi — which sucked in their investment and left the young avreichim in the red.  “When you fail, there are two options,” saysBaum “The first is to throw up your hands in despair and close up shop. But then you waste your ‘tuition’ — your payment in the university of life. And so we chose the second option, to analyze and understand what had happened, why we’d gone under, and try again. 

To read the rest of this story, please buy this issue of Mishpacha or sign up for a weekly subscription

Share this page with a friend. Fill in the information below, and we'll email your friend a link to this page on your behalf.

Your name
Your email address
You friend's name
Your friend's email address
Please type the characters you see in the image into the box provided.

The Fortunes of War
Rabbi Moshe Grylak We’re still feeling the fallout of the First World War
Some Lessons, But Few Portents
Yonoson Rosenblum What the midterms tell us about 2020
Vote of Confidence
Eyan Kobre Why I tuned in to the liberal radio station
5 out of 10
Rabbi Dovid Bashevkin Top 5 Moments of the Kinus
Day in the Life
Rachel Bachrach Chaim White of KC Kosher Co-op
When Less is More
Rabbi Ron Yitzchok Eisenman How a good edit enhances a manuscript
It’s My Job
Jacob L. Freedman “Will you force me to take meds?”
They’re Still Playing My Song?
Riki Goldstein Yitzy Bald’s Yerav Na
Yisroel Werdyger Can’t Stop Singing
Riki Goldstein Ahrele Samet’s Loi Luni
Double Chords of Hope
Riki Goldstein You never know how far your music can go
Will Dedi Have the Last Laugh?
Dovid N. Golding Dedi and Ding go way back
Battle of the Budge
Faigy Peritzman Using stubbornness to grow in ruchniyus
The Challenging Child
Sarah Chana Radcliffe Strategies for raising the difficult child
Bucking the Trend
Sara Eisemann If I skip sem, will I get a good shidduch?
The Musician: Part 1
D. Himy, M.S. CCC-SLP and Zivia Reischer "If she can't read she'll be handicapped for life!"