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Bakery swamped by Harvey loses Kosher license after 70 years

May 18, 2019
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In this Aug. 17, 2018, photo Three Brothers Bakery owners Bobby and Janice Jucker stand for a portrait at their South Braeswood Boulevard location in Houston. (Michael Ciaglo/Houston Chronicle via AP)
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In this Aug. 17, 2018, photo Three Brothers Bakery owners Bobby and Janice Jucker stand for a portrait at their South Braeswood Boulevard location in Houston. (Michael Ciaglo/Houston Chronicle via AP)

HOUSTON (AP) — A Houston bakery has lost its decades-long Kosher certification as it struggles to recover financially after being swamped by Hurricane Harvey.

The Three Brothers Bakery, which has three locations, was ready to celebrate its 70th anniversary this month when the owners were informed that the certification was being revoked, the Houston Chronicle reported.

Janice and Bobby Jucker had to take out federal disaster loans after the August 2017 storm forced the store to shut down for 17 days. Since Three Brothers was a Kosher bakery, the store was also mandated to close during the eight days of Passover.

A year ago, the loans remained in a grace period. But, this year the payments were due.

In April, the Juckers decided to stay open during Passover and try to pay off their loans. About nine days after the holiday ended, they received the news from the Houston Kashruth Association that they had lost their Kosher certification.

“The HKA is grateful for our long-standing relationship with the Jucker family, and while we understand that theirs was a difficult business decision, it does preclude us from continuing the bakery’s Kosher certification,” according to a written statement from the HKA.

The bakery was created by three brothers who arrived in America after surviving the Holocaust. Bobby, who is a fifth-generation baker, and his family have been Kosher for nearly 200 years, since they started in Poland, Janice Jucker said.

She said Harvey affected their business in ways far beyond the physical damage.

“There wasn’t enough insurance coverage. Flood insurance covers what’s in your building, so if there’s anything outside your building, (it is not covered). It doesn’t cover lost revenues,” Jucker said. “These tend to be million-dollar events for us. It was three months of payroll that we spent on Harvey recovery.”

Jucker said she is disappointed that a Kosher bakery with a rich history lost that status, but it was a matter of survival.

“You can be a permanently closed Kosher bakery or you can be a bakery that makes Jewish-style baked goods that’s open. Those were the two options,” she said.

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Information from: Houston Chronicle, http://www.houstonchronicle.com

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