It took many sleepless nights and long hours but the Kret family saw their vision come to fruition this summer. The Krets opened their family food market, the Polish Kitchen, located at 602 Glen Cove Ave., Glen Head, on Aug. 11. It’s right across the street from North Shore High School.
“We always kept the end result in mind and it was so worth it,” said Sandra Kret, who works as a cashier at the store. “No matter how many hours you put in, you know that in the end, it’s going to pay off.”
The Polish Kitchen features many foods from Sandra’s home country that includes cold cuts, soft drinks, soup, and candy, which she said are hard to find in N.Y. She described her mother, Jolanta, as the backbone of their business.
“My mom is an amazing cook,” Sandra said. “She was up all night making food from scratch. It’s got to be freshly made and organic because she does not believe in anything else.”
Growing up, Sandra said that all of her family’s meals were homegrown and they rarely went to restaurants. Her family had always dreamed of opening their very own store, but they couldn’t find the right spot. Some places were too small, while others were in locations that weren’t very populated.
“Although it took us some time to find a store, we found the perfect spot,” Sandra said.
Sandra’s family moved from Jaroslaw, Poland to Brooklyn, N.Y. in 2006. They then moved to Glen Head in 2008 and joined their extended family’s food market in Glen Cove. Later that year, Sandra’s family decided to move on in hopes of opening their own store.
“The moment my mother left the store in Glen Cove, people came home with her that day,” Kret said. “Without her, our business would not exist today.”
When her family moved to the U.S., she explained that they held on to many of the values acquired in their home country, including hard work, learning how to do things for themselves, and being appreciative.
“At the same time, you learn to live your life here, you learn to assimilate, and you learn a new life,” Sandra said. “As time goes by, you learn not to miss whatever you had because the moment comes that you realize that you have a lot of better opportunities here. You can do anything and everything here in the Big Apple.”
Seeing how his far his family has come, Sandra’s father, Janusz, is proud of them for everything they have accomplished. He’s most excited to see his wife’s joy.
“It makes me happy to see my wife doing something that she loves,” he said. “She doesn’t want to work for anyone else but herself and her family. It’s our dream to work for our customers and our community.”
Moving forward, the Kret family welcomes all residents to see the variety of food that their store has to offer.
“We want people to feel welcome here and that we’re here for them,” she said. “It’s refreshing to see familiar faces in the community visit our store and for us to share our culture with them. It’s an amazing feeling. The community comes first.”