grocery stores

South Jersey Grocery Chain Patriarch Ravitz Dies of Coronavirus

The second-generation grocer, whose family business traced its roots to North Philadelphia, died Tuesday, his family said

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Steve Ravitz, who expanded the family grocery store business started by his father 60 years ago in North Philadelphia, died Tuesday, his son told reporters.

Ravitz, 72, died following a battle with COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, according to published reports.

He is being remembered as a man who cared deeply about his customers, which included thousands who shopped at his family-owned six supermarkets across South Jersey.

"Steve will be best remembered for philanthropic community non-profit organization Literally millions of dollars," New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said Thursday. “We know that his legacy will be carried on by his family. God bless you, Steve."

The purpose of the business, according to its website, was simple: "To care deeply about people, helping them to eat well and be happy."

Ravitz retired a few years ago after five decades working for and then running Ravitz Family Markets, which included five ShopRites in Cherry Hill, Marlton and Mount Laurel, and Price Rite in Camden.

He took over the business from his father, Stanley, who opened the family's first grocery store at Susquehanna Avenue and North Broad Street in 1960. Eight years later, the family opened a grocery store at Kings Highway North and Chapel Avenue in Cherry Hill.

Ravitz and his family were known in the greater Cherry Hill region for their charitable giving over the years. As the coronavirus pandemic began to affect the local economy, Rabbi Emeritus Steven Lindemann of Temple Beth Sholom in Cherry Hill told a local newspaper about the call he received in March from Ravitz. Lindemann said Ravitz, who served as a past president of the synogogue, wanted to make sure Beth Sholom's charity was able to give.

“He said, ‘Listen, people are going to be hurting,’” Lindemann told the Burlington County Times. “He said, ‘I want you to be sure to use the Act of Kindness Fund to help people. And if you need more, let me know.’”

“There are many people who will give when called. There are not many people who call to give. Steve was that person," the rabbi told the paper.

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