black and white photo of an old Price Chopper store

A Family Legacy of Philanthropy Shapes Price Chopper/Market 32’s Commitment to Community

Price Chopper/Market 32’s commitment to serving and supporting the neuromuscular disease community is undeniable. Through a variety of fundraising campaigns over the last 39 years, they have raised more than $30,750,000 for MDA. The corporation’s dedication to community and philanthropy traces back through generations of the Golub family, entrepreneurs with a passion for helping others. Their unique and long-standing relationship with MDA is rife with history, celebration, and a commitment to enhancing the lives of those living with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and other neuromuscular diseases – a commitment that also honors the life and legacy of Lewis Golub, who passed away from ALS in 2009.

A family history

Sepia tone photograph of Lewis Golub in a suit jacket and tie

Russian immigrant Lewis Golub started the first Central Market in New York.

Price Chopper/Market 23, a chain of supermarkets that now operates under parent company Northeast Grocery, Inc. after a recent merger with Tops Friendly Markets, first began as a small, family-owned grocery dairy store that evolved into a wholesale grocery in Green Island, NY in 1932.  Lewis Golub’s grandfather and namesake, immigrated to upstate New York from Russia and laid roots for his family. With the help of a partner and his two sons, William and Bernard, upstate NY’s first retail supermarket, Central Market was born. The brothers eventually took over the business, creating and expanding the company that would eventually lead to the creation of the Golub Corporation.

William and Bernard raised their own children, including first-cousins Neil and Lewis, and taught them the value of hard work and the importance of community, advocacy, and philanthropy. As Neil and Lewis became the next generation of Golubs to oversee the growing enterprise, these values solidified within the foundation of the corporation and would remain an intrinsic part of the company as it grew and changed ownership over the decades.

Black and white photograph of the first Central Market store

The first Central Market store opened in 1932.

“The Golub family has always believed in supporting the community and has shown its commitment by dedicating time and resources to neighbors, projects, organizations and institutions aimed at sustaining and improving it,” says Pam Cerrone, Director of Community Relations at Price Chopper/Market32. “Neil and Lewis have both been involved in many community activities, from leading and serving on boards of directors and chairing fundraising campaigns to championing causes, and giving of their personal time and resources. Today, Price Chopper/Market 32 has a department dedicated to developing relationships and partnerships that enhance and improve the quality of life in the neighborhoods surrounding our stores, which is reflective of the Golub family’s mindset regarding philanthropy and community involvement. And even though we are now part of a larger combined company, that mindset continues to be the heart of our philosophy and mission of nourishing life.”

One of those community partnerships would prove to span the test of time and impact countless families and individuals in the neuromuscular disease community.

A lasting connection with MDA

Two men stand in suit and ties inside of an office

Neil and Lewis Golub

In the early 1980s, Price Chopper/Market32 Chairman Emeritus Neil Golub, connected with a friend at the local CBS affiliate and expressed a desire to support fundraising efforts for MDA. Neil adopted the role of hosting the MDA Telethon on CBS6, an enormous event in the Capital Region of NY, and began a lifelong commitment to MDA’s cause.

Neil and Lewis extended their passion for MDA into Price Chopper/Market 32 stores across the chain’s 6-state footprint, which began participating in pin-up and round-up fundraising programs at the register.   Their commitment to the cause grew over the years, expanding to include fundraising dinners and auctions, and eventually developed an annual trade partner golf tournament that the company still hosts to this day.

“Over the years, our company has fully embraced the MDA mission and made a commitment to continue to fundraise, raise awareness, and help to find new treatments,” Pam says.

The golf tournament generates hundreds of thousands of dollars each year to support the local MDA ALS Care Center in Albany. When Lewis was diagnosed with ALS in 2008, he received invaluable care and support from the same clinic that he had spent years supporting. The Golub family’s commitment to funding top-of-the-line services for the neuromuscular disease community came full circle and they remain grateful for the support and resources they received during Lewis’s journey with ALS.

A check in table at the Lewis Golub Memorial ALS Golf Classic

The Lew Golub Memorial ALS Golf Classic raises funds to support the MDA ALS Clinic.

Now, the clinic at St. Peter’s ALS Regional Center has been renamed the Lewis Golub MDA/ALS Clinic to honor Lewis’s legacy and memory. The annual golf tournament raised more than $225,000 last year to provide 1/3 of the clinic’s operating budget.

Lewis’s life and legacy

Lewis Golub served many roles in the Golub Corporation, working his way up the chain from store clerk to President, CEO, and Chairman of the Board. The U.S. Army veteran was a renowned philanthropist and food industry visionary with a deep love for his family, antique cars, yachting, playing cards, and serving his community. He was a supporter of the arts, education, and health services and served on a number of local and regional boards. Lewis was dedicated to the growth of his family’s business and played a fundamental role in expanding the enterprise and fostering its commitment to philanthropy.

“Lewis was a visionary business executive,” says his son, Jerry Golub. “He led the company through their greatest time of growth, from the mid-70s into the early 2000s. He was known for his sense of humor and his ability to connect with all different types of people.”

Those connections helped to build one of the most successful supermarket chains in the country and his heart for servitude helped create the lasting culture of goodwill within the company.  Lewis set an example within his family and community, demonstrating the importance of companies giving back to their communities and the power that corporations have to make a positive difference in the lives of others. When he passed away at 78 years old, he left behind a framework of generosity for the future.

A plaque commemorating the life of Lewis Golub at the Lewis Golub MDA ALS Clinic

A plaque at the Lewis Golub MDA/ALS Clinic commemorates his life and legacy.

“It comes down to doing the right thing,” Pam says of the philanthropic commitment that is an intrinsic part of Price Chopper/Market 32, and now Northeast Grocery. “Whether it’s assisting with a community project or local initiative or supporting research and helping to find treatment on a larger scale, the Golub family leads by example, and we endeavor to follow.”

As Price Chopper/Market 32 celebrates 40 years of partnership with MDA, Neil’s advocacy, Lewis’s legacy, the Golub family’s commitment to philanthropy, and the company’s dedication to serving their communities continue to make a meaningful impact on the lives of those living with neuromuscular disease.

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