HASBROUCK HEIGHTS, NJ -- Amid the many changes to Hasbrouck Heights over the years, Henry’s Delicatessen remained a staple in town for decades, going through several owners. It was a place to buy sandwiches, snacks, coffee, candy, and many other items. Only one block down from the high school, many students bought lunch at Henry’s back in the days when the high school students could leave the building for lunch.
Saturday, June 23, however, marked the deli’s last day of business, as owners John and Marge Studer began their retirement. Not only will the deli be missed by the customers, but so will the years-long hospitality of John and Marge.
Customers who stopped by on the store’s last day to say goodbye, and to order that last sandwich, found a festive atmosphere. It was decorated, cookies were available, and there was a decorated cake.
The Studers' daughters had decorated the store the night before.The couple knew nothing about the party until that morning.
“This is a definite surprise,” Marge said. “Trust me.”
That last day of business turned out to be one of their busiest.
John and Marge started running the deli in 1991. Their daughter Michele Donovan, a first-grade teacher at Corpus Christi School, worked there.
“I used to work here in the summers, when Mom would go away with my Dad,” she said. “So it’s been in the family for a long time.”
Sean Raney, the Studers’ grandson, also spent a lot of time in the deli.
“I was six years old when my grandparents bought the place,” he said. “I used to come up here in the summers and work the counter with them when I was little, and help clean the shelves, and sweep the floors and everything. Everybody in the family pitched in. I came here after school during high school and ran the register for them.”
Raney says that his grandparents’ retirement is bittersweet.
“Everybody’s going to miss them, the family’s going to miss it, the town’ll miss it. But they’ve earned their retirement. They’ve worked hard, and they’re ready to hang up the aprons and enjoy their time together.”
Marge agrees about their deserving the rest “especially him,” she says. “He’s really earned it.”
When asked if she has any plans, she said, “No, none at all, just to relax…join the seniors. I’m going to go to the senior picnic.”
John and Marge first met in Jersey City and were married in St. Al’s Church. They lived in Jersey City and Howell Township before moving to Hasbrouck Heights in the early 1970s.
John recalls that several owners had run the deli before he and Marge bought it.
“There were two original Henrys,” he said. “Two people owned it after that; it was a couple, and we bought it from them.”
Hasbrouck Heights resident Jeff Rubino recalled going there in high school.
“I used to come here when I was in high school, and when I was a senior, I used to stop in here for lunch and get a sandwich to go,” he said. “I feel sad that it’s going, but I hope they enjoy their retirement. They worked hard all their lives.”
John looks upon his time as a deli owner fondly.
“A lot of wonderful people,” he said. “A lot of good customers. Good town; really nice people. Everybody’s friendly; very nice. It worked out well.”
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