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Kramer & Sons explores how one small, independent butcher shop in Washington DC served as a centerpiece for a new immigrant family to learn respect, dignity, and the importance of community. In an era of disappearing small, multicultural businesses Kramer & Sons tells a relatable and universal story about entrepreneurship, family and the American dream, helping to preserve the legacy of family-run small businesses and their cultural role in the community.
Isadore Kramer, the great-grandfather of directors/producers Brandon & Lance Kramer, got his start in Washington DC's Union Market — originally selling fruit and vegetables from a pushcart after he arrived to DC from Russia in the early 20th century. Isadore eventually purchased 515 Morse Street NE and opened a meat & produce store, Kramer & Sons, where the Kramer's grandfather, Samuel Kramer worked until the store closed in 1997. Along with his four brothers — Harry, Sidney, Alvin and Oscar — who also worked at the market at various points, all of the Kramer boys learned countless lessons from their father that they would carry for their entire lives.
Once one of the largest markets of its kind in the country, Northeast DC’s Union Market remains a unique multicultural institution in the District, full of rich history and directly situated at the intersection of an array of changing economic and social tides in the city. Businesses today continue to be operated by a diverse multitude of family proprietors, running African, Caribbean, European and Asian shops. While the demographics have changed over the years, the importance of the Market as a place for families of many cultures to establish their lives in the District has always remained constant.
Through the story of the Kramer family, the new documentary Kramer & Sons explores how the Market has served as a hub of economic opportunity for immigrants over the years and as an incubator for hundreds of family-run food businesses in the District.