NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — After 90 years on the Lower East Side, Streit’s Matzos is moving out.

“Emotionally, it’s very very sad,” fifth generation owner Aaron Gross told WCBS 880’s Peter Haskell. “It’s a magical place, when you open these doors now you’re stepping back in time.”

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The Streit’s factory is the oldest in the nation still churning out the unleavened flatbread that’s essential for Jewish holidays. About 2.5 million pounds of matzos were baked for Passover, which begins Friday, and distributed worldwide.

The bakery first opened during World War I, serving struggling Jewish immigrants. By 1925, the business moved to Rivington Street, where the operation remains housed in four six-story tenements.

“When you’re going from building to building every floor is different heights. So it’s kind of like shoots and ladders. You’re going up. You’re going down,” Gross said.

Streit’s is a smartly run family business with annual sales topping $20 million on about 5 million pounds of matzos sold around the country and worldwide.

Demand is growing for matzos even among non-Jews who enjoy them as a healthy snack baked with no fat or artificial additives, and the old factory simply cannot keep up, Gross said.

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“I’m fifth generation, and if we want this to last another five generations, we need to make sure that we strengthen the company to remain relevant in a very competitive market,” said Gross, the great-great-grandson of Aron Streit, who started the business after emigrating from Austria.

By leaving, the company will nearly double its capacity and grow their business.

“We’re doing this move to solidify strengths for future generations,” Gross said. “Our ovens put out about 1,700 to 1,800 pounds an hour. We plan on having ovens that do 3,000…we’ll be able to do crackers, we’ll be able to do gluten-free products, we’ll be able to really expand the line.”

The operation will close in May.

The company will choose from among three new sites in the New York area.

The company’s employees are all being offered jobs at the new location, where Streit’s will preserve its motto — “the taste of a memory.”

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