When Aron Streit started making matzo in 1916, unleavened bread was a serious growth business, at least on Manhattan's Lower East Side. By the late 1920s, Streit could afford to build a special machine that mixed, kneaded and cooked dough. A decade later, his family added the cotton gin of kosher food -- an automated conveyor belt with a Rube Goldberg-esque basket system that moved the matzo to a packaging area on a higher floor. They even opened a retail store next door that allowed customers to watch it in action.
Visiting the Streit's Matzos factory became such a tradition for Jews in the neighborhood that many refused to buy any other brand -- and so did their children and so on. And partly because of this loyalty, the company hasn't had to significantly upgrade its technology since World War II. "Nothing changes," Aron Yagoda, Streit's great-grandson, says. "As long as they don't change Passover, we have built-in sales."