Metro Beat

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Greetings to all and I hope this finds everyone well and gearing up for the winter and holiday season.

The past month has seen an abundance of activity around the area, including trade shows, dinners and store openings. Starting the rollout several weeks ago was the opening of the newest Key Food banner in Ozone Park, NY. Store owner Joe Doleh and his wife Amy welcomed their fifth Key Food store into the fold which will be a Key Food Fresh & Natural banner. The 7,000 square foot store had formerly been a Met Food and has been in the neighborhood for the past 12 years. Also, Key Food Stores Co-Op owner Ben Levine held
grand re-openings at his stores at 120 5th Avenue in Brooklyn and Ocean Avenue in Rockville Centre, Long Island. Both stores had been adversely affected by Superstorm Sandy and Ben said that the extensive renovations put into the stores are really helping

The rollout of new and improved Kings Food Markets continued with the coming out parties at the Montclair and Cresskill locations. The Montclair unit offers a brand new soup and olive bar, expanded floral area as well as new and expanded food cases. The opening also witnessed Kings making donations to local charities, including the Salvation Army of Montclair, the Human Needs Pantry and Toni’s Kitchen. Longtime store manager Pete
Gardner will continue to oversee the store. And the Cresskill store, managed by Gabe Corso, re-opened with great fanfare. The outstanding new bakery department with all new equipment and marble topped patissiere greets customers as they enter into a terrific new shopping experience complete with a new soup and mezze/olive bar and fabulous
meat, seafood and produce departments. Well done to the entire team at Kings!

One of the area’s biggest produce distributors made a big move out of the Hunts Point market recently when R Best Produce relocated to Point Washington, Long Island after 32 years in the Bronx. Philip DelPrete, chairman and COO of the company, said his family considered several locations in the Bronx and New Jersey before settling on the
new 70,000 square foot state-ofart warehouse. The site will also house the offices of R Best. We wish them well in their new location.

If you missed the recent WeiserMazars Food & Beverage Forums, you should put it
on your calendars for next year. The big tax and financial advisory firm has been putting on CEO and executive networking forums for several years which were originally
started by Lou Biscotti. Lou’s former firm was acquired by WeiserMazars a couple of
years ago and one of the many practices that they embraced was the Food & Beverage Forums. The firm once again held its Metro NY event at the de Seversky Center on the campus of NYIT on Long Island. Panelists for the evening were Rich Romanoff of
Nebraskaland, restaurateur Marc Forgione and Hap Boening of Boening Brothers. For those who were on hand to hear the panelists speak, it was an enjoyable evening, especially Rich Romanoff’s, take on imported proteins!

WeiserMazars held a second event last month, its inaugural Philadelphia forum, at the Adventure Aquarium in Camden. A good crowd was on hand once again to network and hear panelists Jeff Brown of Brown’s Super Stores, Louis Eni Jr. of Dietz &
Watson and restaurateur Kevin Sbraga. Bringing the whole evening together was my associate and colleague Maria Maggio of Food Trade News, who served as the evening’s moderator and did a stellar job! If you want to be part of any of next year’s events contact Virginia Lestingi at Virginia.lestingi@

Congratulations to Michele Abo on her appointment as director of sales N.A. for Lavazza
USA. Michele previously held senior executive positions with Onion Crunch, Balance Bar and Stella D’Oro and is excited to bring her skill set to Lavazza.

Kudos and best wishes to Mike Beccari a on his promotion to vice president at Omni Food Sales. Mike joined Omni three years ago from Northeast Food Marketing and has been elevated from his previous position as business manager.

I bumped into old friend Tom Racine of Sally Sherman Foods recently who was excited to bring me up to speed with all going on at the big salad and prepared foods company. Tom was placed in the CEO spot a year ago coming from sister company Ace Endico
(a full line foodservice distributor). Tom is a trained CIA chef as well as a top notch sales and marketing executive and was eager to jump into the challenge of bringing Sally Sherman back to its old prominence as the premier salad supplier on the East Coast. Well, a year later it seems as though they are ready to roll. After significant upgrades to the facility and R&D, be on the lookout for new packaging, new items and cutting edge ideas to be ready in plenty of time for the spring/summer selling season.

The Food Industry Alliance (FIA) held its 17th annual Red Carpet Salute gala recently and, once again, retail executives and the vendor community showed up by the hundreds to network and connect. The evening featured special keynote speaker former New York Giants running back OJ Anderson, but more importantly, the evening recognized
Jim Rogers, president and CEO of the FIA, as Jim announced his retirement from the association. I have had the pleasure of knowing Jim throughout his 26 years at the FIA and can tell you he is the consummate gentleman and professional. Jim brought extensive trade association experience from FMI, NRA and the Ohio Council of Retail Merchants to the old New York State Food Merchants Association when he first came to our market. No matter the issue, Jim could always be counted on to handle the multitude of tasks (and personalities) with the utmost of professionalism and compassion. Although he tells us he will stay on through the search for his successor, Jim plans on phasing totally out by March/April 2014. When we learn of the new president we will pass it along. Best wishes in your retirement Jim!

Well, that’s a wrap for now. I hope everyone has safe travels and a wonderful and happy
Thanksgiving, and to all of our Jewish friends a very happy Hanukkah!