Metro Beat

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Season’s greetings to all and I hope this finds everyone in the warm glow of the holiday season. It’s getting colder outside but it’s always that special time of year that affords us the opportunity to celebrate and spend quality time with family, friends and loved ones. I hope you all find some time on your schedules to have those opportunities! Because the holidays just wouldn’t be the same without food and drink, and fortunately we are all in that business!!

Congratulations go out to Dennis Hickey of Krasdale Foods who received a big promotion a few months back and did a good job of keeping it under wraps. Dennis joined the White Plains, NY wholesaler about a year and a half ago from White Rose Foods and at the time was exposed to many different job responsibilities by vice chairman Ken Krasne. Utilizing his years of experience from Wakefern, A&P and White Rose, Dennis was a quick study and thus was appointed as vice president of merchandising for Krasdale Foods. Best wishes in your new spot, Den.

Big news came to Bob Cignarella and his team at RDD Associates with word of the appointment of a new line at the big perishables house. Maxi Canada and its line of Yummy Brand products will be represented effective January 1st in the entire Metro NY/NJ market as well as at all of Ahold USA operating divisions by RDD Associates. Yummy is a line of frozen 100 percent all natural chicken products.

It seemed like it was just the other day when I stumbled upon Dean Janeway, sitting in an unfurnished office on his first day on the job at Key Food Stores ( although it’s been eight years), but wow, has he really done a lot in the short time since then. (Especially since taking over the reigns as CEO five years ago). I can’t tell you how many times I have been asked by folks in the industry, “What’s going on at Key Food?” Well, all you have to do is look and see the unbelievable growth in store units as well as the solid team that he has put together. Kudos to Dean, Gino Palummo, George Knobloch, Chet Koby and the entire Staten Island HQ staff as they unveiled the co-op’s 150th store at the beginning of December. In their typical “go big or go home” fashion, it wasn’t the standard Key Food banner store but instead a new banner they rolled out – Urban Market. The store is owned by Colin Xie and Jason Chung and is in the trendy and up and coming Williamsburg section of Brooklyn. You must stop by this store to witness the new concept. There is 16,000 square feet of selling space with spacious aisles in a sleek, industrial décor. It is the 50th new unit that Dean and his team has added to the portfolio since he took over and we can’t wait to see what they have in store for 2014.

We were waiting for an official announcement to come across our desk as we went to press, but in its absence, a reliable little birdy informed us that Luis Tejada of White Rose Foods was named as Goya’s new VP of Direct Sales. The position’s responsibility covers all Goya products sold nationally except for the military and away from home businesses. Luis had been with Goya many years ago and since has worked at a major CPG firm an then at White Rose. He will be missed at “the Rose” but we wish him well in his new responsibilities at Goya and look for the next issue of Food Trade News with his official announcement.

Kudos to Zulema Wiscovitch, Denise Diaz and all at the NSA and yet again another fabulous annual gala. The annual soiree regularly brings together more than 1,500 guests to celebrate the year and network with the “Who’s Who” in the independent and Latino food industry. The evening witnessed Krasdale Foods being recognized as Company of the Year by the NSA for its outstanding partnership to all of the NSA and its members. Also recognized was Key Food store owner Jose Luis Almonte as NSA Member of the year for his ongoing commitment to the association. Congrats to all!

Kudos to Ridgefield, NJ based Toufayan Bakeries, which has formed a partnership with HealthCorps, a nonprofit organization founded by surgeon and TV host Dr. Mehmet Oz. The initiative was formed to teach children about proper nutrition, exercise and mental resiliency . “We whole-heartedly support HealthCorps’ mission to shape a newer, healthier generation,” said Karen Toufayan, VP sales and marketing at Toufayan. “As a family business, helping families find nutritious, delicious ways to enjoy food together, at home and on the go is an inspiration to us every day.” HealthCorps places recent college graduates in high schools in high-need areas across the United States to educate students in health and wellness.

And one of the industry’s good guys, Tom Cormier of Ahold USA, hit a big milestone when he turned the big 5-0 at the beginning of the month. Congrats and happy birthday Tom.

And it was good to see Mike Turner of White Rose Food back on his feet and out in the streets. Mike had been laid up for a few weeks after going through hip replacement surgery (his second!) but seems like he’s back in his groove.

A big tip of the hat to Wakefern Food Corporation as they presented a $1 million dollar donation to the Deborah Heart and LungCenter. For those unfamiliar, Deborah Heart and Lung, based in Browns Mills, NJ, is one of the few health care facilities in the U.S. that does not bill its patients for treatment when insurance falls short or even for those without insurance. Their belief is that it’s important to let patients and their families focus on the healing process in a less stressful environment and thus Deborah relies heavily on donations and sponsorships. Wakefern president and COO Joe Sheridan said, “Deborah is all about what matters most – family. At the heart of our business, we are a company made up of ‘families serving families’ and I think that’s why we’ve had this very long relationship with Deborah over the years. We are proud to share their vision and purpose and to play this small part in making a difference in the lives of those they serve.” And, speaking of Wakefern related happenings, if you haven’t had a chance to stop by the newest Village Supermarket unit in Cedar Knolls, NJ, put it on your destination list. The ShopRite of Greater Morristown on East Hanover Avenue has been doing robust business since opening in mid-November. The unit features a VillageFoodGarden with indoor and outdoor seating, a Lavazza Café coffee bar, a liquor store with craft beers and fine wines, a Celebration Station with cakes and treats, a Patisserie 37, an oyster bar, a fitness shop and – seriously – much more. Kudos to the Sumas family on a spectacular unit!

And for those looking to kick back with industry friends for a family themed weekend, don’t forget to register for the EFRA’s Winter Marketing Seminar. This year’s event will take place at the Villa Roma resort in Callicoon, NY in the Catskills the weekend of February 7–9. For information call Mike Ryan at 973-835-1710 or go to

Well, no matter which holiday you celebrate, again, I would like to wish you all the very best that the Season has to offer for you and your loved ones. Merry Christmas, Happy Kwanza and a very Happy and Healthy New Year and I hope to see you in 2014!