Metro Beat

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Happy New Year! I trust it is okay to still offer those sentiments although this will not reach you until the middle of the month. Well, I can’t believe that it has been one year since I first penned this column and I want to thank the hundreds of you who have reached out via email, phone, text, etc. and – believe it or not, even good old snail mail – with your well wishes. I would have never thought that as a kid whose first job at the age of 11 was delivering newspapers on Long Island, I would still be involved in the media and communications biz, helping put together the finest regional publications of their kind in the country. Thanks to all for your support!

Bogopa Service Corporation opened a new Food Bazaar last month on Northern Boulevard in Long Island City, NY.  The spectacular 70,000 square foot location was a former Pathmark site and dazzled all of the attendees who were on hand at the ribbon cutting ceremony. Aisles of space are devoted to international and mainstream groceries representing every corner of the world, a full-service fish market and custom meat cutting department are on site to serve the multi-cultural neighborhood. And you can’t miss the “Bogopa Farm” as you enter the establishment which offers fresh produce of all types in a vast and open market concept area. Bogopa president Spencer An and his staff are to be congratulated on the terrific location! Look now for a continued stream of redesigns and updates to the current list of Food Bazaars in the market as Spencer and his team, along with an assist from new supply house Bozzuto’s, as Food Bazaar gains market share in their trading area.

Kudos to Mitch DiMatteo and his team at Inspired Foods on a successful first year of business. Mitch and his gang toasted the holidays with a soiree at their Ocean Twp., NJ offices with customers and principals on hand to mingle. Good luck in year two and in the future!

We heard that Dale Biles was named EVP-sales and business development for Barry’s Gourmet Brownies. Dale brings a wealth of expertise to the job from his stints at Rich Foods, Best Brands, Lawrence Foods.

Whole Foods opened its newest location in Brooklyn, NY at 3rd Avenue & 3rd Street in mid-December. The long anticipated 56,000 square foot unit had been delayed for a long time by snags in the approval process, site remediation and construction, but finally had the big unveiling. “This is something special,” said Whole Foods spokesman Michael Sinatra. “We really wanted Brooklyn to feel like this was their store.” The store has a 20,000 square foot, glass-enclosed roof greenhouse that will supply veggies and greens to the store’s produce selection, and a rooftop beer hall and restaurant. There will also be an in-house ramen chef, a pizza station with a wood-fired oven, a made-to-order juice bar, and a knife sharpening station. The store is also a clean energy marvel. Whole Foods claims that the structure is 60 percent more efficient than the building code requires, making it one of the most efficient supermarkets in the country. To achieve this, a multitude of technologies were utilized including a heat and power system that produces electricity, heating and cooling.

Roland Food Corp has hired James Wagner as its new CEO. Charles Scheidt, who had served as chairman and CEO, will remain as chairman. James joins the company from Chefs Warehouse where he served in a variety of posts, most recently as COO.