Metro Beat

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Will this winter in the Northeast ever go away??? I’m all for a run on our stores when the media frenzy reports on blizzard like conditions and looming snow storms with accumulations as big as your house, but seriously, I’m about done with having to replace rims on my car for the fifth consecutive year because of potholes and the damage they can inflict. I know the weather has helped some of my retail friends because of all the “weather hysteria” and I am happy for them, but I think we all can agree that it’s time to put the shovels and snow blowers away and start merchandising spring and warm weather goods.

I had the chance to attend the Foundation Fighting Blindness’ “Una Vision Para El Futuro” (Vision for the Future) visionary award dinner held at Terrace on the Park in Flushing Meadows, NY. The dinner, is in its third installment and gets bigger every year. This year’s Visionary award recipient was Michael Stolarz, president and COO of Allegiance Retail Services/Foodtown, and the event’s chairman and driving force for the third year was Jason Ferreira of Ferreira Foodtown. Jason and his beautiful wife Jennifer know the effects of blindness all too well as their three year old son JJ has a rare genetic disease (LCA) which causes severe loss of vision at birth. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house, as Jen addressed the crowd and thanked everyone for their efforts in trying to “help a mom achieve her dream of seeing her child see.” And, Stolarz must still have some “juice” in the industry as more than 600 tickets were sold for the evening. Kudos have to go out to the entire Allegiance staff as nearly 500 people were in attendance, including all of the Allegiance members. Because of that dedication, $466,000 was raised for research into preventions, treatments and cures for blinding retinal degenerative diseases and over the last three years, the Vision for the Future dinners have raised over $1.1 million for the foundation’s sight-saving research.

Word came from our friends at King Kullen that the retailer would open its fifth Wild by Nature store later this year at a site previously occupied by a King Kullen conventional store. The 22,000 square foot store in West Islip, Long Island, is expected to open in late summer or early fall, in a portion of a site that had housed a King Kullen which was closed recently. “We are very excited to be opening our first south shore location in mid-Suffolk County,” Wild by Nature co-president Joe Brown said. “We’ve had many requests for a store in the area and we feel this location will be ideal. West Islip residents and their neighbors in the surrounding communities will be able to enjoy the same fresh, healthy foods and environmentally sound products as shoppers at our other four locations.”

Congratulations to Linda Doherty of the New Jersey Food Council (NJFC) as she was presented with the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) 2013 Excellence in Government Affairs Award. The award was presented at the NJFC’s annual membership meeting held at the Molly Pitcher Inn in Red Bank, NJ and recognized in part, Linda’s tireless efforts on behalf of her members and her leadership in policy issues for the retail and grocery industry. Also at the meeting, Judy Spires, CEO of Kings Food Markets, was elected as the next chair of NJFC, succeeding Phil Scaduto, VP of Food Circus Supermarkets. The location added a bit of “newness” to the event and, despite the poor weather, a sizeable crowd was on hand to enjoy the networking.

RDD Associates welcomed Bob Angie to its staff in January. Bob brings a wealth of industry talent and knowledge to RDD from his years at the Boerner Company and White Rose. He will be a business manager and account manager in RDD’s frozen department.