Metro Beat

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Could it be that Spring has finally arrived to our area?? Let’s hope so, because it sure has been good to feel a little sunshine and warmth again. Hopefully we’ve seen the last of the rash of cancelled and rescheduled appointments due to Mother Nature. Although as I write this there was a ground covering of snow again last night!

The New Jersey Food Council’s annual Night of Distinction regularly brings out the crowds, but this year’s event at the Palace at SomersetPark brought out record numbers for NJFC president Linda Doherty and the association. Celebrating the association’s 45th anniversary, with a “Broadway show” theme, more than 750 were on hand to see the Food Council honor Joe Sheridan of Wakefern, John Ruane of Ahold USA and Joe Sofia of Wegmans. The evening recognizes honorees for their contributions to advance the mission of the Food Council as well as their achievements in the food industry. Well deserved to all of the recipients.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Joe McCarthy of Bimbo Bakeries for the difficult time he and his family have endured recently. As we mentioned a few months ago, Joe lost his dad, industry icon Joe McCarthy Sr. and in February his mother Jean passed away. Unfortunately the family was unable to bury her until recently, as one of Joe’s older brothers had a massive aortic heart attack while tending to his mother’s funeral arrangements. Fortunately, he is finally on the mend. The family asks that any donations in Jean’s memory be made to Avow Hospice, 1095 Whippoorwill Lane, Naples, FL34104. May her soul rest in peace.

The Network of Executive Women (NEW) NY Metro chapter held a networking event at the Liberty House restaurant in Jersey City, NJ. A rare nice weather day brought out a crowd to hear Kathy Russello of Ahold USA, Toby Johnson of Pepsi and Julie Kruger of Google lead a panel discussion of “Creating your best self at work.” The NEW events always offer a nice setting and opportunity to network and check out our trade calendars for the next NEW event.

Kudos to the folks at C&S Wholesale Grocers on the launch of “Best Wishes” program. The program is designed to help needy families in communities where the C&S house brand Best Yet products are sold. Customers are able to purchase a $5 grocery bag containing basic staples such as tuna, mac & cheese, instant potatoes, canned veggies and soups. The retailer is able to then donate the purchases to a local food bank which will provide food for those in need, make the consumer feel good about a good deed, create positive awareness in the community and provide sales for the retailer. A win-win for all. The program was piloted last fall with select retailers in the Northeast and west coast markets and was such a success that C&S is rolling it our nationally.

Key Food held a grand reopening of its location at 87-15 Rockaway Beach Boulevard in Rockaway Beach, NY. The location which is owned by Rafael Diaz and his sister Evelyn Vargas had been closed since Hurricane Sandy and the community was eager to embrace the “Open for Business” sign again. “We are so proud of store owner and long-time Key Food member, Rafael Diaz,” says Key Foods chief operating officer George Knobloch. “Since Superstorm Sandy he has not only diligently worked on reopening this store, but also focused on creating an even better shopping experience for his customers.” This store has not only been rebuilt, but completely renovated inside and out. State-of-the-art equipment, as well as energy efficient lighting systems, have been installed in a conscious effort to go green. The store also offers an ATM, gift cards, lotto, recycling center for bottle returns and delivery service. “I have been a part of this neighborhood for 23 years,” said Diaz. “Rebuilding and coming back to serve this wonderful neighborhood has been my priority since the devastation hit and I am so happy to finally open my doors and give this community an even better shopping experience than before.”

Speaking of Key Food, a big welcome aboard to John Durante, who will assume the title of VP of business development. John is an industry veteran having recently served as VP-sales at CBA Industries, a business that touches nearly every food retailer in the Northeast through their circulation business and which will serve him and Key Food well in his endeavors.