Metro Beat

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Well it has certainly been good to feel the warmth of the sun again and watch everyone come out a little bit more than they have been over this brutal Northeast winter/spring season. With all of the dinners and golf outings on the food industry agenda, I’m sure I’ll bump into most of you in the coming month or so and I can’t wait to catch up with all of you.

Kings Food Markets held a grand re-opening of its Ridgewood, NJ location which has been serving the upscale Bergen county community for 38 years. By all admissions, the renovation was long overdue and the Kings staff didn’t disappoint with the end results. According to store manager Vince Gramuglia, the new Ridgewood Kings removed two aisles of grocery to make room for an expanded perishables area and a new wine and liquor department. Amazingly, the wine and liquor prices are very competitive and should be a big hit, since there are ample nearby BYOB restaurant establishments in town. Paul Guarino, who was hired by Kings as wine and spirits manager, is a trained chef who also owned and operated a local beverage wholesaler in northern New Jersey, so he brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the position. Kings will be unveiling a renovation to its Garfield store at the end of May, and then will take a break during the summer before coming back with a vengeance in the fall with a full slate of re-openings.

Allegiance Retail Services added another unit to its portfolio with the opening of Farmtastic Market in Whippany, NJ. The site on Route 10 was a former Pathmark and owner Roberto Laracca was thrilled to finally be able to open the doors to the public. “We had to jump through many hoops and obstacles to get this location up and running,” said Laracca, “but now that it is here it is well worth the wait.” The store is 40,000 square feet and the entrance brings you right into a world of perishables. Produce, deli, prepared foods, bakery, meat and seafood take up a considerable portion of the store and the departments literally jump right into the customer’s lap upon entering. There is also a coffee bar with WiFi, a juice bar and a full service pharmacy. Roberto was joined at the opening by the entire Allegiance Retail Services team, his father Victor ( a long time operator) and his sister Danielle.

Congratulations to Richard Ball on his confirmation as New York State commissioner of the Department of Agriculture and Markets. Richard had been the interim commissioner after Darrel Aubertine stepped down in October 2013 and was officially confirmed by the New York State Senate and notified by Governor Andrew Cuomo. Richard has been a life long farmer and most recently was the owner and operator of Schohaire Valley Farms in Schohaire, NY.

And congrats also to Bill Lebron who has rejoined Goya Foods as a key account manager. Bill most recently was with Mission Foods and prior to that spent time with Coca-Cola.

Stop & Shop Supermarkets recently celebrated the grand opening of a new store in Pompton Plains, NJ located at 500 Route 23 at Jackson Avenue. The town had been without a supermarket for the past two years and now the new Stop & Shop will offer customers quality perishable and non-perishable departments, convenience options, technology tools to make shopping easy and thousands of low prices every day. The 65,000 square foot store will feature departments in full-service meat and seafood, produce, bakery, deli, cheese shop, sushi, natural and organics. There’s an expanded Nature’s Promise area dedicated to natural and organic products as well as a PNC Bank is located in the store for customer convenience. “We’re looking forward to provide approximately 150 new jobs in Pequannock Township and support the residents and organizations in the community,” said Don Sussman, Stop & Shop New York Metro Division president. “With the summer just around the corner we will continue to offer customers in the area the service, selection and value they expect from us.”

The property at Plaza 23 had been vacant due to several severe storms and flooding issues, and the new Stop & Shop will open its doors with a range of flood-prevention measures including four foot flood doors at every doorway; subterranean pumps to collect water from the soil below the building and any leakage through walls and floors; water-resistant paint on the outside that won’t let moisture through the exterior of the building and a new above-level mechanical room with a 4-foot raised flooring to house generators in case of power outage. The new and improved Pompton location also has numerous sustainable features to conserve energy and reduce impact on the environment. Local resident Bill Diffin will manage the store and most recently was the Sparta, NJ store manager. In celebration of the opening in Stop & Shop donated $1,000 each to the Boys & Girls Club of Pequannock and the Newbridge Services and to the First Reformed Church of Pompton Plains.