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Greetings all and I hope this column finds everyone enjoying the summer and the beautiful weather we have had thus far in the Northeast.

Bozzuto’s once again held its annual Merchandising Marketplace show at the Foxwoods Resort and Casino in Mashantucket, CT and while it should go without saying, once again it was a top-shelf affair. It is truly impressive that with every passing show and/or event that the Bozzuto’s team puts together, they continually raise the bar each and every time. Even though the summer version of the Bozzuto’s shows is supposed to be the “lower key” affair compared to the spring gala, Michael Bozzuto, Steve Heggelke, George Motel and the entire Bozzuto’s team doesn’t miss a beat when it comes to customer and vendor appreciation. From their vendor golf outing which kicks off the three-day event to the exhibit floor, food, and dinner reception. It makes for one of the more memorable events you will attend in our industry. And special credit once again to Steve Heggelke for organizing the Bozzuto’s associates and dishing out more than 250 raffle prizes in just seven minutes! If you do anything else, arrive the night before the Merchandising Marketplace just to watch the Steve pull this feat off. Truly spectacular. Kudos to all involved!

I’m looking forward to seeing the second Stew Leonard’s open on Long Island in East Meadow at the end of this month. It will be a 70,000 square foot store which was formerly a Pathmark on Hempstead Turnpike. “Our first store in Farmingdale has been such a great success, said president and CEO Stew Leonard Jr. “We are already sending trucks out there, so from an economic standpoint it is better for us to buy in larger quantities and send it out to Long Island.” I’ll let you know how it fares in next month’s notes.

Don’t forget to mark your calendars for the 40 Annual Adam J. Bozzuto Memorial Charity Classic on September 18. The event takes place on two courses – the Farms Country Club in Wallingford, CT and the Wallingford Country Club. Dinner is held afterward at the Aqua Turf club in Plantsville, CT. Event chair, Steve Capanna of Bozzuto’s tells us that it has never rained at the AJB classic, so come out and make a day of it while supporting a variety of area charities. For info go to http://ajb.bozzutos.com.

New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Douglas H. Fisher visited one of Jack Shakoor’s four Jack’s Super Foodtown locations, this one in Bloomfield, NJ to highlight the state’s bounty of fresh produce items, many of which are currently at the peak of their season.

“Jersey Fresh season is in full swing, and our farmers are continuing to provide outstanding product to consumers, grown close to where they live and picked at the peak of freshness,” Fisher said in the store. “The partnership with Foodtown supermarkets plays an important role in helping us deliver outstanding quality fruits and vegetables to consumers.” The produce department was filled with big, beautiful displays of New Jersey produce, with signage placed on the shelves and hanging from the ceiling, proclaiming that local, “Jersey Fresh” produce was there for shoppers to enjoy.

“We are proud to have a partnership with New Jersey famers who provide our stores with great fresh fruit and vegetables. We believe the trend of customers wanting to know where their food is grown, and that they want it from a local source, will continue,” said Vic Savanello, senior director of produce and floral for Allegiance Retail Services, LLC.

“Along with our customers, we understand the importance of supporting the local economy by sourcing our food from farmers and growers right here in New Jersey. Partnering with Jersey Fresh is a perfect match between us, our customers and area farmers,” added Dean Holmquist, vice president, of perishables. “Foodtown has really grasped the Jersey Fresh Program. Our operators really do a phenomenal job with all aspects of Jersey Fresh.”

Kudos to the good folks at Goya Foods for their donation of 10,000 pounds of food to Catholic Charities of Boston in recognition of the 50th anniversary of the Puerto Rican Festival of Massachusetts. “We’re honored to be able to donate much-needed food to Catholic Charities in recognition of the festival’s 50th anniversary and their efforts in bringing the rich culture of Puerto Rico to the community,” said Rafael Toro, director of public relations for Goya Foods. “We always strive to do our part in helping others who need it the most and encourage others to do the same.” The food will go directly to Catholic Charities’ food pantries in the South End of Boston, Somerville and Dorchester, MA, serving close to 600 people daily. The donation is part of the Goya Gives campaign, a national initiative committed to supporting local communities through social causes. Goya has donated millions of pounds of food to organizations worldwide and continues to support over 250 organizations, events and cultural institutions. And Goya also donated another 10,000 pounds of food to the NYC Catholic Charities, and had a multitude of volunteers on hand in celebration of the Dominican Day Parade. Well done to all at Goya!…. #goyagives

The National Frozen & Refrigerated Foods Association (NFRA) will hold its annual convention Oct 7-10 in Orlando, FL. At the event, recognition for the coveted Golden Penguin awards will be announced and a peek behind the curtain shows us that several area companies will be feted for exemplary efforts in support of “March is Frozen Food” month. In the category of community involvement, Acme Markets will be a recipient. For overall marketing campaigns-manufacturers, Ateeco, Inc. (Mrs. T’s Pierogies), B&G Foods and Cape Cod Select Premium Cranberries all will be winners. In the overall marketing campaigns-retailer- Acme Markets and Safeway Eastern Division will earn trophies. In the social media campaign category – Acme Markets and Price Chopper/Market 32. In traditional marketing – B&G Foods and Price Chopper/Market 32 will take home gold. Congratulations to all!

A tip of the hat to ShopRite and PriceRite as the Connecticut Food Bank honored and celebrated the retailer recently for its 20-year partnership which has resulted in 8.4 million meals to Connecticut residents. The Food Bank honored store owners and their teams with a celebration lunch at their Wallingford headquarters and distribution center. CT Food Bank CEO Bernie Beaudreau said, “ShopRite and PriceRite donations to the CT Food Bank since 1988 have amounted to more than 1.22 million pounds of food and $4.3 million in funding. These donations have provided 8.4 million meals for residents facing hunger.”

And while not on the same scale of the ShopRite donation, a nod of the cap to two relatively new and growing brands for their donations to the Community Food Bank of New Jersey. Hoboken Farms and Banza donated more than 7,000 pounds of sauce and 6,000 pounds of chickpea pasta respectively, which amounted to 50,000 servings of low-sodium, gluten free, high protein food for people in need in New Jersey. Good job guys!

And finally, the Key Food Fall/Winter Selling show on September 13 has a change in location. The new site will be the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Uniondale, Long Island. Please mark your calendars accordingly. For more information contact Wayne Kovacs at 718.370.4200 or waynek@keyfoods.com.

Enjoy what’s left of your summer and I’m sure I will see you out at the many functions in the coming months. As always, you can reach me at 201.250.2217 or kgallagher@best-met.com.