Metro Beat

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I was saddened and surprised to learn that all around good guy and friend, Santo Sacca, passed away on April 24 at his home on the Jersey shore after suffering a heart attack. Although he had “retired” in 2010, Santo was still visible around the industry as he maintained his friendships and connections with his good nature and generosity. He will be missed by many and any donations in his memory can be made to the Mazie Staas/Survivors of the Triangle, PO Box 773, Cologne, NJ 08213 or C.O.P.S., PO Box 3199, Camdentown, MO 65020. May his soul rest in peace.

Congratulations to Len Recchione on being named East Coast regional manager for Kahiki Foods. Len had run regions and zones for Red Gold, MOM Brands and Kraft prior to coming to Kahiki, and tells us he is truly excited for the opportunity to grow the line of frozen Asian dinners and specialty foods up and down the eastern seaboard…

Well, Hurricane Sandy may have postponed the Network of Executive Women-Metro NY chapter event set to be held way back in November, but the rescheduled evening on April 16 brought nearly 500 attendees out to the Liberty House in Jersey City, NJ to network and hear a panel discussion with food industry presidents Joe Sheridan of Wakefern, Tanya Domier of Advantage Sales & Marketing and Brian Driscoll of Diamond Foods, Inc. The trio shared experiences and their wisdom with the overflow crowd, covering topics ranging from customer engagement, nurturing relationships professionally and personally to creating positive and productive environments. It was a well-paced discussion and a terrific evening and all at the NEW chapter should be proud of their efforts and the event. And speaking of the local chapter, Cheryl Williams, VP of marketing at Wakefern. announced she is stepping down as programming chair for the Metro NY Chapter but is not disappearing from the group at all. She will still relish the opportunities to mentor and coach many of the young women getting involved with the group and will be involved as long as she can. Kudos to all.

Well like we stated earlier, it has been a brutally cold spring but we were fortunate to witness other signs that outdoor entertaining and warmer times are ahead as I was given a tour of the vastly new and improved Sally Sherman Foods facility in Mt. Vernon, NY. The company is a division of UFS Industries and is being run by Tom Racine. I have had the pleasure of knowing Tom for many years from his expertise in the foodservice industry (he ran sales and operations at Ace Endico and is a Culinary Institute of America graduate). Tom and his team have been hard at work renovating, overhauling and improving the entire processing plant as well as redesigning packaging, and creating a full line of new and improved salads and entrees. It has been a few years since former leader Mike Endico passed away, and I’m confident in the belief that with Tom at the helm and his team at his side, Sally Sherman will be roaring back as the leader in the category. Good luck!

And finally, a congratulations and best wishes to Barry Kahn of Food Scene on the sale of his company to Advantage Waypoint LLC. Advantage Waypoint is a national foodservice sales and marketing agency which focuses on adding and delivering value to the evolving foodservice segment of the industry and in-store opportunities. Barry had successfully run the preeminent bakery brokerage in the Northeast for over 30 years and will stay around to help transition and work with the new company and Cindy Olsen will now run the Colts Neck, NJ office. Mazel Tov, Barry.

That’s it for now and let’s hope Mother Nature cranks up the thermostat, and I’ll see you out and about! You can reach me at 201-250-2217 or kgallagher@best-met.com