Metro Beat

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Greetings everyone and welcome to the start of the holiday season!

We send congratulations out to Ben Levine and his team at Pick Quick Foods on the opening of their seventh location in Massapequa, Long Island. The store, located at 941 Carmans Road, has undergone a total transformation from its days as a 52,000 square foot stale and sterile Pathmark. The new store has been cut back to 32,000 square feet which is a much more manageable footprint. Gone are the two separate entrance/exit areas which are replaced with a more practical one main entrance. New faux wood panel flooring offers a warm and inviting shopping feel as customers enter the store and are greeted by an expansive produce department offering organic and farm fresh items. The meat department offers an on-site butcher for custom order cuts. The grocery selection features a variety of gluten free items, as well as products from Ireland and Great Britain. A new frozen bakery section was doing a fair share of business on opening day, and the Pick Quick team expects it to be a big hit with the upcoming holiday season. The crown jewel of the store, though, is the deli/bakery department which features a full line of Boar’s Head products and an abundance of prepared foods and as well as a grab-and-go section for added convenience. “We’ve worked so hard to make sure this new Pick Quick Key Food is perfect for the people of Massapequa and its surrounding communities, and we are so very proud of the way it turned out. It was a long time coming together but well worth the time and effort put in.” said Levine. “We can’t wait to serve our shoppers with quality products, convenience and good old fashioned customer service.” Key Food vice president of business development John Durante added, “With six stores that are already valuable members of our supermarket family, we’re excited for Pick Quick Foods, Inc. president/owner Benjamin J. Levine to be adding another location. Pick Quick Foods’ reputation for excellent service and convenient grocery experience is sure to impress the Massapequa community.” Next up for Pick Quick is a Baldwin, Long Island location. The former Pathmark on Grand Avenue is tentatively slated for a mid-2018 opening.

Congratulations to the National Supermarket Association on another tremendous annual gala. This was the 28th annual event for the group and once again brought together more than 1,400 attendees who were dressed to impress at the Grand Hyatt in New York City. The NSA recognized Alex Guzman as the Eligio Pena Member of the Year. Alex joins his father Juan Guzman, a previous NSA Member of the Year recipient, as the only father/son team to be awarded with the honor. Congratulations!!! Also at the gala, Continental Food and Beverage, Inc./Inca Kola USA was feted as the NSA Company of the Year. Company executives Liz Berman and Randy Berman and general manager Julio Coen were on hand to accept the award. It was truly a magnificent evening.

Best wishes and good luck to Angel Fernandez on being named vice president of sales for Cibao Meat Corporation. Angel joins Cibao Meat from New York Produce and has sales and management experience with other local firms that will aid him in his new position.

And good luck to Ken Scher as he jumps to the other side of the desk and joins Associated Supermarket Group (ASG) as executive vice president of business development. Ken was a longtime sales and marketing agent (i.e., broker) for many of the area’s brokerage houses throughout his long tenure in the food industry. He most recently was with Advantage Solutions and is eagerly looking forward to this new chapter in his career.

At the recent National Frozen & Refrigerated Foods Association (NFRA) Convention held in Orlando, FL, the NFRA elected officers and members of the board of directors for 2017-18. Many local frozen and refrigerated members were elected and here is the full slate: John Farmer, Dairy Farmers of America was elected chairman; Dave Jones, Kellogg Co., is chairman-elect; Joe D’Alberto, Acosta Sales & Marketing, is secretary; Ray Tarnowski, Philadelphia Warehouse & Cold Storage, is treasurer; Neil Ritchey, Ajinomoto Windsor, is vice chairman-frozen; and Bob Knodle, H.P. Hood, is vice chairman-refrigerated. Newly elected to the board were Bob Bollbach, RDD Associates; John Arnold, Sargento Foods; Tony Hatok; Giant Eagle; Mark Harvey, Associated Wholesale Grocers; Kathy Hayden, DanoneWave; Jim Motos, Rich’s Consumer Brands; and Ron Slominski, Schwan’s Consumer Brands. Elected for a second term on the board were Dave Howlett, Wakefern Food Corp.; Scott Anderson, Alliance Sales & Marketing; Diana Curtis, Grocery Outlet; Mike Ridenour, Kraft Heinz Food Group; Chris Scheid, Land O’Lakes; and Joe Tuza, T. Marzetti Company.

The Catholic Institute of the Food Industry (CIFI) recently held its annual Man of the Year dinner in memory of John Coppola at the Pierre Hotel in New York City. John passed away on February 14 way too prematurely at the age of 57 and was the director of retail operations and business development at Krasdale Foods. He joined Krasdale in 2014 after a long stint at White Rose Foods. I still remember getting a call from John while I was at the FMI Mid-Winter in Arizona back in 2014. Prior to accepting the position with Krasdale, John was calling a few business friends to get a “lay of the land” about Krasdale, and to see if this was a good move for him. However, right in the middle of the call, John blurted out, “I should have never called you, you’re gonna put this in the paper and I may not even go there!” and hung up. (…????…) It took four or five attempts at calling him back before he finally picked up. After a lengthy conversation, and promising I wouldn’t leak anything out, John realized he would indeed find what would prove to be a welcome new home in the White Plains offices of Krasdale Foods. That was more than evident in the speeches at the CIFI dinner when some of his Krasdale work associates (Dennis Wallin, Gus Lebiak and Frank Boemio) spoke of how he was indeed a perfect fit for Krasdale and how they all wrapped their arms around him and his family. And also speaking highly of their friend and comrade were former White Rose coworkers Joe Fantozzi of Allegiance Retail Services and Jack Zumba, retired. It was a special evening and a nice farewell for a fine man. Well done to all at the CIFI.

Here’s wishing everyone a peaceful and wonderful Thanksgiving with friends and loved ones, and I look forward to hopefully seeing you out in the trade this holiday season! As always you can reach me at 201.250.2217 or