Metro Beat

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Happy New Year to everyone and I hope 2018 brings you all health, happiness and success! The year got off to a good start for Bob Cignarella and his team at RDD Associates when Stonyfield Farms announced that RDD Associates will represent their products across the Metro New York/New Jersey market starting in mid-January. Product lines will include all Stonyfield and Brown Cow items. Congrats!

A sparkling new Market Fresh supermarket opened in Wood-Ridge, NJ on Rossie Square at the site of the former short-lived Milk and Honey market. The store is supplied by Krasdale Foods and is owned by Tommy Othman. It has a nice blend of international items to serve the diverse community and should prove to be a success.

We were saddened to learn of two industry veterans who passed away in early January. William Noto, formerly of Wakefern Food Corporation, passed away on January 8 at the age of 76. Bill joined Wakefern in 1968 and retired after 35 years of service in 2003. He was the vice president of business development and real estate. After his retirement, Bill remained active in the industry by providing consulting services to Wakefern and its members. In hearing from various folks that knew him well, the common thread was what a great and caring man Bill was. He is survived by his wife Marianna and his sons Thomas and William and their spouses and his grandchildren. The family requests that any contributions in his memory be made to the Matheny School, 65 Highland Ave., PO Box 339, Peapack, NJ 07977. Rest in peace. Another passing that touched a little closer to home for me was Marty Lev who died on January 13 at the age of 88 in Deerfield Beach, FL. Marty started his career with Sun Ray Drugs in Philadelphia and progressed to ShopRite stores and then for a time at Loblaws in Canada. He was at the forefront of the general merchandise and health and beauty care categories of the supermarket industry, and that reputation brought him back to the United States with Edwards, First National and Stop & Shop. He spent the last 14 years of his career working at Key Food Stores, which is where I got to know him. Marty was a boundless source of energy and knowledge and was a terrific mentor to many young industry professionals. He is survived by wife Etta and his children Jodi Swartz (partner Ben Greenberg), Yvonne (Robert) Fisher, Heidi (Fred) Stedner and Tamie (James) Palatine. After his retirement he dedicated many hours to the Jackson Food Pantry and the Jackson Public Library. The family requests that any contributions in his memory be made to the Jackson Food Pantry, P.O. Box 1042, Jackson, NJ 08527. May his soul rest in peace.

Congratulations to the New York Apple Association (NYAA) on being named Business of the Year by the New York State Agricultural Society (NYSAS). The award is in recognition of quality, leadership and innovation in production agriculture and agribusiness in New York state. NYAA president Cynthia Haskins accepted the award for the association.

The parent company of Wise Snacks, Arca Continental, acquired Deep River Snacks in late November 2017. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed. “When I started Deep River Snacks 15 years ago, I wanted to prove that a business could be both successful and philanthropic,” said Jim Goldberg, founder and chief executive officer of Deep River Snacks. “Through our mantra, ‘Because We Give a Chip’, we’ve created the best tasting snacks using real, non-GMO ingredients.” Arca Continental will add Deep River Snacks to its portfolio of U.S. snack brands, including Wise Snacks, Si Senor and La Abeja. Arca is also the parent company of Bokados snacks in Mexico and Inalecsa snacks in Ecuador. “This acquisition broadens the process of diversification and complementarity of the snacks portfolio for the U.S. consumer with innovative products and in differentiated segments, allowing us to better serve our customers and enhance the development of our brands,” said Francisco Garza Egloff, CEO of Arca Continental in a statement.

Western Beef has implemented at its Bronx, NY store a customized promotions engine from Self Point that enables customers to shop online and check out quickly and securely. Since the new shopping experience launched last month, the discount food retailer has seen a 10 percent higher conversion rate month over month. “With real-time metrics, we help Western Beef to be more responsive to their shoppers’ preferences. The results have been phenomenal, with return visitors increasing by 30 percent since the beginning of the program.” said Mike Haaf, executive chairman of the board at Brooklyn, NY-based Self Point. Self Point created a custom merchandising tool and enhanced search function which allows shoppers to view multiple subcategories of products. “By providing a mobile-friendly, online shopping experience, we’re able to deliver more relevant messages and offers,” noted Western Beef president and CEO Peter Castellana. Shoppers are benefiting from the easy, fast service, while feeling even more connected with us.” Western Beef plans to expand the program to its Manhattan stores in the near future.

The Long Island retail landscape continues to remain competitive as Ocean State Job Lot, a Rhode Island-based closeout retailer, has opened a new store in East Northport. The 28,000 square foot store at 3083 Jericho Turnpike was formerly occupied by a Bob’s Store. It is the third Ocean State Job Lot on Long Island, following others in Centereach and North Babylon. Job Lot donated a pallet of food to local food pantry Trinity Episcopal Church Food Pantry in Northport and also donated $500 to the Town of Huntington Animal Shelter at the grand opening. “We’re proud to expand our business further into New York and open a new location East Northport,” said David Sarlitto, executive director of Ocean State Job Lot and Ocean State Job Lot Charitable Foundation.

We heard from Ken Downey at the end of the year, and he told us that things are going real well in his new endeavor at The Fresh Market as director of bakery. Ken, the longtime director of bakery at Kings Food Markets who holds a wealth of national awards and recognitions from his accomplishments in the bakery industry is now bringing that exceptionalism to The Fresh Market.

Don’t forget to mark your calendars for a nice charitable event. The Foundation for Fighting Blindness (FFB), Vision for the Future dinner is scheduled for March 1 at Terrace on the Park, Flushing Meadows Park, NY. Board member and trustee of FFB Jason Ferreira of Ferreira Foodtown told us that this year’s honoree will be John Derderian, president and chief operating officer at Allegiance Retail Services. For more information about the event contact Katie Van Benschoten at 212.244.1470 or

Well, here’s hoping to see you out in the field in the coming months and again, all the best to everyone in 2018. As always, please feel free to contact me at or 201.250.2217.