Metro Beat

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What seemed like a pretty mild winter has turned real bitter these last few weeks. Case in point was Noreaster #1, which really whacked the Hudson Valley, Long Island and northern and central New Jersey real good. And with that in mind comes many tales of the good-hearted people in our industry. Prime example is local operator DeCicco & Sons, who allowed people in the communities they serve in Westchester County, NY to store their refrigerated and frozen foods in its supermarket coolers when thousands of homes remained without power following the massive storm. The company, which operates seven stores in the area, let community residents without power to box or bag their perishables and label them with their name and phone number, and indicate whether they should be refrigerated or frozen. “We’re here to help with any needs the community has,” said Gino Letizia, general manager of the DeCicco & Sons, Brewster, NY store. DeCicco also allowed customers to use the stores’ wi-fi and charge their phones. It is not the first time DeCicco & Sons has offered the cooler and freezer space. The operator has long been known for its close ties with the community and is also a significant supporter of local schools and parent-teacher associations in its communities. During previous storms the company has also offered its services for the benefit of the local communities. DeCicco & Sons also has been a leader in deploying “green” refrigeration technologies that use natural refrigerants to reduce the impact on the environment and reduce power consumption.

“We feel we have an obligation to care for the environment and the communities we serve,” said John DeCicco, president of the company. Well done to all of the DeCiccos and their associates!

Our condolences to John Romagosa and JC Romagosa of Latin Sales & Marketing on the passing of Zulema Romagosa, their wife and mother respectively. Zulema passed away on February 11 after a long battle with ALS. The family requests that any donations in her memory be made to The ALS Association Greater New York Chapter at 42 Broadway, Suite 1724, New York, NY 10004 telephone (212) 619-1400 or www.als-ny.org.

In the spirit of giving back, kudos go out to Key Food Stores and Goya Foods as they teamed up to donate 40,000 pounds of food to City Harvest. In total, Key Food and Goya will be donating a total of 60,000 pounds of food as part of the “Can Do” campaign. City Harvest will distribute the food to 500 community food programs throughout the five boroughs. “We are grateful for Goya’s support of both Key Food and the local community,” says Daniel Kupferberg, Key Food’s specialty/international and beer buyer. “Giving back to those in need is very important to Key Food and its members because we understand the importance of supporting and honoring the communities that have helped shape us as a company.” As part of Goya Gives, a national initiative committed to promoting and supporting the overall well-being of local communities, the “Can Do” campaign focuses on bringing hope to families in need by donating about 4 ounces of Goya products for every qualifying purchase made in stores. The program which launched in September 2017, will continue to run through May 2018 and is expected to bring donations to 60,000 pounds locally and 600,000 pounds nationally. As part of the same campaign, the big Jersey City, NJ based company also donated 100,000 pounds of food to the Community FoodBank of New Jersey. The donation is part of the first installment of the 1.5 million pounds of food (1.25 million meals) raised over the course of six months that will go to Feeding America and will be distributed to families and individuals throughout the United States. A team of Goya employees together with New Jersey Devil employees and players got together in mid-March for a day of volunteering to sort and pack part of the 100,000 pounds of donated food at the Community FoodBank of New Jersey. Great job Goya!

North Shore Farms, the Glen Cove, Long Island based operator of six supermarkets, plans to expand beyond its friendly Long Island environs with the news that the company will add two units outside of Nassau and Suffolk and also will add one more on the Island. The Long Island unit will open this Spring in Hauppauge in a former Waldbaum’s location. The two other units will also open in spots formerly occupied by A&P-owned bankruptcy properties. One will open in the Whitestone section of Queens and the other will be in Mamaroneck in Westchester County in the space of a former A&P. George Tsiatis of North Shore Farms said, “We will seek communities where we can open a store that matches the shopping experience that our shoppers have come to expect and that serve our mission, while not overextending out company.”

Congratulations to new National Supermarket Association (NSA) executive director Jose Geraldo as he assumed responsibilities for the association in January. Jose comes to the NSA with a background in executive sales and marketing roles at Pepsico/Frito Lay, as well as owning two independent supermarkets in the Metro New York/New Jersey area. President of the board of directors of the NSA Rudy Fuertes said, “I am confident that with Jose’s strong leadership skills, his corporate experience and entrepreneurial outlook, he will be a great asset in assisting the NSA in strengthening our member’s position as productive businesses in the communities we serve.”

Well I hope everyone survives the last couple of weeks with Spring coming in like a lion. I look forward to shedding a few layers of outerwear and seeing you all out at the various upcoming industry events. As always you can reach me at 201-250-2217 or kgallagher@best-met.com.