Metro Beat

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Greetings all and welcome to the autumn season. The calendar has been very full, with trade shows, dinners, banquets, conferences and just about every other type of industry affair. It’s been terrific seeing many of you out at these activities and hopefully we can catch up over the next few months as we bring the year to a close and the events just keep coming.

One of the big annual happenings that occurs in our area this time of year is the New York City Marathon. Well, one of our industry’s own is ready to take on the 26.2 mile race for the second year in a row. Ron Onorato, president and COO at Inserra Supermarkets and his son Ronald Onorato, director of finance at L’Oreal, have been diligently training and are prepared to do battle with the five boroughs on November 4. Once again, the duo will be running to raise money for Tackle Kids Cancer which provides research and patient care at the Children’s Cancer Institute at Hackensack Meridian Health, which is the only hospital in New Jersey (and one of 30 nationally) that performs CAR-T Immunotherapy and spearheads new trials dedicated to pediatric neuro-oncology. Pediatric cancer is the number one cause of death by disease among children in the U.S. and only 4 percent of cancer research dollars are allocated to pediatric cancer. Approximately 43 children per day are diagnosed with cancer and one in five do not survive. Ron asks if we would consider joining him and his son as they run to end childhood cancer. He told us that every dollar makes a difference and for those looking to help go to their sponsorship page at http://www.hackensackumcfoundation.org/goto/ronandronald2018nycmarathon

Good luck Ron and Ronald!!

Wakefern Food Corporation recently held its ShopRite Showcase 2018 at the New Jersey Convention and Expo Center in Edison. The immense two-day show, which is held every other year, focuses on perishable food and education as well as retail technology. One of the many highlights of the showcase is the re-creation of an actual ShopRite supermarket’s perishables department as a customer would experience it. Informative signage with sales and merchandising tips and product information are all part of the experience, and many of the store level personnel I spoke with, loved the information they gleaned from the event. Terrific job as always by the staff at Wakefern.

We were really shocked and saddened to learn that Ellen Compesi passed away suddenly on October 1 at the age of 59. Ellen had been the regional sales manager for G.L. Mezzetta and prior to that had worked at Snyder’s-Lance as a sales manager. Many knew Ellen from her years prior to Snyder’s-Lance working at Diamond Foods and prior to that with area brokers including JOH. Ellen was very involved with the Network of Executive Women (NEW) Metro chapter and mentored many young women in the food industry. She is survived by her husband James and his children Ann Marie and Jamie. May her soul rest in eternal peace.

A couple of Foodtown openings occurred over the last few weeks in the Metro area. One was a grand opening and the other was a grand re-opening. The grand opening happened in the East Harlem area of Manhattan and is a gorgeous 13,000 square foot site owned and operated by Anthony Reynoso. The site is a ground floor retail space of a new apartment complex and really ups the ante for services and department offerings for a supermarket in the area. A full service deli, meat/butcher department, fresh produce, seafood, juice bar and coffee station, catering and free parking are just some of the enticements being offered by the new supermarket. Anthony has also learned the retail side of the business well from his parents Ray and Blanca, who also runs three independent supermarkets. The grand re-opening happened in the Monmouth county New Jersey town of Red Bank. Food Circus Supermarkets invested heavily in significant upgrades to one of their flagship locations. I had the opportunity to walk the store with Food Circus’ president and CEO Louis Scaduto. From the moment you walk into the store you notice that the reno was money well spent.

A new floral department greets you at the entrance of the store and leads into a produce department with a “wow” factor. All the floors, lighting and signage of the store were replaced with upgrades and new refrigerated cases were installed. One of the bigger improvements came in the seafood department. Lou told us, “We recognized that our seafood needed a big upgrade. We held consumer focus groups and that consistently came back as the one department that needed to be addressed.” The department has fresh daily catch brought in from the Jersey Shore and is headed up by Mike Jala and Chris Danelson. The response has been phenomenal right out of the gate and customers are lining up at the cases.

The entire perimeter of the store has been touched and the old “tired” feel to the store which has been around since 1977 is reaping the benefits. Best wishes!

Congratulations to an old friend, Kevin Glynn, who was recently promoted to vice president of sales at

The Gourmet Factory. The Gourmet Factory produces olive oils and Mediterranean foods and is mostly recognized for its Capatriti brand. Kevin was most recently the Northeast region sales manager and will now spearhead the company’s push into other markets. And kudos to David Rojo, who has rejoined Bauducco Foods as regional manager for the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic areas. David was an area manager with Bauducco but left for a position with Reckitt-Benckiser last year. Apparently, the siren’s call of selling Panettone and baked goods was too much for David and he rejoined the company last month. Good luck to both.

Good things continue to happen for Angelo Scialfa and his Fox Run Group as they have signed an exclusive multimedia agreement with Monmouth University’s athletic department. Fox Run is a sales representation firm which generates revenue through sponsorships and advertising and specializes in sports, entertainment and events. I’ve known Ang for many years and it’s been nice to see him grow his business into one of the premier agencies representing Universities and Colleges while developing unique promotions for his clients. Anyone interested in reaching Angelo can call him at 609.259.1910.

That’s it for now. There are multiple events happening over the next few weeks, so hopefully I will see some of you out in the field. If not, you can always reach me at 201.250.2217 or kgallagher@best-met.com.