Metro Beat

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Welcome to the 35th annual Food Trade News market study issue! As most of you are familiar with, these projects are a real undertaking which require months of research and compiling of data. This year we are proud to be able to add the entire metro New York/New Jersey market to the study and I want to personally thank all of the customers, distributors, vendors and friends for your assistance in assembling this wealth of information. Just as important, I am fortunate to be working with a great team here at Best-Met Publishing Company. Their collective expertise in organizing a project of this magnitude has amazed me. While my previous 25 plus years at Modern Grocer enabled me to put together similar projects, believe me when I tell you that what you are holding in your hands will surpass any previous market study compiled for the Northeast food market and, more specifically, the metro New York marketing area. I thoroughly enjoyed the process of putting this expansive project together and it was a terrific team effort with the assistance of our VP and editorial director Terri Maloney, director of sales and marketing Karen Fernandez, VP and general manager Maria Maggio, our office manager and data accumulator Beth Pripstein and certainly our publisher Jeff Metzger, who all pulled together in the same direction! Enjoy the reading and we hope you find it useful.

WeiserMazers LLP held its inaugural Food & Beverage Forum-CEO Best Practice Summit at the Pleasantdale Chateau in West Orange, NJ with special guest speakers Judy Spires of Kings Food Market (AG Supermarket Holdings), Bob Unanue of Goya and Bob Tillis of Imperial Bag & Paper. For those of you who have never attended an event at the Pleasantdale Chateau, you should put it on your list of “got to go to” places as it is a magnificent private facility that is worth the “price of admission.” Kudos to Lou Biscotti, Howard Dorman and Virginia Lestingi and the entire staff at WeiserMazers for bringing a really classy event to New Jersey. Lou had started the event 10 years ago on Long Island with his former firm, Biscotti, Toback & Partners (which was acquired by WeiserMazars), and it quickly became a wonderful top-to-top networking event that brings together key executives in the food industry. The Long Island event still occurs every fall and will happen once again on the campus of NY Institute of Technology at the de Seversky Mansion.

I recently ran into old friend Cary Crane of Apple & Eve fame and he was excited to share with me information about a new product they have hitting the shelves. WaterFruits is a new way for parents to get their kids to drink more water, or as Cary tells it, “Healthy Hydration!” It’s made with real fruit juice and coconut water with nothing artificial in it at all. Naturally fruit sweetened and no high fructose corn syrup, it will come in three flavors. Good luck to the gang at Apple & Eve on the launch!

The Key Food bandwagon kept rolling on through the months of May and June with the additions of several new locations. I had the pleasure of visiting some of the newer units and came away very impressed with the flair and hard work put into all of the new markets. The Shehadeh brothers – Wallid, Ziad, Sammy and David – unveiled two of the four stores they own in Brooklyn. All of the four stores were previously Associated Supermarkets and with the transition over to Key Food and Key Food Fresh banners, the family pumped significant time, effort and money into upgrading the locations. These former Canarsie High School football standouts have brought that same athletic enthusiasm and drive into their stores and I’m looking forward to seeing the two new grand openings later in the summer. The Key Food staff and executives, including Dean Janeway, Chet Koby, Gino Palummo and George Knobloch were out in force at the grand opening of the Bay Street store in Staten Island, right near the new SI Ferry terminal owned by Mike Said. Mike and his brothers and family members built the 10,000 square foot store from the ground up in an area that was in desperate need of a supermarket. Mike told us that he was happy and excited about joining the Key Food family with his marquee store which will be managed by Anthony Leonardelli. And capping off a busy month for Key Food were two stores reopening in Long Beach, Long Island which had been devastated by Superstorm Sandy. The stores, which had been Associateds, were reopened on June 13 capping off a busy month for the big co-operative. Key Food VP of business development Gino Palummo tells us that the rollout of more openings will continue throughout the summer as well as the balance of 2013, and, as we learn of the openings, we will pass them along.