Metro Beat

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We know we are entering the fall season, not because the kids are all heading back to school and the weather is getting cooler, but rather because the fall/winter selling shows are kicking into high gear. Several area shows were held recently and all did a terrific job of bringing out buyers, vendors and operators to mingle and network deals and programs for the coming holiday season. Two of the big area wholesalers and one customer held their winter/fall selling shows recently (see this issue for pictorial coverage) as well as one of the Hispanic trade association’s continuing efforts into the show arena. White Rose, Krasdale Foods, Key Food and the National Supermarket Association all put their best foot forward in presenting show deals and pizazz for everyone attending. Each added their own unique flavor and twist to their respective target audiences and was worth the visit for anyone attending. Well done all!

My sincere condolences go out to Joe McCarthy of Bimbo Bakeries USA on the passing of his dad Joseph H. McCarthy Jr., former executive vice president and chief operating officer of A&P, who passed away on August 20 at the age of 91. Big Joe began his career in the food industry as a store manager with Finast in New England and rose through the various ranks of operations and merchandising to become senior vice president. He joined the Grand Union Co. from 1977 to 1981 as regional vice president, and later was promoted to the position of the senior vice president. In 1981 McCarthy joined A&P as senior vice president of the Metro Group. He was subsequently named executive vice president and COO for the U.S. and Canada. He retired from A&P in 1990 but was regularly seen around the various area golf courses with a smile on his face and always a story to go with it. He is survived by his wife of 66 years, Jean (Ryan) of Naples, FL, five children, six grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. Joe and his family request that in lieu of flowers, donations in his dad’s name can be made to Francis Ouimet Scholarship Fund at www.ouimet.org.

Kudos to Linda Doherty, president and CEO of the NJFC on being honored by the New Jersey Weights and Measures Association, Inc. as their 2013 Person of the Year at their annual conference. Each year the membership of the New Jersey Weights and Measures Association selects a person who has made a significant impact on weights and measures public policy and collaborates in the spirit of cooperation with agency officials. Linda was chosen as Person of the Year based on her efforts in working with the association to ensure a fair and equitable marketplace and equal protection for consumers. Congrats Linda!

Speedy recovery wishes to Joe Fantozzi of White Rose Foods. Nothing serious, but Joe’s been hopping around most of the summer on a torn Achilles tendon and finally decided to have it checked out and confirmed what he sort of knew all along. Even on one leg, Joe’s as tough as they come and hasn’t missed a step (pardon the pun). He continues to steer the White Rose ship through rough waters and is optimistic for the future.

It was a big month around the offices of Allegiance Retail Services, LLC with the addition of six new Foodtown banners to the group. The Ferreira family came aboard with the conversion of their five stores to the Foodtown banner. Three stores are located in the borough of Queens and two in NassauCounty, Long Island. The Ferreira family has a reputation for excellent customer service and strong emphasis on perishable products. “We are excited to convert all of our stores to the well-known and trusted Foodtown banner. By joining Allegiance, we are better positioned to provide a more competitively priced store and an overall better shopping experience to our customers,” states Jason Ferreira. Also joining the Foodtown group was the Mujalli family with the opening of a newly constructed supermarket in Astoria, Queens situated at 34-14 Steinway Street. It is a family affair as brothers Moe and Nasri Mujalli put time and effort into a jewel of a 6,000 square foot selling masterpiece complete with a full prep kitchen for gourmet food offerings. States Moe Mujalli, “The strong merchandising and marketing programs Foodtown offers will allow us to meet the diverse needs of this vibrant community, and I look forward to servicing this neighborhood with a premium supermarket for many years to come.”

“Having the Ferreira Family and Mujalli Family- both long term operators in the New York City marketplace – join Allegiance is truly exciting. We are proud that two well-known and successful operators have recognized the professional services Allegiance provides to assist them to grow their business,” said Michael Stolarz, president and COO of Allegiance Retail Services, LLC.

David Maniaci, chairman and CEO of Allegiance added, “It is wonderful to welcome six new Foodtowns to the Allegiance co-op and continue our growth of high quality operators in New York. We are honored by the confidence that the Ferreira and Mujalli families have in the expertise of the Allegiance team, and we look forward to their success.”

Hats off to all at Wakefern for their continuing support of high school athletic programs in New Jersey. Six programs will receive the 2013 ShopRite Cup, presented jointly by ShopRite stores and the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA). This year’s recipients include: Kingsway Regional, VillaWalshAcademy, Metuchen, Millburn, ChristianBrothersAcademy and Haddonfield Memorial. To be eligible for the cup, schools must earn ShopRite Cup points and finish in the top four places for their group’s state championship competition in 32 NJSIAA-sanctioned sports during the 2012-13 school year. The cup also rewards bonus points for sportsmanship. “Participation in team sports is such an important part of a young person’s life,” said ShopRite spokeswoman Karen Meleta. “ShopRite is honored to recognize these athletes, their commitment to their sport and their dedication to excellence.”

EA Berg has expanded into the New England market with the acquisition of Northeastern Sale Solutions (NESS) of Needham, MA. With the acquisition, EA Berg will now offer coverage from Virginia to Maine. and the new division will be known as EA Berg Associates-New England. Mike Mosto will head up the division which will move to new headquarters in Andover, MA.

A new Met Fresh was opened in Bay Ridge Brooklyn by the Hamdan brothers – Omar, Ali, Sam and Sonny. The store is a spectacular result of a five month effort of combining three adjacent small storefronts into a showpiece 8,000 square foot selling marvel. Floor to ceiling front windows let the light in to a high end retail unit that really hits its mark in this higher demographic end section of Brooklyn. The Hamdan brothers also own a MetropolitanCity market on the other side of Bay Ridge which was recently voted Bay Ridge’s best supermarket.

And before we end for this month a happy 15th anniversary to Bob Cignarella, owner and CEO of RDD Associates and his entire team at the Premium Perishables sales and marketing agency. Bob started RDD in 1998 with the purchase of CMC Foods (a small dairy-deli broker) and immediately started to gain lines and recognition for RDD’s performance and execution in all perishable food categories. As solid and consistent as RDD has been through these past 15 years, Bob tells us that his team is ready and prepared for the next big step to continue their business growth. Utilizing a mission statement of “Perishables Expertly Merchandised,” RDD has expanded its fresh produce division, Business Insights & Analytics and overhauled their website to touch on just a few items. Go to www.rddassociates.com to see the website for yourself. Congrats Bob and everyone at RDD!

That’s it for this month, see you all out and about in the trade and, as always, you can reach me at kgallagher@best-met.com or 201.250.2217.