Who knows why some of us wind up where we do….
As an introduction, my name is Kevin Gallagher and many of you may know me from my years at Modern Grocer. Some may even remember me from my first gig in the industry peddling paper goods for the old Scott Paper Company. Yes, I have been around quite some time and my fondness and attachment to the food industry goes even further back than that.
I would have never thought that from my days as a youth playing “army” with friends and family in an old deserted Bohack supermarket in Massapequa, Long Island, that I would still be “playing” in the aisles of supermarkets around the region, albeit in a significantly different way.
Many changes have occurred since those days. Many banners that we grew up with, like Grand Union, Hills, Shopwell, the aforementioned Bohack, as well as others, are no longer in existence. Trade associations have come and gone; how many of you out there are former members of Knights of the Grip, GMR, EDDA, Double “F” Sales Representatives, National Candy Club, NFBA or West Washington Market Men’s Club, to name just a few. I don’t even want to get into how many brokerage companies have been bought, sold, merged, rolled-up or gone bankrupt over the years. And we can all reflect back on the many different options of distributors and warehouses for the different categories of the industry that dotted the landscape which also met a fate similar to that of brokers. Well, like some of those just mentioned, I have recently undergone notable changes. I am writing this as my first column to the industry, from my new responsibilities at Food Trade News and Food World.
I am not going to lie to you. The notion of not writing this as “Mr. Modern Grocer” was hard for me at first. That was where my heart was, where I thought I would always be, and where I would finish my career.
I had first come across that industry publication while as a sales rep for Scott Paper. Like most of you can probably relate, the paper was (in a restroom) at a Met Food in Queens, NY when I first read it and realized how valuable trade publications can be to those involved in the industry. After that first read-through I signed up for a subscription with little thought that a few short years later I would be running the publication and thoroughly enjoying every moment of it.
Fast forward 26 years and unfortunately, the end of my relationship with Modern Grocer was a bittersweet one. I will not bore you with the details right now, but the past two years literally caused me to put my passion and drive for my work and career on autopilot while trying to rectify and correct the backroom BS of a partnership and all that is associated with it. Suffice it to say though that I am sincerely glad to be back in the game with the support of a great team at Best-Met Publishing Company.
For those longtime readers of Modern Grocer, I thank you for your years of readership and support. Moving forward, I truly believe you will find in short order that Food Trade News will more than fill the void that was left by Modern Grocer as well as truly demonstrate what a leading trade publication can offer in its market coverage and reporting.
I have had the opportunity to work in this industry for over 28 years, and yet most of the time it really feels as though it has been 28 weeks. The landscape has certainly changed, but that is the beauty of what we do. Looking out at the same mundane scenery everyday would quickly become monotonous. However, the changing landscape requires and demands our ability to adapt with forward thinking, which can lead to our ability to survive and thrive in those conditions. This Metro NY/NJ and Northeast market is still as vibrant and as unique as any that can be found in the U.S. and still offers opportunities for those who are willing to work it.
Thankfully I now have that chance again. A chance for a fresh start. A chance to re-engage with the industry and people that I enjoy interacting with on a daily basis.
And for that, a big thank you, Jeff.
I won’t complain, because I really enjoy what I do. Being in the food business has been as enjoyable a career as I could have desired. While it’s true we all have some bad days, the overwhelming amount of times have been enjoyable due to the people, incidents and characters all involved within the boundaries of this industry.
I look forward to the growth and expansion of Food Trade News into the Metro NY/NJ market and assisting Jeff Metzger and the entire Best-Met team in growing our business in other areas as well. As always, I welcome your comments and feedback and please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me at 201-250-2217.
I look forward to seeing you all again in the very near future.