Metro Beats

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Season Greetings to all and I hope this finds everyone enjoying all that the season has to offer!

Big congratulations go out to Jim Dorey on being named president of Price Rite Marketplace, a unit of Wakefern Food Corporation, Elizabeth, NJ. Jim, who succeeds Neil Duffy who retired in October, is eager to push forward with the company’s new rebranded Price Rite Marketplace to all 65 units in 2018. The remodeled store includes a brighter, revitalized ambiance with new signage, a modern, whitewashed wood backdrop and additional offerings, such as the Sweet Spot dessert case. Additionally, Wakefern’s new Wholesome Pantry line of organic and clean-label items and Certified Angus Beef and Perdue’s No Antibiotics Ever Chicken, and a new “Meals to Go” section, will be in all of the units. “We are pleased to officially announce the rebranding of our stores to Price Rite Marketplace with the unveiling of this fresh and fun concept at our Secane, PA store,” said Dorey. “Our company was built on the philosophy that customers should not have to sacrifice quality to save on price, and we look forward to continuing that promise and staying true to our core values with the Price Rite Marketplace experience, the next step forward for our company.” Jim joined Wakefern in 2004 and has risen through the ranks and proven to be a more than capable executive that I’m sure will succeed.

“Jim has consistently demonstrated the leadership traits and vision to position Price Rite Marketplace for success even in the face of major market changes, competitive challenges and a changing business landscape,” said Joe Sheridan, president and chief operating officer of Wakefern. “It’s an exciting time for Price Rite as we refresh our stores with new décor and private label products, and Jim will help lead the company in this next step forward.” Best wishes, Jim!

A new supermarket has opened in Ridgewood, NY right on the Brooklyn-Queens border and promises to be a huge success as it hits its stride with the locals. Billy’s Marketplace opened softly during the summer and has been steadily fine tuning and “getting the kinks out” on one of the better inner-city supermarket establishments to date. Owned and operated by WR Management Group, William Rodriguez and his brothers Nene, Robert and Jimmy have built a spectacular store. 25,000 square feet offering a plethora of high-end departments that will surely appeal to the surrounding neighborhoods. A fish market, deli, expansive produce, bakery, huge prepared foods, coffee shop & juice bar and a craft beer & wine bar really bring the shopping experience to a new level for the five boroughs. “We believe that your weekly shopping experience should be something you look forward to,” said William Rodriguez. “We hope and feel that Billy’s Marketplace will meet those needs.” Flat screen TVs adorn every end cap and family pictures and local historical photos grace the walls of the establishment. But perhaps the real shining star is the individual who runs the store on a day-to-day basis. Kelvin Rodriguez (Robert’s son) is the general manager of the store, and he brings a fresh outlook to urban retailing. Quite simply he’s “on his game” and I look forward to seeing him leave his mark on this store and future locations. Good luck, Uncle Billy’s.

The holiday season brings out the best in our industry as many ensure that those who do not have much, do so for the holidays. That said, kudos to America’s Food Basket (AFB) as the growing co-operative donated 800 turkeys to five area shelters dedicated to helping women, children and families in need. The Center for the Elimination of Violence in the Family based in Brooklyn, Restful Nights Adult Homeless Shelter in Queens, St. Mary’s Center for Women & Children in Dorchester, MA, Hope Through Care Family Shelter in Clifton, NJ and Mary Brennan Inn in Hempstead, NY. All of the shelters are in real tough areas which AFB serves and it really shows their spirit and generosity to their neighbors. Well done AFB!

Also in the holiday spirit, Key Food partnered with the Brooklyn Nets to host two Thanksgiving events for families in need. “With the holiday season upon us, we recognize the importance of coming together and helping those in need,” says integrated marketing and PR manager Michele Gissi. “As the Official Supermarket of the Brooklyn Nets, we are excited to be able to leverage our partnership to get involved with the community to make people’s holidays a little brighter.”

Brooklyn Net players and Key Food personnel went to the Bed-Stuy Campaign against Hunger

to help families in need prepare for their Thanksgiving meals by giving out essential items donated by Key Food. And Brooklyn Nets players were at Key Food’s Food Universe in Jackson Heights hosting shopping sprees for children to shop for their families’ Thanksgiving meals while learning about math and budgeting. Great job, Key Food!

Not to be outdone in the charitable realm, Krasdale Foods stepped up big with City Harvest’s annual “Repack to Give Back.” Krasdale, along with its C-Town and Bravo supermarkets, are a platinum sponsor in the annual program that brings together hundreds of corporate volunteers to pack more than 5,000 holiday boxes of nutritious food for NYC families. Krasdale employees and store owners helped pack more than 500 of the boxes that are distributed to soup kitchens and food pantries across the city, helping to ensure that families have enough food for their Thanksgiving tables. And Krasdale also teamed with the New York Yankees and Krasdale Foods to hold their annual Thanksgiving Food Voucher Giveaway. The event is held at Yankee Stadium the week before Thanksgiving and the lines are wrapped around the building early in the morning in anticipation of the approximately 2,500 food vouchers that are distributed to local Bronx residents to help with their food needs for Thanksgiving. Families receive a $25 voucher to be used at C-Town and Bravo supermarkets. Well done, Krasdale Foods!

Staying in the Bronx, Baldor Specialty Foods spread holiday cheer to their Hunts Point neighbors by providing more than 500 meals boxes and an additional 200 bags to be given out to an overflow crowd that lined the streets waiting. Baldor CEO TJ Murphy said, “We’ve always considered our employees and neighbors part of the family. Thanksgiving is all about the joy of sharing with family and that’s exactly what this event is all about.”

Congrats to JOH as they were awarded one of two broker of the year awards by Palermo Villa at their first annual broker meeting. Palermo manufactures frozen pizza and JOH received the award for best headquarter execution. “Jim Fernandes and the JOH team have done a great job! The results show that we have built a true partnership.” said Dave Izzo, senior account executive northeast region at Palermo. “We celebrate our successes as we continue to find creative ways to go after new business opportunities and I’m looking forward to a strong finish to a solid 2017!”

And in the spirit of the Season and giving, I’ll leave you with this: Mike Laverty of Jones Dairy Farms and a former longtime Kraft/Oscar Meyer employee will be retiring at the end of this year. For those who do not know, Mike is the father of two disabled children and as such, has participated in an annual Polar Bear Plunge for Special Olympics for the last 14 years. His 15th “Plunge” will be February 24, 2018 and he is asking for a little help from the food industry community. Mike has been the number one fundraiser for Special Olympics Polar Bears for all 14 years he has participated and he would like to continue the trend. He has set a goal of $25,000 for this year and to help him achieve it go to this secure link https://www.classy.org/fundraiser/1169683 or you can make a check payable to Special Olympics NJ” and mail it him at Mike Laverty, 145 Clipper Drive, Ocean City, NJ 08226. Good luck, Mike!!!

I hope that you all find time on your schedules to celebrate and spend quality time with family, friends and loved one this Holiday Season. A Happy Chanukah, a very Merry Christmas and Happy Kwanzaa to all, and I look forward to seeing you all in the New Year. As always you can reach me at 201.250.2217 or kgallagher@best-met.com.