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Happy 2013! This year we begin anew with a new look (pun intended) and a new columnist, Kevin Gallagher. Also, we welcome on board many new readers from the New York Metro market. Recently, our publisher Jeff Metzger asked us what it is we thought we did here at Food Trade News. I told him we inform, educate and entertain. So, to our old readers, expect more of the same from us in 2013 and to our new readers, I hope you enjoy our take on the food industry; be it reporting the hard news, offering views from the trade on varied topics or keeping you all up to date on the latest gossip. We have it all right here. For me, the best news this month is that pitchers and catchers report for the 2013 baseball season on February 12, and for the record, I am a Phillies fan!

We offer a 90 candle salute to Giant/Martin’s on the celebration of their 90th birthday in the form of the special section created with the care and expertise only Terri Maloney of Food World and Food Trade News and the E-Ink team can do. We send kudos to John MacDonald and Chris Brand, along with the entire team at the Giant/Martin’s headquarters, who took the lead on developing the special section’s editorial scope and helping to corral everything from their end to our production department. Special thank yous to Tracy Pawelski and Deb Hill of Ahold USA, who helped spearhead the project from the very beginning. Also, we couldn’t have done this without the help of Jodie Daubert and the entire buying/merchandising team at AholdUSA. Our appreciation is extended to all who were involved. We hope you enjoy reading about the grand history of the company that had its humble beginnings 90 years ago as the Carlisle Meat Market.

Reaching another milestone just before the end of 2012, Giant/Carlisle opened its 100th gas station, located in Souderton, PA.“Since we opened our first fuel station in 1998, Giant has been committed to offering customers the convenience of filling their grocery carts and gas tanks with one stop shopping,” said Rick Herring, president of the Carlisle division of AholdUSA. “Our customers’ overwhelming response to this added convenience and their enthusiastic support of our ‘Gas Extra Rewards’ program have helped us to achieve this 100th station milestone.” The grand opening was marked with a ribbon cutting ceremony on December 19. Congratulations all the way around!

Even though the lame duck Congress pulled us back from the edge of the “fiscal cliff” in the wee hours of the new year, they took their sweet time appropriating the funds needed to help people who lost everything in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. Fortunately, the private sector has been there to help fill the void in the meantime, led by many in the food industry. In fact, companies like Domino Foods continue to donate food, money and much more to help those in the ravaged areas rebuild not only their homes, but also their spirits. Domino Foods further strengthened its commitment to help the communities affected by Hurricane Sandy by contributing $50,000 to The American Red Cross for its relief and rebuilding efforts in the Northeast. Domino, which owns a refinery on the Hudson River in New York and whose sales office is headquartered in New Jersey, launched the first phase of its giving program over the Thanksgiving holiday with a donation to The American Red Cross of 30,200 pounds of assorted Domino products, distributing them to local food drives through The Community Food Bank of New Jersey. “All of us that live in the storm-impacted areas have dealt with power-related outages, falling trees and in some cases, even surge flooding,” said Brian O’Malley, Domino president. “Fortunately, even though ourNew York refinery was shut down for almost two weeks, our employees personally were spared the most severe havoc Hurricane Sandy brought to our tri-state community. But not all in our communities were so fortunate. We witnessed the tremendous response of The American Red Cross, who was among the first on the scene providing assistance to those that lost literally everything. Our $50,000 donation to The Red Cross is another way to assist and thank them for the services they are providing, and also to give back in a meaningful way to our fellow citizens who continue to struggle in the aftermath of the storm. The company’s commitment to the rebuilding efforts is personified in the individual volunteer efforts of its employees. Given the spirit of these efforts, Domino Sugar has also set up a microsite where its employees and partners can join the company in support of The American Red Cross.”

The Retail Marketing Group (RMG) held its annual holiday party a week later than usual, so I wasn’t able to give my annual report of debauchery and laughter in our December issue. No one was safe from general manager Charlie Schuster and his group of Shop ‘n Bag and Thriftway owners as they presented songs and skits which made the crowd laugh until their sides hurt. Not even we here at Food Trade News were safe from the intelligent humor of George Endrigian of George’s Dreshertown Market, aka Santa Claus, and his group, who presented a short film parody of “The Godfather“ produced by “Food Crate Newts,” yes, that’s us.