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The Saint Joseph’s University Academy of Food Marketing 44th Annual Citation Award Dinner honoring Weis Markets was held April 14 at the Hershey Lodge. This event saluted “100 years of Quality” at Weis Markets as well as marking the 50th anniversary of Food Marketing at Saint Joseph’s University. More than 1,000 representatives of the food industry were on hand to fete the Weis family and its associates. Kudos to Bob Higgins of Saint Joseph’s University and Weis Markets’ Kurt Schertle, dinner chairman, and his committee – Weis Markets’ Bruno Garisto, a 1989 graduate of Saint Joseph’s University with a degree in food marketing, Dennis Curtin and Carole Hupp – for putting together a beautiful evening. Speaking of beautiful, the Weis floral department did a truly exceptional job with the dinner centerpieces and decorations for the cocktail reception. Of course, Hershey chocolates were all over the tables, providing sweet treats for the guests.

Raising help and hope for the hungry is a top priority for ShopRite associates who band together each year for a five week contest held during National Hunger Awareness Month which is in September. Sponsored each year by ShopRite and General Mills, the 2011 ShopRite Partners In Caring contest issued a new challenge to ShopRite associates – to raise an unprecedented $1 million to support food banks in the communities ShopRite serves. Showing their commitment to those in need through the collection of donations at checkout and in-store events, ShopRite associates met the challenge head-on, raising $1 million towards fighting hunger in their local communities. Of the more than 240 ShopRites stores across six states, each of the 45 winning stores selected two associates to be featured on a special-edition Cheerios box, sold exclusively at ShopRites stores during March 2012. In addition, each store was awarded $500 – or $3,000 for the top five winning stores – to donate to a hunger-fighting charity of its choice. New Jersey came in with 31 winning stores and Pennsylvania had six winning stores.  “We are so thankful to ShopRite associates for their dedication to help those in their community who struggle with the issue of hunger,” said Christine Magyarits, spokesperson for ShopRite Partners In Caring. “It is truly remarkable how the involvement in our hunger-fighting activities grows every year, increasing the money raised for people in need. We are grateful to the leadership of our store associates and the support of General Mills, who make this all possible.”

Linda  Doherty, president and CEO of the New Jersey Food Council (NJFC), recently received the Food Marketing Institute (FMI) Donald H. MacManus Association Executive Award in recognition of her outstanding leadership and accomplishments in the food distribution industry. The award, now in its 20th year, was presented at FMI Day in Washington last month. MacManus served the industry for many years as executive director of the Rocky Mountain Food Dealers Association and as FMI’s Western Region director. He also served in the Colorado State Senate, rising to the position of democratic whip. “Linda works diligently to represent some of the finest grocery and food distribution employers in the Garden State,” said Leslie Sarasin, president and CEO of FMI. “With a $105 billion economy, feeding nearly nine million New Jerseyans a day, Linda continues to advocate for her state’s food retailers, most notably through job creation, disaster preparedness, food safety and sustainability.”  Doherty was recognized for the following accomplishments: pursuing litigation strategies to defend unclaimed property, supporting reform in state liquor licensing, supporting reform in state liquor licensing, keeping the Garden State safe through disaster preparedness and giving WIC recipients more shopping options.

In other NJFC news, the annual Night of Distinction was held March 22 at the Sheraton Meadowlands in East Rutherford, NJ. This event, while honoring three food industry movers and shakers, was also an evening of great food, Texas Poker and prizes.  Receiving the NJFC Industry Award for 2012 were: Dominick Romano, co-president and CEO of RoNetco Supermarkets; Michael Murphy, senior vice resident, Quick Check Corporation; and Joseph Fantozzi, president and COO, White Rose Food Corporation.  More than 250 guests and industry notables attended this “do not miss” event. However, noticeably missing was long-time NJFC staff member Sandy Horan who just happened to be getting married that day. The new Mrs. Malecki and her long time beau Joseph Malecki tied the knot in a civil ceremony. Happiness always, Sandy! Don’t forget to register to attend the next NJFC event, complete with a great raw bar; the Trade Relations Conference, June 6 at the Borgata in Atlantic featuring guest speaker Jeff Reagan of Wakefern. The “curtain closing” golf outing follows on June 7 at Galloway National Golf Club. For more information, please go to:

How many of you know about the new restriction at the Washington Nationals Park concerning purchasing of tickets by the humble and adoring Phillies phans? Well, here’s the scoop on just how to get tickets. You can’t if you have a credit card linked to a mailing address outside of the Washington DC area zip codes, and now Baltimore has joined this silly game of limiting access to tickets by putting a premium on weekend games against the Phillies. However, that little problem has been solved, at least for one game. AMR-MAFTO has put together a road trip to see the Phillies play the Baltimore Orioles at Camden Yards on Sunday June 10.  Price includes one  reserved box seat ticket, round trip motor coach transportation and unlimited snacks and beverages on the bus.  The price is $100 per person. The bus will depart at 9:45 a.m from the Charles Ritter Company located at 3333 South 3rd Street, just off the Front Street exit of I 95. Estimated time of return is 7:00 pm. For more information, call Bill Schlosky at 856-220-3701. Get ‘em while they last!

Congratulations to Sonny DiCrecchio, Philadelphia Wholesale Produce Market (PWPM) who was named National Produce Market Manager of the Year. He recently received the award at the 66th Annual National Association of Produce Market Managers Conference in Los Angeles. PWPM has long recognized Sonny’s outstanding management and leadership. Dan Kane, market manager at PWPM was elected vice president of the National Association of Produce Market Managers. Both Sonny and Dan are working very hard to promote the almost one year old facility in Southwest Philadelphia. If you haven’t been there for a tour, you should make time to go. The PWPM held a nutrition summit as we were going to press. More on that next month!

Continuing the circle of life, we send out condolences to the family of James Herr, founder of Herr Foods, who passed away just before Easter.  Also, Raymond Maniaci, brother of David Maniaci, Nicholas Markets passed away in March. William Mackin, retired from Wonder Bread and father of Mike Mackin, Schmidt Baking, passed away on April 2. Bill spent his 35 year career with Wonder Bread starting as route driver and retiring in 1989 as the New York regional bread sales manager, with responsibility for 1,500 routes and more than 2,000 employees. He was also a member of the #1 Club at Continental Bakeries, an honor given to those employees in the top one percent of the company. William Walsh, father of Mary Washinko of Acme Markets passed away on April 9.  He was also a food industry veteran, serving as a store manager for Acme Markets and later as a salesman for Gerber Products. Outside of work, he was a major NHRA fan.  Ben Swiecicki founder of Ben-Dor Associates, located for many years on Liberty Street in Camden, passed away on April 1 after a brief illness. Ben was known as “the Polish prince.” He always wore cowboy hats and cowboy boots. His company served many independent retailers in the greater Philadelphia market from his own trucks.

Just as there is an end to life, so too are there new beginnings. We send out congratulations to Nick Buchanan of Bob Evans, and his wife Laura on the birth of their daughter, Elliot Sophia Buchanan on March 21. Big brother Quinn reportedly loves his new baby sister. Baby Elliot is also the granddaughter of Doug and Diane Buchanan, Brandywine Marketing.

Birthday shout-outs for the volatile month of April go to: Jack Foti, Rosa Foods; Charlie Poletti, Acosta; Ron Benjamin, Pro Star Marketing; Ed Herr, Herr Foods; Kevin Cook, Edy’s; Matt Davis, Pirate Brands; Larry Weaver, Global Dairy Brands; George Price, DMW Direct; and Terry Lowden, JOH. Buon compleanno a tutti!

Celebrating marital bliss this month are: Larry and Jutta Weaver, Global Dairy Brands; Doug and Diane Buchanan, Brandywine Marketing; Stephen and Alana Raiola, Farmland Dairies; and Joanne and Michael Morabito III, Morabito Baking Co. Congratulations to all!


Quote of the month: “Among those whom I like or admire, I can find no common denominator, but among those I love, I can. All of them make me laugh.” W. H. Auden