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It has been said that good things come to those who wait. And for those of you who have been patiently waiting for the Food Trade News 36th Annual Market Study to arrive, I can promise you will not be disappointed. Covering 70 counties in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, New York and Connecticut and all channels of retail distribution, Food Trade News proudly goes where no other publication dares to go; giving you the statistics you need along with the expert analysis we know you want. Always the definitive word in the retail food industry, Food Trade News tells it like it is with no holds barred. Our publisher Jeff Metzger with his incredible memory and intimate knowledge of every aspect of the food industry lends his insights throughout the year to those looking to increase their understanding of just how it works. His guidance and support of new ideas has certainly made a difference in how we go to market. This extraordinary compilation of ads, data, statistics and editorial analysis requires efforts from our entire organization. So, I am sending out a group high five to the Food Trade News team: Terri Maloney, our VP of editorial, who tirelessly puts 24 issues and special sections together and makes us look good every month; Kevin Gallagher and Karen Fernandez, my selling and schmoozing buddies, working with you is never boring; Beth Pripstein for adding our new readers to the system; Matt Danielson and Jenny Jones of Eink for their genius; and our chairman emeritus Dick Bestany, who continues to keep his toes dipped in the Best-Met waters. Finally, a humble thank you to our readers and advertisers for your support throughout the year and in particular this Market Study issue. We couldn’t do what we do without you! Grazie!

Customers and associates at Giant/Carlisle recently showed their support for local men and women serving in the Armed Forces by generously donating $560,194 through the store’s annual “Support Our Troops” campaign. Since the inception of the program in 2005, Giant and Martin’s customers and associates have donated more than $3 million to benefit regional USOs and the Wounded Warrior Project. “Giant/Martin’s is grateful for the service and sacrifice of our Veterans and active soldiers, and we will continue to do all we can to be a better neighbor to them and their loved ones,” said president Tom Lenkevich. “We are proud to provide this annual donation and to continue our partnership with much-needed organizations like our regional USOs and the Wounded Warrior Project. It’s our way of saying thanks for all that these men and women have done for us.”

ShopRite and Procter & Gamble have partnered to bring Caroline’s Carts, specialized shopping carts created for special needs children, to more than 250 ShopRite stores across the Northeast. Starting this month, Caroline’s Carts will be available at all ShopRite stores. A special event with Drew Ann Long, founder of Caroline’s Carts, took place at the ShopRite of Woodbridge earlier this month to unveil the unique cart and introduce it to ShopRite customers. Long created the custom cart for her daughter Caroline, launching Caroline’s Carts in 2013. P&G has extended its support of this partnership by helping ShopRite to bring Caroline’s Carts to all of its stores. Caroline’s Cart is a shopping cart created for special needs children and adults. It provides parents and caregivers a viable option to transport a child through a store while grocery shopping, without simultaneously having to maneuver a wheelchair and a traditional grocery cart. It is named after Caroline, the special needs daughter of Drew Ann and David Long, founders of Parent Solution Group and is manufactured by Technibilt. Caroline’s Cart is not just for children/adults who cannot walk, but has been used for children with autism, providing a safe solution while in the store. The Long family believes that all families deserve to have this option, so they can enjoy the freedom of shopping with their special needs child. For more information, you can visit www.carolines-cart.com

Weis Markets announced on June 17 that its associates helped raise $122,000 in customer donations for 100 local pet shelters and rescue organizations during its month-long “Paws for Pets” check-off and donation program. Weis Markets’ store in Newton, NJ was the chain leader, raising a combined $3,603 in combined donations for One Step Closer Animal Rescue, a pet shelter located in nearby Sparta, NJ. During the four-week program, which ran through Memorial Day, stores also held 60 pet adopt-a-thons. “Over the past five years, pet shelters and rescue organizations have seen a record increase in the number of abandoned animals they care for. Our ‘Paws for Pets’ program helps generate support for these organizations during one of their busiest months of the year,” said Brian Holt, Weis Markets vice president of advertising, marketing and public relations. “Thanks to the commitment of our associates and the generosity of our customers, we have raised more than $122,000 dollars for locally-based pet organizations in 2014 – and have raised nearly a million dollars in contributions and product donations since 2008.”

The International Dairy-Deli-Bakery Association expects to have a new president/CEO in place no later than August 1, 2014 according to Bill Klump, chairman of the board of IDDBA and chief marketing officer for Butterball LLC. Klump stated that the search, which started several months ago with the passing of longtime CEO and president Carol Christison, has been narrowed to a small group of very qualified candidates and that final interviews will take place next month. “The selection of the right person to lead the IDDBA is the most important issue we will face this year,” according to Klump. “The search has been thorough with a team comprised of current members of the executive committee as well as several past chairmen of the board. We are positive we will find the right person for the Association who will help us to fulfill the IDDBA’s mission of being a relentless advocate and resource for the dairy, deli, and bakery categories.” He also noted the retirement of long-time IDDBA employee and current senior VP Lucie Arendt, who announced her retirement effective July 16, 2014. In a letter to the board, Arendt said, “I leave with fond memories and many wonderful friends. I am very proud of this organization and all that we have achieved over the years. Thank you for the opportunity to work in a job I love and with such a strong, dedicated, and professional staff.”

“Lucie Arendt just led us through an incredibly successful seminar and expo, and we will always be grateful for her efforts this year and for the 28 years she gave the Association,” stated Klump. He went on to say that this is an exciting time for the Association as the transition provides another juncture to look into the mirror and prioritize new opportunities, new initiatives, and new organizational responsibilities. Indeed, the 50th Expo held this year in Denver, CO was a great tribute to the efforts of Lucie and the IDDBA staff. While many shows and conferences are experiencing attrition or have been completely eliminated, the IDDBA has consistently grown over the years, making it a must attend on the show “circuit.” Unfortunately, the trends speech usually delivered by Carol Christison was not replaced and I don’t have a “word of the year” to pass on to you. Aside from that, the show was once again a good place to do business. The 2015 Expo will take place in Atlanta, June 7-9.

The summer golf outing circuit is well under way with more than 185 golfers participating in the Boyer’s outing, 150 at Family Owned Markets and more than 144 at the Ravitz Family Foundation’s 13th annual golf outing. No holes in one have been reported so far, but everyone comes off the courses smiling and knowing they helped raise money for some worthy charities. At the dinner after the Ravitz outing, Steve Ravitz announced a $10,000 donation to the Boys & Girls Club of Camden, NJ in memory of Susan Asbell and Lewis Katz, who were killed with six others in a plane crash in Boston a few weeks ago.