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And they’re off! No, not the horses running in the Kentucky Derby or the Preakness, I am speaking of the golfers who marked the beginning of the 2017 golf season at the Mid-Atlantic Food Trades Organization’s (MAFTO) golf outing held at Commonwealth National Golf Club on May 1. Once again, the weather held out for golf chair Bill Carter, Knauss Foods, as more than 110 golfers hit the fairways and greens (and maybe some rough). The new scramble format was won by Bill Schlosky of Utz Snacks, Ben Ammons, Pete Ammons and Dave Bullard, all with Ammons’ ShopRites. Longest drive went to Tom Hesick of Wawa for the men and Amy Phillips of the Star Companies for the women. The prizes and food were awesome as always and participants went home knowing their game needs some work! Hope to see many of you on the circuit this season.

As you may know, the ABC network’s “Dancing with the Stars” crowned this year’s champion team just this week. The judges must have missed the performance of Elaine and Ryan Redner on April 21, as they took first place at the seventh annual Dancing with the Reading Stars gala, which raised money for the Yocum Institute for Arts Education in Reading, PA. The mission of this cultural institution is “to connect and enrich our community through arts education, creative performance and innovative programs.” Redner’s president and CEO Ryan Redner and his wife Christina have been involved with the institute for quite some time as has EVP Gary Michael Redner and his wife Janie. The winning mother and son team danced to “24K Magic,” the first single from Bruno Mars’ latest album of the same name. Together, Elaine and Ryan raised nearly $30,500 to take home the title – a good portion of the total monies raised. This is the institute’s largest fundraiser of the year. Maybe they will recreate their dance at the MAFTO gala being held in the Redners’ honor in November!

Another Redner’s note – a tip of the hat to Ryan, who was named president and COO of Redner’s earlier this month. The company will be in good hands with Ryan at the helm.

Acme Markets has reignited its “Fridays (and some Saturdays) with Acme” series and the month of May brought many re-openings throughout our region. The biggest remodel was at the former Super Fresh at 10th and South Streets in Center City Philadelphia. Acme president Dan Croce told those assembled that he has been associated with this store under two banners for two decades. Bill Crosby, VP of operations, has done the same. Bill was the store’s dairy manager when it first opened in 1986. We had some stories to trade about that. Dan said the store was purchased over a year ago and it underwent a total transformation. Indeed, the store looks like a city store, chock full of products piled to the ceiling. New to this store and soon to be chain wide is the addition of more prepared foods. One in particular feature at the store seems to be particularly well received – oven-ready individual stuffed and seasoned seafood portions. There are more re-openings to come with hopefully more good news from Acme.

This time of year we celebrate the men and women of the military who have fought and continue to fight to keep us free. On May 20, Armed Forces Day, the eight Zallie ShopRite supermarkets rolled out the red carpet to welcome almost 50 local veterans and their families during its Sixth Annual Memorial Day Luncheon to Honor Veterans. Each store hosted six veterans, along with four family members. Veterans were selected with the help of local VFW chapters and represent each branch of the military. The meals commenced with a moment of silence to honor all those who serve and those who have fallen, followed by the Pledge of Allegiance led by local scout troops. “The Zallie family and our 2,000 associates are extremely proud to host this event every May,” said store owners Bruce and George Zallie. “It can never truly repay the sacrifices made, but it’s our way of coming together to express our sincerest gratitude for all those who have served our country.” In addition to the catered luncheon, several departments in each store prepared generous gift baskets, holiday ornaments, a $200 bank gift card, flowers and a special certificate for the veterans to take home from this exclusive event. Many thanks to the Zallie brothers for recognizing the veterans who served us so many years ago.

In April, which is National Volunteer month, teams of employees at C&S Wholesale Grocers volunteered to accomplish more than 30 projects for nonprofit groups in our marketing area including: renovating homes with Habitat for Humanity in Reading, PA; packing food boxes for seniors in need at the Second Harvest Food Bank of the Lehigh Valley in Nazareth, PA; serving breakfast at an event for the Northeast Community Senior Center in Mt Wolf, PA; and helping with the spring clean-up at Leg Up Farm in Mt Wolf, PA. Year-round, C&S encourages employees to volunteer through two programs: Dollars for Doers, which matches employees’ volunteer time with a donation up to 1,000 hours, and Team Up & Make Strides, which supports employees who raise funds and awareness by participating in events for charity. Congrats to the employees of C&S for their charitable endeavors.

Seven Fresh Grocer supermarkets, owned and operated by the Burns family, raised $8,500 for the American Red Cross during their fifth annual fundraiser held in honor of National Red Cross Month. The month-long fundraiser was supported by both corporate and customer donations. All proceeds will go to help the Red Cross deliver on its mission of preventing and alleviating human suffering in the face of emergencies. “We are incredibly grateful for the support of The Fresh Grocer and the Burns family. Whether we’re helping a community prepare for, respond to, or recover from a disaster, we know we can count on The Fresh Grocer,” said Judge Renée Cardwell Hughes (ret.), CEO of the American Red Cross of Eastern Pennsylvania. “The Fresh Grocer and its customers are absolutely amazing and inspire us all. Their generosity allows us to build stronger and more resilient communities. We truly appreciate their leadership, partnership and friendship.” Throughout the fundraiser, the Burns family’s seven Fresh Grocer Supermarkets invited customers to “be an everyday hero” by supporting the Red Cross with a small monetary contribution of $1, $3 or $5 at checkout. “We have the best customers,” said Pat Burns, of Burns’ Family Neighborhood Markets. “Our Red Cross Month fundraiser continues to be a success year after year because of the overwhelming generosity of our Fresh Grocer customers and their commitment to supporting those who help our neighbors in need.” In total, the Burns’ Fresh Grocer supermarkets have raised $47,000 for the Red Cross since the launch of their store-level campaign five years ago.

Weaver’s of Wellsville will be hosting a deli, bakery, and HMR show July 25 at the Park Inn by Radisson in Mechanicsburg, PA. The show will be tailored to independent supermarkets, although it may also be attended by farm market stand operators, restaurants, and specialty foods stores. Weaver’s of Wellsville delivers to more than 150 independent supermarkets every week, and has become a valuable source for merchandising ideas. This is the second year they have held this event. The focus will be on fall and holiday items. Hot show deals will be offered as well. The show floor will be open from 9am -2pm. For information email:

Save the dates! Saint Joseph’s University (SJU) has announced that the 11th annual Food Industry Summit (FIS) will be held October 9 at the Haub School of Business. The topic for 2017 is “Disruptive Innovation in Food Marketing” which is quite timely. To register, go to: Also at SJU, the Academy of Food Marketing will hold its Hall of Honor the evening of October 8, the night before the FIS, making Hawk Hill the place to be in early October.

There’s hot sun in the summertime and MAFTO is hosting a couple of events that will help everyone beat the heat. The first family and friends day at Dorney Park in Allentown, PA is happening on Saturday, June 24. The cost is $60 per person and it includes admission to the park, entrance to Wildwater Kingdom, parking, food, beverages and other assorted goodies. Deadline to purchase tickets is June 12 and they will be available for pick up on the day of the event. A portion of the proceeds will benefit MAFTO scholarships for college students. And, on June 14, MAFTO is going fishing from Somers Point, NJ, down the shore! Spaces are limited. For more information or to register for these events, please visit

The circle of life continues as we send condolences to the family of Charles A. Mallowe, retired from Saint Joseph’s University, who passed away on April 28 after a long battle with cancer. After graduating from St. Joe’s in the inaugural food marketing class, Charles spent his entire career of more than 40 years at the university as executive director of the Academy of Food Marketing. He also taught for many of those years and I was lucky enough to be his student. Our relationship began as professor and student, changed to mentor and mentee and found its way to be good family friends. We celebrated many happy times together; he and his wife Pat were at my wedding, my brother and I were at the kids’ Holy Communions, and we attended many Phillies games, even one of the longest games in Phillies history! As a professor, he was challenging and demanded the best from his students. His door was always open to those who chose to walk through it. He listened and advised. Charlie cared about all of the food marketing students. But it didn’t end there. He was responsible for growing the Academy of Food Marketing into a force in the food industry, consequently making it the largest major at St. Joe’s. Professor Emeritus Dr. Richard George, former chair of the Food Marketing Department at St. Joe’s, remarked that there is no denying what Charles accomplished. “He was the master of uniting the industry in providing scholarship assistance to the next generation of food marketers. Charles made a difference in terms of our students and the food marketing industry,” he said. Charles and his wife Pat made a great couple and were loving parents. Outside of work, his life was his family. After he retired from St. Joe’s, Charles volunteered at Bryn Mawr Hospital and spent time with his grandchildren. His daughter Courtney McAleer, who works for SC Johnson, summed it up best in an email to me soon after Charles’ death. “It’s the many students who now have careers in the food industry that really were his legacy.” And that legacy lives on. His obituary requested that in lieu of flowers, please treat yourself, raise a glass and remember this good and honorable man. I raise my glass to you, Charlie! Rest in peace, my friend.

In April, I was saddened to learn that my industry friend and fellow Golden Slipper Angel Manda Johns, EVP of merchandising at Supervalu’s eastern division, was terminally ill with throat cancer. Heaven gained a for-real angel on May 2, when she lost her battle against the disease. Her obituary tells you about her career, where she comes from and how she rose through the ranks at Supervalu, being groomed by those above her to rise even higher at the company. But it was her contagious, warm smile and her effervescent personality that made her unforgettable. She was so talented, hard-working, ambitious, smart and kind, thoughtful and the life of any party. She will be missed by everyone who ever knew her. Smile on, Manda. Honorary donations in Manda’s name can be made to the National Cancer Institute at the National Institutes of Health to aid their effort to cure and treat cancer – National Cancer Institute, Building 31 Room 11A-16, 9000 Rockville Pike, Bethesda, MD 20892 or

The New Jersey Agricultural Society has named Al Murray as its next executive director effective in mid-August. Al was unanimously voted in by the entire board of trustees at its April 25 board meeting. He will resign from his vice president post on the board of trustees when he takes over. I knew you’d never leave the industry, Al, and that’s a good thing!

Word has it that Nick Sborlini, formerly of Acme Markets, has taken a position at Hatfield Quality Meats effective May 30. Good luck in your new endeavor, Nick!

Best wishes for a speedy recovery go to Frank Frazier, retired from Cargill, who underwent some serious orthopedic surgery last month but is happily on the mend in St. Mary’s rehab facility doing whatever they tell him to do so he can get home.

May brings flowers, Mother’s Day and college graduations. The class of 2017 included: Mark Tarzwell, Mrs. T’s, who earned a master’s degree in food marketing from Saint Joseph’s University; Mike Eni, son of Lou and Nina Eni of Dietz & Watson, who now has his juris doctor degree from Drexel University; and my nephew Mario Maggio II, who graduated cum laude with a BS in aerospace engineering from University of Alabama. Now he’s off to the University of Colorado at Boulder where he will study for an MS degree in aerospace engineering…”to infinity and beyond” Mario! Auguri to the graduates.

Birthday shout outs for the delightful month of May go to: George Endrigian, George’s SNB; John Coles, Euro American Brands; Linda Gilroy, JOH Produce; Doug Buchanan, Brandywine Marketing; Jan Gabriel, Paul G. Nester and Co.; Fred Foose, C&S; Anthony L Maglio, retired, Maglio Sausage; Beth Pripstein, FW/FTN office manager; and Dick Bestany, co-founder and chairman emeritus of Best-Met Publishing. Buon compleanno a tutti!

Quote of the month: “Although no sculptured marble should rise to their memory, nor engraved stone bear record of their deeds, yet will their remembrance be as lasting as the land they honored.” Daniel Webster