I recently heard about the closing of DeLorenzo’s Tomato Pie after nearly 65 years doing business on Hudson Street in the Chambersburg section of Trenton, NJ. So? Just another pizzeria come and gone. But no, DeLorenzo’s was not JUST a pizzeria, it was a treasure in the middle of a very changed neighborhood. There were no credit cards, no bathrooms, no menus and no delivery. Pizza was served on Melmac plastic plates from the 1940s. The forks bent if you pressed too hard on them. The phone was a rotary phone and the cash register was more than 50 years old. In fact, it was so busy on Fridays and Saturdays that the owners took the phone off the hook by 4:30 p.m. The Chambersburg section of Trenton was full of Italian immigrants in the early 1900s. My grandfather’s brother had a grocery store down the street from DeLorenzo’s. That’s how far back the families go. They used only Maggio mozzarella, and Chickie, the founder, was the first to call when the cheese wasn’t melting just right. The “tomato pie,” as it was known and made only in Trenton, was quite different from the everyday pie. The crust was thin, so thin that it was called a cracker crust. (I know the secret ingredient but I can’t tell you.) The cheese went on the dough first and then the tomatoes were applied, and they were always crushed plum tomatoes. The fresh olive oil was sprinkled on with an old fashioned oil container followed by a little spice and in the oven it went! DeLorenzo’s cut the pies crooked too, so you didn’t get eight slices. You had maybe 10 and they were all funny shaped. But each bite was delicious and left you yearning for more! Chickie always allowed my kids to go behind the counter and help “dress” our pies. They still talk about those good times. When Chickie retired, his son-in-law Gary and daughter Eileen took over, but the neighborhood was changing. The ‘Burg, as it is affectionately known, is now Latino, with a new wave of immigrants occupying what was once an Italian enclave. Chickie and his wife have both passed on and Gary and Eileen have retired and closed the Hudson Street location. I think it should be put on the National Register of Historic Buildings. Don’t shed any tears, though, the DeLorenzo Tomato Pie is alive and well. Grandson Sam Amico has continued the tradition in another albeit more suburban location. In 2008, Sam opened a modernized DeLorenzo’s Tomato Pie at 2350 Rt. 33 in Robbinsville, NJ… and yes, they have bathrooms.
At the New Jersey Food Council’s (NJFC) annual meeting January 24 in Edison, NJ, more than 200 movers and shakers in the food industry re-elected Philip Scaduto, vice president of Food Circus Supermarkets as chairman of the board of NJFC) “It is an honor for me to continue as the chairman of the food council,” said Scaduto. “While 2011 was an eventful year filled with unforeseen challenges and favorable results, I believe the industry is in an excellent position to capitalize on momentum and advance pts agenda in 2012.”
NJFC president Linda Doherty said, “Phil Scaduto has been a leader for our association through an incredibly active period here in New Jersey. Despite the myriad of challenges the industry faced last year, The Food Council had a productive year and is well positioned as we head into 2012.”
Joining Scaduto as association officers are: vice chair Judy Spires, Kings Super Markets; associate vice chairman Joe McCarthy, Bimbo Bakeries USA; treasurer Michael Rothwell, Pennington Quality Market; secretary Richard Saker, Saker ShopRites, Inc.; and president Linda Doherty.
At that same meeting, the NJFC membership also elected its 2012 board. For a full list, please go to www.njfoodcouncil.com.
I think by now all of you know how I feel about sustainability, going green, reusable shopping bags and the like. I can’t learn enough! So it really pleases me when I hear about the different ways retailers, distributors and manufacturers are reducing their carbon footprints and saving money, always a win-win! ShopRite recently announced that its Hatfield, PA store, owned by the Miller family, has been awarded with the GreenChill Gold Certification by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which annually recognizes food retailers that have implemented sustainable cooling systems, thereby reducing refrigerant emissions and decreasing their impact on the ozone layer and climate change. The EPA’s goal in creating this award is to encourage retailers to act as partners to: transition stores to environmentally friendlier refrigerants, eliminate environmentally and financially costly refrigerant leaks and to adopt green refrigeration technologies and other environmental practices. In fact, the ShopRite of Hatfield Pointe boasts a sustainable refrigeration system that is the first of its kind to be installed in the state of Pennsylvania and one of only 32 operating systems of its type in the country. This particular system uses carbon dioxide and glycol rather than ozone-depleting refrigerants. The substances are virtually leak proof, thereby creating a safer and more cost-effective system. This store has many other “green” features, including energy-efficient store lighting in the form of LED lamps and T-8 bulbs, frozen and dairy display cases equipped with energy-efficient doors, as well as water-conserving forced-air meat and seafood display cases. Together, these features conserve energy costs.
We are honored to be selected with other environmentally-conscious retailers to accept this prestigious award,” said Jim Madanci, operations director for KTM II Supermarkets, LLC. “ShopRite has a deep-rooted investment in environmentally-friendly practices and we are grateful to be recognized as an EPA partner. We will continue to improve our environmental efforts in all our stores.” I would love to hear from any of you who are making changes in your companies to go green.
Another Pennsylvania retailer, Gerrity’s Markets, recently completed renovations on two of its nine stores in the Poconos and made many sustainable improvements.
Originally opened in 2006, the Gerrity’s on Wyoming Avenue in West Pittston recently underwent its second upgrade. The changes are highlighted by reduced energy use, improved shopping flow, expanded selection and new refrigerated cases. Joyce “Mom” Fasula, president of Gerrity’s, is excited to offer the community an even better shopping environment. “After what the community has been through with the flood, we are very proud of our renovation,” Fasula said. “We hope it makes a statement to the residents that their neighborhood grocery store is here to stay. Perhaps it may even inspire others to re-invest in West Pittston.”
The biggest improvements to the store includes a focus on upgrading its state-of-the-art refrigerated display cases. The meat, deli bakery and frozen departments all received brand new cases and the frozen doors feature cutting-edge LED lighting. The new bulbs draw less energy and produce almost no heat. Best of all, the changes allow for an easier and quicker shopping experience thanks to a more streamline store layout.
The renovations also incorporate expanded wood flooring and new checkouts. Variety and selection have been significantly increased in the produce, grocery, frozen and meat.
“Mom” Fasula is also proud to be reinvesting in her family’s home town. The 42,000-square-foot Gerrity’s on Keyser Avenue in Pittston underwent a 3,000-square-foot expansion to 46,000 square-feet. The complete remodel will result in additional tax revenue for the city and 10 to 20 new jobs for the community.
“In the supermarket business, it is important to keep up with the current trends,” Fasula says. “We are proud to invest in the community, especially in light of the current state of the economy.” The biggest changes to the store feature the addition of a new pharmacy with a drive-thru, a beer department, a full-service seafood department and an expanded cafe. The $1.5 million remodel also includes the installation of new energy efficient lighting and refrigerated display cases as was done in the West Pittston store.
“The new, energy-efficient technology, which allows us to go from using two bulbs per fixture to a single bulb, will save thousands of kilowatt-hours each year,” Fasula says.
LED lights that use less energy and generate less heat are being installed in the freezers.
“The changes also incorporate new wood flooring and a warm, fresh décor. Variety and selection have been significantly increased in the produce, grocery, frozen and dairy departments. The Deli Café also expanded with the addition of a fresh-baked, homemade pizza,” Fasula reports.
Speaking of newly renovated stores, Kings Super Market CEO Judy Spires and her capable team unveiled the new Kings logo and remodeled Bedminster, NJ store recently. I can’t say enough about this store. It is a “foodie’s” dream come true. It screams “gourmet” from the minute you walk in the door until you check out. I especially loved the floral department.
Paul Kneeland , VP of produce and floral explained how the flowers are kept cool without the use of refrigerated units. The cool air comes down from units in the ceiling and the area looks like a magnificent flower shop. I could go on and on, but my best advice is go and see for yourself what Judy has been cooking up at Kings for the past couple of years. You will be amazed at what our hometown, self professed “foodie” has put together. There are two more stores being remodeled; Livingston and Hoboken, NJ.
Golden Slipper Camp (GSC) has announced that Ralph Marta, CEO of C. W. Dunett, has been named its Angel for 2012. Ralph was introduced to the Angel alumni at a breakfast hosted by Howard Stoeckel, a two time angel, at Wawa University in mid-January. Located on 600 beautiful acres in the Pocono Mountains, Golden Slipper Camp gives underprivileged children from the city a chance to experience a summer filled with activities they would never be exposed to otherwise. Golden Slipper Camp fosters independence, builds self-esteem, and encourages skill development with positive role models. Many of the counselors are former campers! This year’s induction will take place on April 17 at the City Avenue Hilton in Philadelphia. Try to attend if you can. You will leave the evening a changed person. For more information, please go to www.goldenslippercamp.org
Congratulations abound this month! A round of applause to: Jeff Martin, EVP Ahold USA. who was awarded the 2012 Marketer of the Year from Supermarket News; to Joe Sheridan, president and CEO of Wakefern, as he takes the helm as NGA president; and to Danny Wegman, CEO of Wegmans Food Markets, who was awarded the inaugural Robert B. Wegman Award, created in memory of his late father to recognize leadership, merchandising and leadership strategy.
In other Wegmans notes, for the 15th consecutive year Wegmans ranked in Fortune Magazine’s 100 Best Companies to Work For list, this year coming in at number 4! The other food retailers making the list: included Whole Foods, Austin TX, which ranked 32nd and Publix Super Markets, Lakeland, FL, which rounded out the retailers ranked number 78.
Continuing the circle of life, condolences go out to the family of Carl Bernstein, second generation owner of Master Food Distributors, Boothwyn, PA. His son Michael Stern will continue the tradition running the company founded by his grandfather Ed Bernstein. Angelo “Pete” Penza, owner operator of Pinto Brothers Wholesale Produce, passed away on February 6 at the age of 80. Mr. Penza worked for more than 50 years in the produce business in Philadelphia, just retiring in 2011. Margie Rossiter-McVay, former executive vice president of sales and purchasing for Honor Foods passed away on February 11.
Our publisher Jeff Metzger tells me all the time that, in this crazy food business, we’re the same 500 people constantly being recycled. This month a few of us were recycled. So, to keep you up to date, here are a couple of employment moves we know of: Jim Mullen, formerly of Acme Markets, has joined Ahold USA’s Giant/Carlisle division; Sondra Sage, most recently with AWI, has joined Clemens Food Group in business development.
Birthday shout outs for the amorous month of February go out to: Bob DiMento Sr.. Brandywine Marketing Associates; Gary Canuso, Turkey Hill; Neil Brassell, industry veteran; BJ Zellers, Crane Communications; Bill Schlosky, Utz Snacks; and special birthday hugs and kisses to my daughter Rosalie Marfuggi who turns 21 this month. Where did the time go? Buon Compleanno a tutti! Correction from January’s birthday list. Another Food Trade News alum who celebrated a birthday in January was Scott Lichterman, now with Thompson Chocolates.
Finally for those of you who are addicted to your iPhones and Blackberrys (who isn’t?), Food Trade News is web-wise! Find us online at web: www.best-met.com, like us on facebook or follow us on twitter!
Quote of the month: “There is no remedy for love than to love more.” Henry David Thoreau