In & Around Food World

Well-known to generations of food industry people, Dick Bestany is the co-founder of Best-Met Publishing, publishers of Food World and Food Trade News. He served as the company's President from 1978 until 2007, when he took the position of Chairman Emeritus. His column was published every month from 1978 until 2016.

We begin the new year on a sad note as we extend our sincere sympathies to Mickey Parsons (Edy’s Ice Cream, retired) on the death of his father, Frank I. Parsons Jr.

Mickey, well known among food people in the Mid-Atlantic, was one of nine children.

His father also had 31 grandchildren, 18 great grandchildren and seven sisters. He was 93.

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Last month we reported on the death of John Kluge who passed away at age 95. He was remembered on December 14 at the Music Box Theater in New York where more than 500 people gathered to pay a final farewell. John, as he always wanted to be called – not Mr. Kluge -, was a “… successful businessman who parlayed the money he earned from a Frito’s franchise into a multi billion-dollar communications company, Metromedia. This conglomerate grew to include 7 television stations, 14 radio stations, outdoor advertising, the Harlem Globetrotters, the Ice Capades, radio paging, mobile telephones and a food brokerage firm in Baltimore-Washington, Kluge Finkelstein & Company, which he and David Finkelstein formed in 1956.

“His philanthropy was prodigious. The beneficiaries of his gifts included Columbia University ($100 million pre-death and $400 million posthumously) and the University of Virginia, $63 million.”

 “Mr. Kluge also contributed to the restoration of Ellis Island and in 2000 gave $73 million to the Library of Congress, which established the Kluge Prize for the Study of Humanities.”

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(The statements in quotation marks above are from the Congressional Record of the 111th Congress, second session.)

At the memorial service, Stuart Subotnick, a partner in Metromedia, served as the master of ceremonies. David Finkelstein, Kluge’s partner in Kluge, Finkelstein & Company, delivered a very entertaining talk that portrayed John Kluge as he really was, a caring, witty, down-to-earth person.

Another presenter at the ceremony was singer Tony Bennett, who was a personal friend of Kluge’s.

Stuart Subotnick hosted us to a lovely dinner at a very charming and excellent Italian Restaurant – Bravo Gianni.

Located at 230 East 63 Street, this restaurant is one of the finest in the city, if not the finest Italian restaurant, in my humble opinion. And Bravo Gianni himself is there to meet and greet you and to make sure everything is to your liking. If you’re in New York City and you are looking for a nice – very nice – Italian restaurant, Bravo Gianni is the place to visit.

 While enjoying the food and drink at Bravo Gianni’s we spotted a couple of familiar faces at another table, Don Walker and Tom LaRochelle, both with Lactalis Deli, Inc. Don is the Mid-Atlantic manager and Tom is the national sales manager for Lactalis. Tom’s dad, also Tom LaRochelle, is a long time food man having worked as a broker in New England and now with Tootsie-Roll. If food people eat at Bravo Gianni’s, it must be good.

The Department of Food Marketing at Saint Joseph’s University will host the fifth annual Food Industry Summit on Thursday, March 10, 2011 from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. This year’s summit entitled “Sales and Profit growth through Direct Marketing, Social Media, and E-Commerce” will take place at Saint Joseph’s University Haub School of Business, Philadelphia, PA. The summit is a venue for food industry CEOs, presidents and c executives to present their insights on major issues and trends facing our business. This event is attended by food industry executives and decision makers from around the country, offering both an excellent informational and networking opportunity.

The 2011 Food Industry Summit is a full-day event that will feature several dynamic and influential executives from top companies in the industry, including: Carl Schlicker, COO, Ahold USA; Dan Sanders, president, Acme Markets; Rick Brindle, customer VP for e-sales and industry affairs, Kraft Foods; Mike Salzberg, president, Campbell Sales Company; and Mike Webster, senior VP and general manager, NCR Retail Group.

For more information please visit: http://foodindustrysummit.sju.edu.

And speaking of St Joseph’s University, U.S. News and World Report recognized the university’s marketing undergraduate programs, including food marketing, among the best 25 specialty programs in the United States for 2011.

Last month we also read about the death of baseball Hall of Famer Bob Feller. Bob Feller, as baseball fans know, was one terrific pitcher, especially known for his fastball.

Both Jeff Metzger and I knew Bob. We met him at a frozen food event in Buffalo back in the early 70’s while we were still with The Griffin Report. Bob was a spokesperson for a frozen food company – the name I can’t remember -which was represented by Jack Bradigan, a Buffalo based food broker and a character in his own right. After the event we all – Jack Bradigan, Bob Feller, Jeff and I – headed for the nearest bar. Bob entertained us with baseball stories and had us all rolling in the aisles with laughter. It was an evening that we will never forget.

United States Commerce Secretary Gary Locke has named Nestle Purina a recipient of the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award. The pet food manufacturer is one of seven companies to receive the 2010 award, and the first CPG company ever to achieve the distinction.

Named after the 26th secretary of commerce, the award was established in 1987 to enhance the competitiveness of U.S. organizations. Winners are recognized for excellence in the areas of leadership; customer and market focus; strategic planning; process management; measurement; analysis and knowledge management; workforce focus; and results.

Among recipients this year was Medrad of Warrendale, PA and Montgomery County Public Schools, Rockville, MD.

We traveled last month to beautiful Fairfax, Virginia to attend the wedding of Christopher Chadwick to Amanda Fitzgerald.

Christopher is the son of Lancaster Foods’ Jerry and Ligia Chadwick and the grandson of the late Gerald Chadwick who had been the head guy for the old Knott, Sheehan Food Brokerage Company of New England, the VP of sales for Alpo Pet Foods and a senior management member of the Bud Mayer Company of Florida.

The Food Marketing Institute (FMI) recently announced a call for entries in the 2011 FMI Store Manager Awards, an annual program recognizing supermarket store managers who generate sales growth, provide great customer service, contribute to attaining company goals and are an integral part of the communities they serve.

Only store managers from FMI member companies who have been at the same place of business for at least one year are eligible.

FMI’s retail membership is composed of large multi-store chains, regional firms and independent supermarkets. Its international membership includes 200 companies from more than 50 countries.

For more information, contact FMI at 202-452-8444.

Happy Birthday wishes go out this month to Randy Holland, Pro-Star/Star Sales & Marketing; Carl Jablonski, formerly of Acme and Shaws Supermarkets; Jim Therian, Masiello Group Realty; and Kathleen Kelly, sister of Food World and Food Trade News editor Terri Maloney.

Anniversary wishes go out this to: Policy Solutions Barry and Olga Scher, their 8th; and to Food World’s Lou and Mimi Rosenthal, their 64th!

From all of us at Best-Met Publishing—Food World, Food Trade News and the MidAtlantic Grocery Industry Directory—may you and yours enjoy a very healthy, happy and prosperous 2011 and remember to keep reading Food World and Food Trade News and keep buying those ads!