Soup To Nutz

A native of Philadelphia, Maria has been in the food business for most of her career as a manufacturer, distributor and restaurateur. Now with Food Trade News for over 10 years, she likes to say we inform, educate and entertain. She can be reached at

As we were going to press last month, Wegmans was opening its 98th store in Lancaster PA. Store manager Jimmy Bellis and a team of more than 450 associates readied the new 120,000 square foot unit on Route 30. Doors opened at 7:00 a.m. with a reported 2,000 people lining up in the rain for the chance to check out the new store. “Shoppers from this area have been traveling to Downingtown and Harrisburg to shop at our stores for a very long time,” said Bellis. “That’s part of what makes this opening so special for us. We felt welcome here before the first shovel was in the ground.” Executive Chef Keith Briggs and his group of 100 culinarians at the new store were ready to bring Wegmans’ latest innovations starting day one. Among other highlights, the Lancaster store boasts three firsts for the company’s Pennsylvania locations: The Burger Bar, Wegmans’ family-friendly casual restaurant that serves burgers and sandwiches, fresh salads, soup, sides, kids’ meals and beer and wine by the glass; Italian pizza made to order from a custom rotating brick-hearth oven and quick-fired at 800 degrees on volcanic stone sourced from Mt. Vesuvius in Italy; and a made-to-order salad station with greens, grains, toppings and dressings. Shoppers will be treated to everything Wegmans is known for, from an expansive produce department, seafood, meat, deli, bakery, a cheese shop, beer and wine. In the wine shop, the store has a special temperature-controlled and locked “Fine Wine Room” which houses more expensive wines (selling for more than $100 per bottle). Beyond prepared foods and groceries, there is a pharmacy, a floral shop and a health and wellness section. Lastly, Wegmans deliveries by Instacart began on September 26.

Weis Markets recently announced the results of its 11th annual Fight Hunger program which ran throughout Hunger Action Month in September. This year, $340,935 was raised. Since the program’s inception in 2008, more than $2 million has been donated to hunger relief organizations in the areas where Weis operates stores. The program provides food and monetary donations to more than 150 local food banks and emergency food providers in Weis Markets’ 204-store service area. “Our Fight Hunger program benefits more than 150 hunger organizations in the communities we serve,” said Ron Bonacci, Weis Markets’ vice president of advertising and marketing. “It is designed to help families who may not know when and from where their next meal is coming. Over the past 10 years, our customers have generously donated to this worthy cause in our stores and online. Our company will also complement our customers’ generosity with corporate donations. We hope our customers will consider donating this month when they visit their local Weis Markets.”

Also helping to reduce food insecurity, customers at Giant and Martin’s Food Markets generously donated $773,231 to support local hunger relief efforts during the annual Bag Hunger campaign across all 171 stores. Funds raised during the 2018 campaign is a new record for Giant/Martin’s, bringing the retailer’s 10-year Bag Hunger fundraising total to more than $11.5 million. “Giant/Martin’s is committed to doing its part to end hunger in our communities and we are grateful for our customers who have continued to join us in the fight,” said Matt Simon, vice president of marketing. More than 100 food banks and pantries throughout Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, and West Virginia benefit from Giant/Martin’s Bag Hunger campaign. Local major recipient food banks include the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank, Philabundance, Second Harvest Food Bank of the Lehigh Valley, Greater Berks Food Bank, In recognition of September being Hunger Action Month, Giant/Martin’s associates will also be volunteering to help stock shelves and serve meals at several food banks through the end of the month.


Happy Golden Anniversary to Ravitz Family Markets. Following in his father Dave’s footsteps, in 1950 Stanley Ravitz opened his first corner store on Broad and Susquehanna streets in Philadelphia. In 1968 he moved the business into South Jersey, establishing the family’s first supermarket at the intersection of Chapel Avenue and Kings Highway in Cherry Hill. Sons Ron and Steve entered the family business in the late 70’s. Consequently, in 1984, they became a member of the Wakefern Food Corporation. The rest, as they say, is history. With five ShopRites and one PriceRite in Burlington and Camden counties, the fourth generation is fully in place and running the business. As part of the 50 year celebration, Ravitz Family Markets ShopRites will award a $500 ShopRite Gift Card to one GRAND PRIZE winner and $50 ShopRite Gift Cards to an additional 50 lucky shoppers. Cent’anni, Jason, Shawn and Brett!

Congratulations to the New Jersey Food Council’s (NJFC) recently graduated 2018 leadership development class. A reception at the Molly Pitcher Inn in Red Bank, NJ was held in late September. Launched in 2014, the Food Council Leadership Development Program provides training for future leaders who have a passion for working in the food industry, possess an interest in the dynamics and trends of government, and want to make a difference in the direction of the industry. This year’s class included: Matthew Avallone, Krasdale Foods; Ernest Benson, Liberty Coca-Cola Beverages; Stephanie Duffy, Stop & Shop Supermarkets; April Ensinger, Earth Friendly Products; Tammy Hosgood, Wegmans Food Markets; Lindsey Inserra, Inserra Supermarkets; Chrissy Kreber, Wegmans Food Markets; and Ankur Patel, Stop & Shop Supermarkets. In other NJFC news, president Linda Doherty has been recognized as one of the 2018 Top 25 Leading Brand Builders of the state by Leading Women Entrepreneurs (LWE), New Jersey. LWE is a networking organization that recognizes outstanding women in business and strives for their overall advancement. In addition to her position at NJFC, Linda serves as chair of the state WIC advisory committee, vice chair of NJ Clean Communities Council, strategic board member of the Food Processors Association, member of Trenton Rescue Mission senior executive council, sector representative on infrastructure advisory committee, and member of NJ Child Labor Law Enforcement Advisory Board. A tip of the hat to you, Linda!

The Genuardi Family Foundation (GFF) has announced that Beth Genuardi Borrelli has been elected as the president of the board of directors, effective immediately. Beth has served on the board of directors since 2004 as a representative of the “fourth generation” of the family. The foundation was fortunate to have Beth acting as its program director during the past year to administer grants and oversee operations during our transition year. Beth assumes the role from Larry Genuardi, a founding board member who has served as president since 2008. Larry was elected as the vice president to support Beth and to ensure continuity of leadership. At the same time, the GFF announced the appointment of Marisa Ferst as the new executive director of the foundation. Marisa has served as the executive director of ElderNet of Lower Merion and Narberth since 2015, where she started as a social worker in 2011. She earned dual Master of Social Service and Master of Law and Social Policy degrees from Bryn Mawr College Graduate School of Social Work and Research. The mission of the GFF is “to support the development of healthy individuals, families and communities by promoting self-sufficiency, hard work and generosity with a commitment to caring for the most vulnerable in our communities.” Thanks for all you do!


In celebration of the fifth Annual Food Marketing Hall of Honor, Saint Joseph’s University (SJU) will recognize two extraordinary alumni for their demonstrated achievement and contributions to the food industry. The induction ceremony and networking reception will take place November 13 from 5:00-7:30 p.m. in the Campbell Library on the SJU campus. The inductees for 2018 are: Mike Sherlock, senior vice president and chief product marketing officer at Wawa; and posthumously, Bruno Garisto, who was the vice president of center store merchandising and sales at Weis Markets prior to his death in 2012. Recognition is also being given to two Rising Stars, both recent graduates of SJU’s department of food marketing who have made a difference early in their careers: Joe O’Connor, SJU ’06, who is the director of sales responsible for the consumer product business in the Northeast for Hormel; and Claire Tedesco, SJU ’15, who is responsible for all U.S. operations for protein and dairy as an associate category manager at Hello Fresh. To register for the event, go to The cost is $50.00 per person.

Congratulations to Procacci Brothers their recent golf tournament benefiting “Estrella Naciente” (Rising Star) scholarship program which raised $85,000. “Estrella Naciente” provides college scholarships to Hispanic graduates of Bridgeton High School. The school is located right near the Procacci farming operation in Cedarville, NJ. Kudos to Gabriella Procacci who did an awesome job at the helm of the second annual outing held at the Medford Village Country Club.

Birthday shout outs for the creepy month of October go to: Chad Vilotti, Liscio’s Bakery; Mike Keba Jr., Giant/Martin’s; Charles Schuster, retired from RMG; Frank Nardi, retired from Wakefern; Ray Nemeth, Snyder’s/Lance; Justine Giordano, Vincent Giordano Company; Jeff Ghajar, Goya Foods; Mike Villari, Citterio; and Food Trade News alumna Nina Weiland. Buon compleanno a tutti!


Quote of the month: “It isn’t an experiment if you know how it is going to turn out.” Jeff Bezos


Maria can be reached at