METRO BEAT

Greetings everyone! It looks like we survived the winter season. Spring is just a week away and I cannot wait for the warmer weather to kick in and see more and more of you out and about. 

One of the more terrific industry events, as well as tug at your heart-strings events, took place recently at Terrace on the Park in Flushing, NY. The eighth annual Vision for the Future Visionary Award dinner continued to show significant growth since its inception, primarily due to the efforts of Jason and Jennifer Ferreira of Ferreira Foodtown, and the food industry at large. The dinner recognized Rudy Fuertes of Fine Fare, and past NSA president, with its Visionary Award and raised $260,000 to bring the eightyear total to more than $2.5 million dollars in the fight to cure blindness. Jason and Jennifer’s son JJ was diagnosed with Leber congenital amaurosis or LCA, and early onset retinitis pigmentosa (RP). For those who have attended the event annually, it was truly touching to finally “meet JJ” through a video thank you from JJ with help from his little sister Amelia. JJ is now eight years old, and through the work of the Foundation Fighting Blindness and the staff of medical experts and researchers, has witnessed significant improvement with the ability to interact with his peers and handle everyday situations. Another highlight of the dinner this year was the “dining in the dark” component. 

Everyone was given a special light-blocking mask to wear during the dinner portion of the event. The mask gave everyone a sensory awareness and a first-hand glimpse of what it is like for those who are completely blind and really took the event to another level. If you haven’t attended the dinner in the past, you should definitely mark it down to attend next year. Well done to everyone involved!! 

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Lineage Logistics, a Michigan based provider of temperature-controlled logistics solutions, has acquired Perth Amboy, NJ based Preferred Freezer Services network of temperature-controlled warehouses. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed. “We are thrilled to welcome Preferred into the Lineage family of companies,” Greg Lehmkuhl, CEO and president of Lineage, said. “Bringing their first-class management team, deep industry experience and network of strategically located facilities into our organization will enable us to provide best-in-class service offerings for customers worldwide. Lineage is now better positioned than ever to meet the needs — and exceed the expectations — of food customers on a truly global scale.” Once the deal has closed, the new company will have more than 1.3 billion cubic feet of temperature-controlled capacity at more than 200 facilities and its footprint will span North America, Europe and Asia. “Joining Lineage will bring Preferred to the next level of customer service by broadening our global reach while also significantly expanding our innovation capabilities,” John Galiher, CEO of Preferred, said. “I am tremendously proud of the company we have built and longstanding customer relationships we have fostered since founding Preferred Freezer Services in 1989. We have found the ideal partner in Lineage, and I look forward to working closely with Greg, as well as the Lineage and Bay Grove teams, to offer our expanded customer base the best services and capabilities in the industry.” The deal is expected to close in the second quarter of this year. 

Congratulations to the team at RDD Associates on being appointed to represent Steiner’s Coffee Cake of New York in the metro New York/New Jersey market. Steiner’s Coffee Cake is a certified womenowned business making gluten free, non-GTMO and nutfree baked goods that taste great! I had the opportunity to meet company president Jen Steiner Pool and her amazing mom (and director of R&D) Nancy Steiner at the recent Marcum LLP Food & Beverage summit in NYC. Their line of outstanding products was voted the winner of the emerging companies contest at the event by the hundreds of attendees, and it was truly warranted. They have come up with a formula that doesn’t sacrifice taste, texture or ingredients and it truly is a game breaker in gluten free products. Emily Korn will be handling the account for RDD. Congratulations to both parties. 

It was nice to hear that Rich Powers has landed a job with Pintail Coffee as director of sales. Rich was the longtime sales manager with Wise Snacks in the New York area, but when the company went through an ownership change, he was unfortunately left without a position. He worked with Bickel’s Snacks before bringing his expertise to Pintail Coffee. In his new position he will be responsible for new business development and manage current customers for the Long Island based manufacturer of branded, private label and co-packed coffee products. Good luck Richie!!! 

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Way to go to everyone involved at Bozzuto’s for once again putting together one of the best selling shows on the East Coast. Michael Bozzuto and his entire team do not miss a detail in ensuring that their customers, vendors and all attendees are treated like dignitaries while at the event which was held at the Foxwoods Resort & Casino. A centerpiece of the event is the annual Bozzuto Retailer Excellence awards show and over the last few years the much anticipated video intro “mini-movie”. I really think that this year’s “mini-movie” was the best one yet and suffice to say, if there ever is a sequel to Bohemian Rapsody that just won Academy awards, we have the perfect stand-ins for the members of Queen in Steve Heggelke, George Motel, Dan Brock and Steve Traun! Well done all!! 

And we would be remiss if we didn’t also shout out to the Key Food staff who once again put together a stellar selling show at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum on Long Island. Show coordinator Wayne Kovacs always seems to be up to the task of “raising the bar” a little bit higher with each show and his team and all of the Key Food HQ staff really did a terrific job of meeting those expectations once again. Needless to say, this recent show was “out of the world” (just look at some of the pictures from the show in this issue of Food Trade News). For any vendor who hasn’t experienced a Key Food show, I would strongly recommend that you have to go at least once!!! 

It was almost five years ago to the day that we wrote in this space that “a familiar site came back to the northern New Jersey landscape when the Marcal Paper sign was lit up again after being dark for many years. Marcal’s current owner, Soundview Paper Co., turned on the lights on top of the factory right off I-80 in early February prior to the region’s hosting of the Super Bowl at MetLife Stadium. A crowd of local dignitaries, Marcal customers and even members of the Marcalus founding family, were on hand to witness the lighting. Well for those who hadn’t heard, the venerable old building burned to the ground in a nine-alarm fire in the bitter cold at the end of January. And this time, it doesn’t look like the old Marcal sign will rise again over Route 80. Company officials (and inside sources we have spoken to) have not stated any concrete plans on rebuilding and instead have let rampant conversations continue about a relocation to other areas. We’ll let you know as we hear. 

Here’s hoping I’ll see you out at some of the many events coming up over the next few weeks. Take a peek at out trade calendar for more information and, as always, you can reach me at 201.250.2217 or kevin@foodtradenews.com.