Kevin is VP at Food Trade News with primary responsibility for covering the Metro NY/NJ and New England markets. He has more than 30 years of experience on the CPG side of the retail food business and in media. He can be reached at

Welcome to autumn everyone. The summer season is behind us and it feels like everyone is focusing on ending the year with a flourish. Here’s to hoping it happens.

Good job to the folks at ShopRite of Bay Shore which hosted a ceremonial tree planting at its Bay Shore, Long Island location in mid-September. The event highlighted a sustainability effort and partnership by ShopRite, Kimberly-Clark and One Tree Planted to plant 25,000 trees over the next year in communities where ShopRite stores operate. “We announced in June that ShopRite will plant 25,000 trees and to celebrate that news we are holding a ceremonial tree planting event at our Bay Shore store for our customers,” said Melissa Buonadonna-Hernandez, owner and operator of the ShopRite of Bay Shore. “ShopRite has a strong corporate social responsibility program dedicated to environmental sustainability and we are committed to making a difference in the communities where customers shop, live and play. That’s why we are excited to partner with Kimberly-Clark and One Tree Planted to further those goals with the planting of 25,000 trees over the next year.”

At Kimberly-Clark we care about our people, our communities and the future of our planet. Protecting our forests is just one of the ways we care for the planet and lead the world in essentials for a better life,” said Peggy Murphy, sustainability leader for Kimberly-Clark North America. “We are very proud to partner with ShopRite and One Tree Planted on this project because it is helping to create a sustainable future for the communities where we work and live.”
The Bergen County, NJ retail battleground just had the bar raised a little higher with the opening of the new Stew Leonard’s in Paramus. The 80,000 square foot marvel is located in the Paramus Park Mall at the site of a former Sears and while it is not as large as some of the other six Stew locations (which are 100,000 square feet plus), it plays just like all the other Stew locations, and the people of New Jersey are going to eat it up. The site has been three years in the making and all of the attention to details are fully on display at Stew’s store in New Jersey.


The store features Stew Leonard’s infamous one-way aisle, which winds its way through designated sections for freshly made donuts and coffee, ice cream, flowers, barbecue fare, burgers, sushi, pizza, Asian wok, a hot and cold buffet, a deli counter, seafood, fresh made mozzarella and other cheeses, a butcher shop, produce, dairy, popcorn, cookies, cupcakes, cakes, bagels, a bakery and wine, spirits and beer. In addition to new surprises and animatronics that customers will find in-store, Stew Leonard’s in Paramus will also offer the same signature elements found in the other locations, including the Customer Service Rock of Commitment and the Stew Leonard’s Wishing Well benefitting local non-profits. Since more than 80 percent of the products sold by Stew Leonard’s are fresh, the new store’s production areas were designed as an open concept so that customers can see the store’s culinary teams hard at work. Some departmental highlights include:

Bethy’s Bakery-  named for Stew Leonard Sr.’s daughter Beth Leonard. From the moment customers walk into the new store, they will be greeted by the aroma of fresh bread, warm cookies, hearth-baked bagels and buttery croissants piping hot from the oven. Daily, the new store expects to make and sell almost 500 loaves of freshly baked bread and more than 5,000 cookies.

Dairy – The Leonard family has been in the dairy business for four generations, so they know fresh milk. Stew Leonard’s milk comes straight from award-winning dairy farms in upstate New York and is free from artificial growth hormones (rBST) and antibiotics. Each dairy farm raises its own young stock, grows all the food fed to the cows, and has dedicated veterinarians who attend to the herd. Stew’s dairy section is also home to other award-winning dairy items, including a line of organic products, eggs, butter, yogurt, and more. Daily, the dairy section of the new store in Paramus expects to sell more than 1,000 half gallons of milk.


Butcher Shop – Stew’s Butcher Shop will offer customers a wide selection of meats direct from ranchers in Kansas, Wyoming, and Nebraska, including grass fed products and offerings from Stew Leonard’s antibiotic and hormone free Naked® line of beef, chicken, ham, and turkey.

Deli – Stew Leonard’s deli team makes mozzarella and creamy burrata fresh daily and visits cheese mongers in Wisconsin, New York and Italy.

Produce – Stew Leonard’s buys local fruits and vegetables whenever possible, including from Cichowski Farms in Somerset and Atlantic Blueberry Company in Hammonton. The store will receive truckloads of fresh product direct from the farm, and customers will be able to choose from 250 varieties of just picked fresh fruits and vegetables. Seafood-With more than 30 varieties of fresh caught seafood as well as a selection of locally caught sea scallops, swordfish and tuna. In addition to live lobsters from Stonington, Maine, the fish department also offers wild shrimp from Florida, King Crab Legs and King Salmon from Alaska, and salmon from Maine. Grocery-Stew Leonard’s grocery department offers a mix of national brands, private label, and local favorites.

Mrs. Leonard’s Kitchen – Supervised by chefs who have trained at restaurants nation-wide, the heart of the new store’s open concept kitchen is a hearth-like stone wall. The kitchen boasts ovens, grills, a wok, a rotisserie, and an open prep area for Stew’s culinary team of 50 as they prepare 100+ foods-to-go. The store will also feature a catering department offering a variety of dishes.

And finally, the store will also feature Stew Leonard’s Wines & Spirits of Paramus, which has moved from its former location just down the road to the interior of the Paramus store. Check it out if you are in the northern New Jersey area.

Our condolences to Tony Germano, EVP at Chex Finer Foods, on the tragic passing of his brother Paul Germano on July 31. Paul was a National Grid technician and was struck by a car while on the job. He was 50 years old. He leaves behind a daughter Taylor and a granddaughter Aviana in addition to his mother Theresa and her husband Gary, his brother Tony and his sister Diane. The family asks that any donations in his name be made to All Saints Academy, 12 Day Street, Webster, MA 01570. May he rest in peace.

Kudos to David Mandell and everyone at Man-Dell Key Food, as their store located at 52 Avenue A in Manhattan will launch the AR (augmented reality) component of their new mural right before Labor Day. Earlier this summer, Key Food teamed up with Artolution, an international, community-based public art initiative based in New York City that has partnered with organizations such as, Save the Children, UNICEF, The Anti-Defamation League, amongst others, to create a mural with youth that promotes positive social change, as well as reconciliation and healing through collaborative art making.

For over 80 years, both the Man-Dell Group and Key Food have worked to create stores that reflect New York’s positive urban values. Welcoming diversity, encouraging inclusiveness, and respecting minorities are all part of our longstanding traditions, and with the help of this mural, hope to communicate that to customers and the surrounding communities.

Teenage clients of the non-profit organization KIND (Kids in Need of Defense) worked with artists to design and paint a large-scale public mural to reflect their experiences. Artolution and the teenagers have also teamed up with We Are Royale, a west coast-based creative and digital company, to design and build an augmented reality app that will enable visitors to view animations highlighting the stories of the youth, their life struggles, and their dreams for the future in an innovative and interactive way. For those looking to see the mural the store is located in the East Village of Manhattan. Congrats all.

Mark your calendars for a full weekend of food industry networking and socializing during the first weekend in November. On Friday November 1, the Catholic Institute of the Food Industry (CIFI) will hold its Person of the Year dinner. The annual event will be held at a new venue this year, the beautiful New York Botanical Gardens, in the Bronx, NY, and this year’s honoree will be Gary Rosenthal, EVP/GM of JOH. For information on attending contact Renee Petit at, Bob Jordan at or Mike LaFiandra at

And the following day, November 2, will be the 30th Anniversary Gala for the National Supermarket Association (NSA). The black tie soiree will take place at the NY Marriott Marquis in NYC and is always a first class affair. For information on attending or sponsoring contact the NSA at 718.747.2860 or email them at Well that will do it for now. Check out our calendar for the many events that will be happening in area of the next few weeks.

Hopefully I will see you at some of them and as always you can reach me at 201.250.2217 or