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The New York Produce Show And Conference Announces Retail
"Thought Leaders" Panel...
Be In New York City November 7-9, 2011

Jim Prevor’s Perishable Pundit, September 7, 2011

It was over a year ago that we began the establishment of a new industry institution with a simple announcement:

New York, NY — The Eastern Produce Council and PRODUCE BUSINESS magazine announced today their collaboration to launch The New York Produce Show And Conference….

“New York City is the epicenter of the region that buys more fresh produce than any location in the country,” explains Dean Holmquist, director of produce and floral for Foodtown, Inc., and president of the Eastern Produce Council. “The extraordinary diversity of the population in this region assures a dynamic market for mainstream, ethnic and specialty produce,” points out John McAleavey, executive director of the Eastern Produce Council.

Paul Kneeland, vice president of produce/floral at Kings Super Markets and vice president of the Eastern Produce Council, indicated that “the sophisticated clientele of the northeast region combines with a plethora of quality retailers, restaurants, foodservice distributors and wholesalers to introduce product from local growers, growers across North America and growers from around the world.”

Jim Prevor, founder and editor-in-chief of PRODUCE BUSINESS magazine and the online PerishablePundit.com, celebrated the establishment of such a high caliber event in a region long lacking its own trade show and conference: “My great grandfather, Jacob Prevor, emigrated to America and established a wholesale facility in the old Wallabout Produce Market in Brooklyn. My grandfather was a wholesaler and auction buyer in the old Washington Street Produce Market in Manhattan. My father, Michael Prevor, was an original tenant when The Hunts Point Market opened in the Bronx. Over the decades we operated farms and had supermarkets in the region and worked hard to make the ports and airports of the region major hubs for the import and export of fresh produce.

“It is an incredibly exciting moment that we should have the opportunity to join together with our friends at the Eastern Produce Council, the preeminent organization in the region, to bring a world-class event to the region, and it is an honor that we can bring the industry together in a city known both as the ‘Capital of the World’ and the ‘Big Apple’.”

“Jim Prevor has built a reputation for industry thought-leadership that is recognized around the world, and PRODUCE BUSINESS magazine was launched on the Hunts Point Market,” said Robert Goldstein, owner/president of Genpro Inc., and secretary of the Eastern Produce Council, “so the board of directors of the Eastern Produce Council voted unanimously to join hands with Jim and his team at PRODUCE BUSINESS and the online Perishable Pundit to better serve this region with a high-end trade show and conference.”

“The Eastern Produce Council represents the most important players in the region,” said Ken Whitacre, vice president of publishing at PRODUCE BUSINESS and PerishablePundit.com. “Their engagement with the event ensures that exhibitors will encounter a cross section of the movers and shakers that make the industry a vibrant and robust contributor to the national and international industry. We are honored to work together with such an important association and with such an instrumental membership.”

Both PRODUCE BUSINESS and the Eastern Produce Council are committed to enhancing the industry by providing the region with a world-class venue for marketing, education and media exposure. That venue is The New York Produce Show And Conference.

In the end, the event was an extraordinary addition to the pantheon of industry events. In the heart of the biggest buying market in the country, we conjured up a sold–out trade show, a fantastic conference, a media and “consumer influencer” program, a student and faculty outreach program, chef demonstrations and recipe development for the trade, plus tours of the industry. It was really something quite extraordinary.

If you didn’t make it last year, here is a little video clip that gives a flavor for the event:

Of course, when confronted with the overwhelming success of the event, the leaders of the Eastern Produce Council and your friends at PRODUCE BUSINESS had only one reaction: A joint vow to make the 2011 event even better.

In the days to come, we will be unveiling plans for another extraordinary event: A larger and more comprehensive trade show, a new Global Trade event that salutes the New York region’s traditional role as the gateway to and from America, a Foodservice event focused on the restaurant scene in Manhattan, and new outreach to the media and consumer influencers that impact demand for our products. Plus there will be new and more extensive tours of this vibrant region.

We established a tradition last year and we will continue it this year with an announcement first of our Retail “Thought Leaders” Panel. These key retailers, a “Who’s Who” of the industry, help define what actually happens in this dynamic marketplace. We are incredibly grateful that they are willing to step up and share their insights and intelligence with the trade. The Pundit will personally question these insightful leaders at the Keynote Breakfast on Tuesday, November, 8, 2011:

ERIC BEELITZ
Director of Produce & Floral
The Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company

 

Eric started his career in 1973 as a produce clerk with Pathmark Stores Inc. After graduating Union County College with a degree in Criminal Justice he became a produce manager in many of the high volume stores in the Company. His produce expertise quickly led to several Store Management positions. For several years Eric was in charge of training future store managers in all areas of running a succesful produce department.

Eric was promoted into Produce Merchandising as a Category Manager in 1989. After developing an extensive produce category management program at Pathmark Eric was named the Category Manager of the year for the company in 1992. He became a Senior Category Manager in 1995 due to his team building approach to the business. His ability to train and develop other members of the produce merchandising team for future success is what drives him.

When A & P purchased Pathmark in 2008 Eric became an integral part in making the merger successful. In 2011 Eric was named Director of Produce and Floral for Waldbaums, The Food Emporium, A & P, Pathmark, Food Basics, and Superfresh stores. In his current position Eric is responsible for all merchandising, procurement, pricing, and promotion for all of these banners. Eric is married and has two sons.

RICH CONGER
Director of Produce
King Kullen Supermarkets

 

Rich has 30 years of experience in various positions in the produce industry. He is now responsible for the produce departments of 46 stores – 42 in Long Island and 4 in Staten Island.

Rich recently helped develop an extensive locally grown program that includes Long Island growers and New York State apple growers.

DAVE CORSI
Vice President of Produce & Floral
Wegmans Food Markets

Dave joined the Wegmans family 25 years ago, where his early experience was as a Store Manager in the Southern Tier region of New York for 5 years. After his Store Operations experience, in 1993 he relocated to Rochester, New York, to work as a Produce Category Manager.

In 2000, Dave took over Produce Operations and is the Vice President Produce and Floral, responsible for procurement, pricing, merchandising and promotion. In 2003, industry members nominated Dave and Wegmans as “Retailer of the Year” by Produce Merchandising magazine. Then, in 2005, Dave was selected as Vance Publishing’s “Marketer of the Year,” where he was honored for merchandising excellence, setting high standards for others to emulate, and his leadership role in the produce industry. In 2007 Dave was awarded the Perishable Pundit's Single Step Award honoring Dave for his role in advancing the cause of food safety in the industry.

Dave served on the USDA Fruits and Vegetable Advisory Committee for 4 years. Today, Dave serves as the Past Chair for the Produce Marketing Association.

JOE DELORENZO
Director of Produce Merchandising & Operations
Alpha 1 Marketing/Krasdale Foods

Joe has over 40 years experience in the supermarket industry. As Director of Produce Merchandising and Operations for Krasdale Foods in White Plains, NY, Joe is responsible for what goes on and what goes in the produce departments in over 300 stores in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Pennsylvania under the C Town, Bravo and AIM supermarket banners.

Joe is a second-generation retailer. His father worked at Food City in Shrewsbury, NJ, and Joe started working with him at the age of 16.

Before working at Alpha 1/Krasdale, Joe worked at Foodtown for 25 years. He has served as president and vice president of the Eastern Produce Council and is currently on the Board of Directors of CIFI – Catholic Institute of the Food Industry. He was awarded Man of the Year by the New Jersey Growers Association in 2000.

KEITH FROSCENO
Vice President Produce & Floral Merchandising
Price Chopper Supermarkets

As VP of Produce and Floral Merchandising at the 124–store, Schenectady, NY-based chain since 2006, Keith is responsible for determining optimal display space and creating masterful merchandising that attracts the most sales throughout Price Chopper’s diverse 6-state reach.

The bulk of Keith’s supermarket experience comes from working 20 years at Bozzuto’s, where he left the company as Vice President Produce and Floral Merchandising in 2005. Prior to taking on his current position at Price Chopper, Keith was Vice President of Produce Sales at W. Newell/Supervalu for one year.

Overall, Keith has been in the supermarket business for more than 35 years. He has also served on various PMA Boards and was President of the Governor’s Council of Agricultural Development in Connecticut, where he lives with his wife and two daughters.

DEAN HOLMQUIST
Director of Produce & Floral
Foodtown Supermarkets

As Director of Produce & Floral, Dean has demonstrated more than 25 years of progressive produce experience in the retail food industry. His current responsibilities at Foodtown are to direct sales, merchandising and operational activities for 65 member stores in New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania.

Dean is currently President of the Eastern Produce Council, a position held since April, 2009. Before that, Dean held the position of Vice President of the Eastern Produce Council from 2007-2008. Dean has been an EPC Board member since 2001.

Dean was awarded the Scholarship for Leadership Excellence from PRODUCE BUSINESS to attend the PMA FIT’s Leadership Symposium in Dallas, Texas, in January 2010.

DERRICK JENKINS
Vice President of Produce & Floral
Wakefern Food Corporation

Starting his career at Wakefern in 1982, Derrick got his first taste of what the world of produce was all about when he worked as a junior accountant reporting to the produce division. From that position, he rose up the ranks to his current position of Vice President of Produce and Floral.

Derrick credits his mentors, Herman Fadem and Al Ferri: “They worked with me at the early stages of my career and helped me lay a foundation upon which I could build a successful personal and professional career.

Derrick is a member of the Eastern Produce Council and serves on the Board of PMA. He is married and has four children.

PAUL KNEELAND
Vice President of Produce & Floral
Kings Super Markets

An industry veteran for more than 29 years and previously the Director of Produce and Floral for Roche Bros. Supermarkets in Boston, Massachusetts, Paul has been in his position at Kings since June 2007. In addition to overseeing produce and floral for 24 Kings Super Markets in New Jersey and one store in Long Island, Paul also oversees produce and floral for 6 Balducci’s Food Lover’s Markets with stores in Connecticut, New York, Maryland, and Virginia.

Paul is the past First Vice President of the New England Produce Council and was chairman of its annual expo for the first seven years. Currently, he is Vice President of the Eastern Produce Council and chair of its New York Produce Show and Conference committee.

Paul holds degrees in Business Management from Boston College as well as Northeastern University in Boston. He was the recipient of the PRODUCE BUSINESS/New England Produce Council’s Retailer of the Year award in 2005.

CARMINE NAPOLITANO
Senior Vice President Perishables-Produce Director
Gristedes Supermarkets

An industry veteran for more than 42 years, Carmine has been in his position at Gristedes Supermarkets since 2003. He is responsible for sales, merchandising and gross profits for all perishable departments.

Carmine started his career with Mayfair Supermarkets and soon moved up to become Vice President of Produce and Floral. While at Mayfair, he implemented the first fog/misting application on the East Coast, put in place European-style merchandising tables, juice and melon bars, and frost top salad bar and drop-ledge European refrigerated cases.

Carmine was formerly on the Board of Directors of the Eastern Product Council. He was a member of a Retail Merchandising Share Group, which included 18 members from the United States and Canada. He was featured in the Produce News as a spokesperson for the Pride in New York Program that supports all New York fresh products.

JOHN VASAPOLI
Director of Produce Merchandising
D'Agostino Supermarkets

John is responsible for all sales-related decisions for the produce department, such as item selection, quality control, presentation standards, and pricing.

In 1972, John started his career at D’Agostino as a part-time stock clerk. A year later, he was promoted to assistant store manager. In 1978, he was promoted to the position of store manager. During this period, John successfully ran a number of stores throughout Manhattan.

In 1985, John was promoted to the position of produce director. Since that time John has also had stints as director of deli/bakery and meat/seafood, where he gained valuable knowledge in the workings of these perishable departments. Most recently, John has also taken on the responsibility as manager of food safety and emergency planning.

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All of us at the Eastern Produce Council and PRODUCE BUSINESS are deeply appreciative that these retail executives, whose time is always in such demand, have made The New York Produce Show and Conference a priority.

We hope you will as well.

If you would like some additional information, here is a small brochure we prepared.

The event website is here.

Buy-side, sell-side, media and education attendees, as well as those registering spouses and companions for the spouse/companion program — organized and hosted by Mrs. Pundit and featuring High-Tea at the Plaza — can all register at this link.

We have arranged many travel discounts.

And have a discounted room block at the Hilton New York.

There are still a few exhibiting opportunities left and you can let us know about your interest here.

We will soon be announcing our list of valued sponsors, without whom the event would not be possible. We still have some wonderful opportunities for sponsors to step in and assert their industry leadership and woo this vital market. If you would like to receive more information on how your organization can be part of this great new industry institution, please let us know here.

We look forward to seeing you in New York.

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