Unprecedented Panel Of Retailers Will Keynote General Session Of New York Produce Show And Conference
Jim Prevor’s Perishable Pundit, September 20, 2012
It was over two years ago that we began the establishment of a new industry institution with an 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.,[now Allegiance Retail Services],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 to the inaugural event, here is a little video clip that gives a flavor of 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.
So last year, we co-located with the Global Trade Symposium and the "Ideation Fresh” Foodservice Forum and added a roster of Culinary Schools to our Student/Faculty Outreach Program. In the end, we had visitors from every continent except Antarctica and a vibrant ‘Celebration of Fresh’ in the Capital of the world. All this is back this year, just ramped up to an even higher caliber.
Over the next few weeks, we will be unveiling plans for another extraordinary event: The 2012 edition of The New York Produce Show and Conference. Right now we can say that the event will include a larger and more comprehensive trade show located at a new venue where everyone can all be in one room, on one level. There will be expanded 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 including opportunities to see retailers, wholesalers, distributors and urban agriculture operations.
The dates have changed slightly as well, and now New York will be at its peak, with the Christmas tree up at Rockefeller Center, the Rockettes kicking their heels at Radio City Music Hall and the shop windows on 5th Avenue all decked out for Christmas. We’ve arranged for extended hotel dates before and after the event for those looking to bring their families along.
At the founding of this event we established a tradition, 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.
This year we have spiced things up a bit with the addition of Craig Carlson, a Past President of the Eastern Produce Council when he was with Pathmark. He now has a major role in the foodservice industry as the Senior Vice President Category Management Produce at US Foods. So we will be adding that perspective. We also still have some surprise announcements about the panel that will be coming out in the weeks ahead. The Pundit will personally question these insightful leaders at the Keynote Breakfast on Wednesday, December, 5, 2012.
The industry owes a note of thanks to the industry leaders who have volunteered to participate in this panel. Their willingness to share their insight is a gift which makes this industry better, year after year. We thank, in advance, the members of the 2012 Retail “Thought Leaders” Panel at The New York Produce Show and Conference:
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.
CRAIG CARLSON Senior Vice President
Category Management Produce
U.S. Foods, Inc.
Craig has been in the retail industry for 25 years. He began his career at Cub Foods in 1987, where he worked his way up from produce clerk to director of produce operations of The Penn Traffic Group. Since joining U.S. Foods in October, 2011, he has developed and effectively implemented a strategic produce plan that provides the company with a powerful produce category sure to be a major component in growing sales and profitability.
Craig also worked as senior director of produce at Wal-Mart for a little over three years, where he collaborated in the development of alternate formats such as Supermercado de Walmart and Neighborhood Markets. He spent nearly 11 years as the vice president of produce and floral merchandising at Pathmark Inc.
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.
JIM CORBY Vice President of Produce
Jim Corby is Vice President of Produce for Delhaize America. He is responsible to lead the design, development and execution of business plans to drive sales of produce, grow profits and reduce costs.
With more than 40 years of experience in the supermarket industry, Jim most recently was Vice President of Produce for the Food Lion family. He joined Food Lion in 2000 as Director of Produce Merchandising. He additionally has held various leadership roles with other grocery retailers.
Active in the industry, Jim is serving on the Produce Marketing Association Board of Directors, and has served on the USDA Fruit and Vegetable Advisory Committee and the Produce Marketing Association retail board.
Jim has a bachelor’s degree in administrative studies from the University of California at Riverside. He and his wife live in Salisbury, North Carolina, and have three grown children.
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.
MARC GOLDMAN Produce Director
Morton Williams Supermarkets
Marc started his career at Waldbaums in 1978, where he worked for 10 years until opening his own foodservice wholesale business. Eventually, he took a position with Food Emporium, where he worked for three years.
Marc joined Morton Williams for the first time as a produce manager more than 15 years ago. While he briefly left the company to join Shoprite, he returned to his current position at Morton Williams five years ago.
DEAN HOLMQUIST Director of Produce & Floral
Allegiance Retail Services
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 Allegiance are to direct sales, merchandising and operational activities for more than 80 Foodtown-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.
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 more than 25 Kings Super Markets in New Jersey and 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.
TERRY MURPHY Produce Procurement Manager
Wakefern Food Corporation
Terry began his career in the food business over 20 years ago working as a business analyst for the Wakefern Food Corporation. Over the years, he has held jobs in different capacities throughout the organization, including that of a Category Manager in the Produce Division.
Currently, Terry is the Produce Procurement Manager, managing offices in Elizabeth, NJ, Fresno, CA, and Pompano Beach, FL, for the Wakefern Food Corporation.
Terry has been a member and friend of the Eastern Produce Council for several years and was elected to the Board of Directors in 2009.
A lifelong resident of New Jersey, Terry currently resides in Branchburg, NJ, along with his wife, Laura, and their three children.
CARMINE NAPOLITANO Senior Vice President Perishables-Produce Director
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.
RICHARD STILES Produce Director
Redner's Markets, Inc.
Richard’s responsibilities include overseeing and managing the day-to-day operations in produce, floral, and salad bar departments in Redner’s Markets. He also manages the corporate supervision for produce departments to carry out direction for the merchandising, scheduling and meeting of established sales and budgets for each store.
Dick has been employed with Redner’s since 1993, starting as a store co-director for two years before transitioning into produce supervision. In November, 2006, he was promoted to his current position of produce director.
JOHN VASAPOLI Director of Produce Merchandising
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.
All of us at Produce Business and the Eastern Produce Council 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.
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.
And have a discounted room block at the Sheraton New York and Manhattan At Times Square hotels.
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.