Kings Food Market celebrates latest grand reopening

HILLSDALE, NJ — Kings Food Market, an upscale supermarket chain serving customers throughout New Jersey, New York and Connecticut, debuted its latest newly renovated location, here, on Feb. 6 with the help of Kings’ President and CEO Judy Spires, COO Richard Durante, Store Manager Gerry Staub, and Hillsdale Mayor Max Arnowitz.

“We are here to celebrate the grand reopening of this Hillsdale store,” Spires proudly announced to attendees of the celebration, which included store employees, community members and eager customers alike. “Today starts a brand new era.”DSC 3375Paul Kneeland, vice president of produce, meat, seafood and floral for Kings Food Markets, Judy Spires, president and chief executive officer, and Hillsdale Store Manager Gerry Staub.

The celebration kicked off on a high note, as Kings employee Charles McCleese Jr. belted out the National Anthem, which was followed by a round of applause and a few words from other prominent team members and attendees.

“Through it all, we persevered,” remarked Mayor Arnowitz, noting there were some difficulties along the way, mainly due to weather conditions. “Kings’ products are the freshest, and the personnel can’t be beat.”

A monetary donation to the Helping Hand Food Pantry in Hillsdale, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing food to those in need throughout the community, was also presented at the event. In addition to the donation, Kings’ will be hosting a one-week food drive for the pantry as part of the company’s “Act Against Hunger” initiative.

“We love Kings, and we love all the customers that come here,” shared Lois Kohen, a representative of Helping Hand Food Pantry.

A contribution of $500 was also presented to the local fire department as a token of Kings’ appreciation for keeping the community safe.

And of course, no Kings’ grand reopening would be complete without its signature pasta-ribbon cutting by store employees, followed by the slicing of some celebratory cake.

From start to finish, the remodeling of Kings’ Hillsdale location took about eight weeks, noted Staub, who added he couldn’t be more excited and proud of his store and team.

The newly remodeled store features an updated floral section displaying both rare varieties and treasured classics; an in-store café, complete with a lounge area, ready-to-eat dishes, Wi-Fi and TV; an expanded artisanal cheese section, which offers more than 200 gourmet cheeses, as well as expanded mezze and olive bars and an updated salad bar; an enhanced sushi section, with the freshest seafood around; and even two full-time in-house chefs on hand to prepare customers favorite dishes and meals.

Last but certainly not least, the new Kings’ store features a beautiful and bountiful display of the freshest produce available, ready and awaiting customers as they enter the building.

“When you walk in you can’t miss this produce department -- it’s unbelievable,” exclaimed Durante, noting that Kings’ offers more organic items than any other store in the community.

The newly renovated Hillsdale store is part of Kings’ company-wide rebranding initiative, which aims to please its customers’ ever-changing demands and needs. Next on the makeover list will be the chain’s Whitehouse Station, NJ, location.

New Jersey officials address State Agricultural Convention

ATLANTIC CITY, NJ — In one of many highlights of New Jersey's 100th annual State Agricultural Convention, Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno and New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Douglas H. Fisher addressed about 500 people during the dinner banquet Wednesday evening, Feb. 4, at the Tropicana Casino & Resort, here.

"This is a person who understands and really supports this industry," Fisher said in his introduction of Lt. Gov. Guadagno.NJconv1849New Jersey Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno (center) with New Jersey Assistant Secretary of Agriculture Al Murray and Secretary of Agriculture Douglas H. Fisher just prior to the dinner banquet Wednesday evening, Feb. 4, in Atlantic City, NJ. (Photo by Gordon M. Hochberg)

In her remarks, Guadagno said that she looked forward to the expanding future of agriculture and encouraged the development of programs to educate the next generation of innovative farmers. "At this moment, we are currently exploring ways in which the state and its partners can increase STEM-Ag education initiatives to keep pace with the changing nature of agriculture and ensure that we have talented and qualified farmers who will literally feed the world in decades to come," she said.

She congratulated those assembled "on your 100th convention," even as she added, "I think the issue today is the future." The state's agricultural industry needs to make sure that "young people continue in farming" to keep the industry alive and thriving. "Farming today is not going to look like farming 10 years from now," she stated.

Hosted in conjunction with the Vegetable Growers Association of New Jersey's convention and trade show, the State Agricultural Convention brings together industry representatives to share best practices, attend seminars and present awards to outstanding leaders in agriculture.

"The New Jersey State Agriculture Convention brings delegates from all aspects of agriculture together to set policy for the coming year," said Secretary Fisher. "The Department of Agriculture also brings important information to delegates, such as encouraging farmers to get involved with the Farm to School program and Made with Jersey Fresh initiative. The convention strengthens our industry and sets goals the department works all year long to accomplish."

Agriculture is New Jersey's third-largest industry. In 2012, the state's 9,071 farms generated sales totaling $1.14 billion, according to a Feb. 5 NJDA press release. With 715,057 acres of farmland, the Garden State produces more than 100 varieties of fruits and vegetables that are enjoyed throughout the Northeast, in Canada and globally.

"The New Jersey State Agricultural Convention is the most important gathering of the year for the agriculture community, providing a direction for the industry for the next year," said Joseph Maugeri, president of the Vegetable Growers Association of New Jersey. "It also is an opportunity to learn about the issues facing agriculture and gain knowledge through the Vegetable Growers Association's workshops and the State Board's presentations."

SuperValu to host second national sales show

Following the success of its inaugural national sales show in 2014, SuperValu Inc. will host the 2015 National Expo this August in St. Paul, MN. year’s show will have an expanded emphasis on fresh departments and products.

This year’s event will take place Aug. 11-13 at the RiverCentre in downtown St. Paul and is open to the more than 2,000 independent retail customers served by SuperValu, as well as hundreds of vendors and industry professionals.

“Our first national sales expo was a great success, helping us to increase sales and make stronger connections with our retail customers and our vendors,” Janel Haugarth, SuperValu’s executive vice president overseeing independent business and supply chain services, said in a press release. “We’ve gathered insights and feedback from last year’s event, and are excited to build on that for an even bigger and better show for 2015.”

Nearly 1,500 retailers attended SuperValu’s first national expo in 2014, which featured 145,000 square feet of show floor space, 330 exhibitors and 25 education seminars. This year’s show will include the valuable “Education Day” offering consumer insights, training seminars and other resources for operators.

Additionally, the popular Master Marketer Awards ceremony, which rewards the best marketing campaigns across SuperValu’s vast independent business network, will highlights this year’s event.

SuperValu said that additional details about the show, including registration information and daily agendas, will be shared as the event gets closer.

Potandon ramps up Valentine’s Day promotions of Klondike Royale

In support of retail advertising for the upcoming Valentine’s Day holiday, Potandon Produce has enhanced its newest advertising icon, the Klondike Fairies.Royale-Valentie-Fairies

The Klondike Fairies adorn the bags and point-of-sale materials on one of Potandon’s newest potato varieties, Klondike Royale. Blooming Roses and splashes of red were added to give the fairies a holiday twist. The icon will be used for print ads and on social media for a limited time in support of the holiday of love.

The Klondike Royale potato is a yellow-fleshed potato with violet kisses over the surface of the skin, packaged in three- and five-pound bags.

“The fairies and product tagline, ‘Taste the Love in Every Bite,’ are reaching consumers emotionally and helping to drive sales,” Ralph Schwartz, vice president of marketing, sales and innovation, said in a press release. “With large-scale distribution just getting underway, this new variety is getting positive attention for its great plate appeal and wonderful eating experience.”

NWA convention reflects association’s eye toward the future

The National Watermelon Association’s annual convention will be held Feb. 16-19 in La Quinta, CA, with an underlying theme of planning for the future for the industry and the association.

“Our keynote speaker is Sarah Sladek, and she is probably the foremost global expert on Generations X, Y and Z,” Bob Morrissey, executive director of the NWA, told The Produce News. “We are very excited to have her speak and to remain on for a couple of months as a consultant for the association.”

Sladek is the founder and chief executive officer of XYZ University, a future-focused management consulting company that specializes in helping organizations engage members of Generations X, Y and Z.Sarah-SladekSarah Sladek

“Her company has expertise on these groups, and she has studied our industry and will be prepared to make sure we are heading in the right direction,” Morrissey added.

He said that Generation Y, which is comprised of people age 19-32, is 81 million strong, making it the largest group in the country. Additionally, it represents the largest voting bloc.

“Generation Y is literally changing the entire landscape of our world, from what and how we eat to what we watch on television to how we get our news to how we embrace organizations,” said Morrissey.

Morrissey added that members of Generation Y have a huge commitment to volunteerism, but it differs greatly from the volunteer spirit exhibited by past generations.

“The baby boomers volunteered their time to associations like the NWA and United Fresh based on doing something for the greater good of the industry,” said Morrissey. “But members of Generation Y want to see a value proposition, such as how it will help the organization and the planet, and what it will mean socially and environmentally.

“Sarah will address our membership to answer some of these questions and she will be able to specifically compare Generation Y with some of the other generations, to help us get a better understanding of the younger people who will be coming up into leadership positions in the future,” he added.

Aside from her relevant perspective on the generational differences, Morrissey said it is valuable to have someone from outside agriculture present a different viewpoint to the group.

The association also will offer a glimpse into its future with the unveiling of its new logo and web domain at the convention.

“We went through a global design contest last summer and had our board select their top three choices out of final 10,” said Morrissey. “We then put those three out to a member vote, so this will be member-voted and member-selected logo. We are very excited about releasing it to our members, but we are keeping a tight lid on it until we unveil it.”

Other highlights of the convention include a presentation by Steve Troxler, commissioner of agriculture in North Carolina, who is the past chairman of the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture. Troxler will speak about the upcoming FSMA rules and what they will mean to the industry.

Additionally, the convention will feature seven state watermelon queens who will vie for the honor of serving as National Watermelon Queen for 2015. And the traditional watermelon seed spitting contest and watermelon eating contest will keep attendees entertained.

“We have John Corsaro of the Giumarra Companies returning to defend his crown as the watermelon eating champ,” said Morrissey. “It will be a lot of fun.”

A silent auction and a live auction also will be held during the week, and Morrissey expects the variety of goods and services will draw a lot of interest from attendees.

“And this is the first time in the association’s 101 years that we have held our convention in the desert,” said Morrissey. “We are very excited about the new venue and we are expecting between 400 and 500 attendees will come to enjoy the beautiful resort, outstanding weather and our informative and entertaining program. It should be a great event.”