16th Annual People’s Awards

Deli Business honors individuals who have made a significant contribution to the industry, their company and their community.

Q. How has your career evolved over the years? 

A.  In the 35 years I have been doing this, I have held every position in our company, from customer service to head of HR to my current role. Rotating through the entire business has given me a unique perspective on the company and a clear understanding of the roles I am expecting my team to fill.

Q. What positions have you held in industry associations? 

A.  I have served on the executive board of the AABID and held the position of vice chair. I was also an original member of the St. Francis Center for Entrepreneurship Advisory Board.

Q. What is your leadership philosophy?  

A.  Lead by example. Since I have rotated throughout our entire organization, I hope that my leadership and work ethic show people what I hope they bring to our team.

Q. What is the best advice you ever received and why?  

A.  Leadership is top down. Be the leader and mentor you always wished to have. In retail, we are only as good as our team, so it’s up to us to cultivate, motivate and develop a winning culture.

Q. How do you balance your work and personal life?  

A.  Work/life balance is hard for everyone. I am lucky that my husband Pat and my brother Ron are my partners, and we have a great team. We do a few work trips yearly, and my husband and I always try to go together and then tack a few days on to enjoy a few amazing meals and see the local markets.    

Q:  What deli retail trends have impacted the industry most over the last year? 

A.  In today’s no-touch environment, the deli industry is completely different than if you had asked me a year ago. Back then, the trends were beautiful bulk displays of prepared foods, which deli staff then custom packaged for our clients. Today, this is a different business. Packaged grab-and-go in sustainable packaging with minimal handling has become what our deli area is now. I don’t know how long this trend is going to take hold or if it will ever go back to the way we were last year. I am not sure anyone in our industry could have predicted where we are now.

Q: What technology or technical tools are indispensable to you in the workplace and why?  

A.  My phone apps allow my office phone to travel with me; my tablet is crucial in the era of paperless office; and of course, my smartphone in general. No matter which office I am in—home office or the back office at either of our stores, or at our warehouse—I just need a dock for my tablet, and I am up and working. It is as easy for me to work while at an overseas food show as it is in Brooklyn.

Q: What have been the biggest changes in the deli industry over the course of your career?  

A.  Prior to this year, I would have said the movement away from cooking at home to customers’ desire for restaurant-quality prepared foods in the store. Until a few months ago, I was predicting that even more of our sales would be coming from our prepared foods case.

Q: What is the biggest challenge you’ve had to overcome on the job?  

A.  Without a doubt, these past few months have been among the most challenging ones of my career. This pandemic has fundamentally changed the industry in New York City and the world. We went from being a specialty grocery and café with 70 percent prepared food and wine/beer sales to online delivery of commodities becoming 80 percent of our business overnight. This coupled with the general fear and “social distancing” has been a daily challenge both for staffing and crowd control.

Q:  What hobbies do you enjoy outside of work? 

A.  I do yoga religiously for exercise and stress relief.  I love to spend time with my husband and adult children over a great meal.  I also love to travel and walk on the beach with my husband.

Q: Are you married? If so, how long? How many children?  

A.  I have been married for over 30 years and have two adult children. My son Michael is coming into the business next month after law school graduation, and my daughter Caitlin just recently started working with us after rotating through front of house management positions in top New York City locations.


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