18th Annual People’s Awards

Deli Business’ annual People’s Awards recognizes the best of the best in the industry. These individuals come from a wide range of backgrounds and experience but what they have in common is notable careers and contributions to the field. The following pages detail this year’s winners’ careers, business philosophies and crowning achievements, along with insight on their personal lives.

Joseph Zuercher


Zuercher Cheese

Q. How has your career evolved over the years? 

A.  I have worked at Zuercher Cheese for 44 years. I started entry level in the warehouse and made it to president.

Q. What is your leadership philosophy? 

A.  Work hard and hire people based as much on character as on ability. When the employees see you working hard, they will, too.

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

A.  Listen hard to the customer and try to figure out what they really want.

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

A.   I work as many hours as I can during the week and keep the weekends free. Most of the time that leads to a fairly decent balance.

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

A.  We are seeing more fruit spreads, jams and cheese accompaniments merchandised in the deli departments. Also, more retail pack, pre-sliced premium meats.

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

A.  Any computer device or program that allows us to communicate the information that our customers require.

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

A.  When I started working, a variety of tasty prepared foods and quality deli meats and cheeses were typically found only in larger city centers. Nowadays, you can find a good selection in most parts of the U.S.

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

A. After the big recession hit in mid-2008, getting through the next four quarters was a big challenge.

Q.  What hobbies do you enjoy outside of work? 

A.  Cycling, hiking, Italian.

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

A.  Married for 40 years, five children, nine grandchildren.

Cover Story

Tales from IDDBA

The Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta was buzzing with activity, as the aisles filled throughout the day and manufacturer booths had crowds sampling all that the IDDBA Show had to offer. Attendees proclaimed they were happy to be back after the two-year hiatus due to COVID, and from the looks of things, the industry has picked up where it left off in 2019. […]


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