Deli Business 19th Annual People’s Choice Award Winner: Betty-Jo (Arlington) Rapoza

Buyer III
The Giant Co.
Carlisle, PA

Q. How has your career evolved over the years?
A. I joined the Ahold Delhaize family of brands nearly 20 years ago. I started as a buyer’s clerk and was promoted to a buyer nearly two years later. After a year in that role, I was promoted to buyer II, overseeing the buying for more than 1,000 stores in the deli department. Since, 2017 I have served as buyer III for The Giant Co. My career with the company is where it is today for two reasons — the love of the job and the people who have been my champions, coaches and leaders. I had the great opportunity to work for many people. I’ve learned so much from all them and applied it to my day-to-day work. I’ve also learned from my own mistakes but, more importantly, learned from others, too. You cannot have wins without losses, it only means you’re trying.

Q. What is the best advice you ever received and why?
A. The best advice I have ever received is get the hardest tasks done first. If you delay the harder tasks, it will add stress to your day. Get them done first, feel proud that you completed them, and get on to the rest of the items on your to-do list.

Q. How do you balance your work and personal life?
A. At this point in my life, I am an empty nester with balance. Work is work, and play is play; there is plenty of time for both.

Q. What technology or technical tools are indispensable to you in the workplace and why?
A. Open lines of communication are an indispensable tool, and I utilize communication tools every day to interact with colleagues and supplier partners. “Can you increase X item on the purchase order? Can you move the date? Can you send me the specs on X? Can you send me the estimated rankings of your new items?” These interactions, and in real time, are key to success. Communication combined with organization helps me organize my day and tasks, I don’t feel overwhelmed, and it helps the days go by quickly.

Q. What have been the biggest changes in the deli industry over the course of your career?
A. Fluctuating supplier costs and supply chain challenges combined with commodity markets, increased overhead costs and labor challenges over the past few years have been the biggest changes I’ve experienced in my career. In years prior, prices tended to level out over a shorter period of time, as opposed to the sustained increases in more recent years.

Q. What is the biggest challenge you’ve had to overcome on the job?
A. It is a great place to grow and find new opportunities through promotions. That said, I think the biggest challenge for me has been the change that comes with promotions and growth. But it also presents opportunity. I’ve moved, but Giant is great at promoting and moving duties to best fit the needs of both the company and our personal goals. Getting to know new teams or new sectors of the business has been a great business learning opportunity. I’ve learned so much by changing positions, categories and leadership. Every leader has had an influence on me and taught me things that I have been able to use in my career. One of The Giant Co.’s team promises is growing through new opportunities.

Q. What hobbies do you enjoy outside of work?
A. My husband and I love to go weekend camping in the spring and fall with family and friends. We spend summertime by the pool hosting clam boils and potluck lunches.

Q. Are you married? If so, how long? How many children?
A. I have one son, Tommy, who has a daughter Carlee, and they live within a few miles. I’ve been married for one year but we’ve been together for 21 years.


Sign up to get the latest news in retail deli, including prepared foods, foodservice and specialty cheese markets from Deli Business Magazine...

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.