Milo’s Tea Company is a family-owned, Certified Women-Owned Business with corporate headquarters in Birmingham, Alabama. Milo’s has been brewing the best tasting, closest-to-homemade iced tea for three generations and counting. Milo’s teas and lemonades taste just like homemade because its family recipe includes only a few simple ingredients and does not contain preservatives or added colors. Milo’s can be found in the refrigerated section of thousands of retailers across the United States. Learn more at www.drinkmilos.com.
Philadelphia Wholesale Produce Market: Delivering fresh and healthy produce is our passion. It has been for generations. In fact, you can trace many of our merchants’ roots all the way back to the earliest fruit and vegetable marketplace in Philadelphia, Dock Street, where wholesalers bought or consigned goods from local farmers. For many of our merchants, it was on Dock Street where a lifelong obsession began to deliver the world’s finest and freshest produce.
Hoffman’s Exterminating is on the cutting edge of technology and industry advancements when it comes to Pest Control. Learn more about Hoffman’s and get ready for the level of pest control service you deserve by visiting their website: hoffmanexterminating.com
The Ferrero Group has a strong global presence, and Ferrero products are present and sold, directly or through authorized retailers, in more than 170 countries belonging to the entire international community.
An extensive and constantly increasing presence that attests to the quality of the products, the group’s ability to adapt and respond quickly to the needs of different markets, and the fact that the group and its products are in tune with the daily needs of consumers around the world.
Grubhub Inc. is an American online and mobile prepared food ordering and delivery platform based in Chicago, Illinois. Founded in 2004, it is a subsidiary of the Dutch company Just Eat Takeaway since 2021.
Xode is a label printer with a wide range of multi-color printing capabilities, including 4-color process. With the latest narrow-web-press and digital equipment and more than 50 years of experience, Xode can consistently and economically deliver superior quality pressure-sensitive labels and tags of all types.
Feeding Pennsylvania is the statewide association of nine Feeding America-affiliated food banks. The mission of Feeding Pennsylvania is to promote and aid our member food banks in securing food and other resources to reduce hunger and food insecurity across the state and to provide a shared voice on the issues of hunger and food access within the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
The Mid-Atlantic Regional Cooperative (MARC) is a member-led regional produce cooperative of Feeding America Food Banks serving the Mid-Atlantic Region from Maine to Virginia. Learn more about Feeding PA and their programs: www.Feedingpa.org
Sushi Awarsei is created by the love and happiness of food. The company is dedicated to helping immigrants settle in the US and encouraging them to aspire to entrepreneurship. Created by immigrants for immigrants.
Correlate, LLC is an ATM cash dispensing and Merchant Services business currently operating in 6 states, including Pennsylvania.
Dynamic Entry Solutions designs, installs, and maintains commercial security products, specializing in swing gates and turnstiles for commercial entryways.
Mike’s Amazing / Chefler Foods LLC The Mike’s Amazing brand of mayonnaise, mustards, vegetable oils, vinegar, sauces and salad dressings reflect the obsessive pursuit of perfection of food industry veterans Michael Leffler (CEO) and Michael Kurland (CFO). Delivering only the highest quality products with a level of personal service unmatched in the marketplace, Mike’s Amazing is currently one of the fastest-growing #condiments brands in the nation.
What are your top three legislative priorities in 2023? As Majority Chair of the Aging and Older Adult Services Committee, I am focused on issues that have a direct impact on our seniors. This population is growing and we need to have the infrastructure and services to meet their needs. Right now, I see a great need for safe, affordable housing and more health care workers in nursing facilities across the state. Our committee has caring, smart legislators that want to find bi-partisan solutions. I’m looking forward to passing bills that will have positive changes for our older Pennsylvanians
What are the important issues facing your district? I represent Cumberland and Dauphin Counties. I’ve spoken to all four superintendents in the school districts that I represent. There is a need for teachers and substitutes in the classrooms. Last fall, we put together a package of bills that would remove some barriers for teachers to obtain their certificates and help relieve the financial burdens.
A quality public education for students will help prevent gun violence which is also a problem in parts of my district. I will continue to work hard to make sure we adequately fund our schools so we can give students the best education and future. But in the meantime they need to have the resources to pay for rising costs of bus transportation, cyber charter school reimbursements, building maintenance and special education.
Where do you shop locally for food? I go to Weis, Giant and Aldi’s.
What is your favorite vacation destination? My family visited Italy last summer and loved every minute there! My daughter decided to study a semester abroad in Rome next year. I guess we “have” to go back!
What are the biggest challenges for grocers in your district? I first want to thank the grocers for staying open during the pandemic. I can’t imagine what they had to go through to keep their employees and customers safe while staying open. I believe some current challenges are attracting workers and trying to keep the cost of food low while dealing with inflation and supply chain issues.
What are your biggest challenges and successes as a legislator? I served 10 years in the minority party. It was difficult to keep reintroducing bills that I felt would help my district but then not come up for a vote. Now that I am part of the majority, I have been able to pass bills that would expand the Property Tax Rent Rebate program that is now law and pass a higher minimum wage that is currently in the Senate.
What is your favorite food or meal to cook? I grew up watching my grandmother cook Korean food when she lived with us. There are certain dishes like soups that bring comfort and memories of my childhood.
What do you like to do for fun? I like to visit state parks and hike with my family. When I’m not hiking, I like to take power naps on the weekend!
Family Meals Month is officially celebrated in September. A month-long campaign that encourages families to come together at least once a week to share a meal. The “holiday” first began as a movement to bring families together to enjoy a meal at least one time a month. Studies have shown frequent family meals lead to better nutrition and family dynamics.
Since it began in 2015, Family Meals Month has championed the importance of family meals, and the benefits of families having meals together have been supported by thousands of studies. PFMA realizes that the reality of family meals may be a struggle with busy schedules, time constraints, and other commitments. Many of our members are participating in Family Meals Month, and we wanted to share with you a few ways they are getting involved this year!
Wakefern Food Corp., the largest retailer-owned cooperative in the United States, is getting involved in Family Meals Month by asking their customers to make the commitment of one more family meal a week. Even the simple addition of one meal a week has been shown to help kids grow into more respectful adults. Wakefern Food Corp. shares that family meals are linked to higher grades, and lower risk of obesity for both adults and children who have regular family meals. In short, the benefits go far beyond physical health, but their emotional and mental health, too.
In order to help their customers prepare one more meal at home each week, Wakefern Food Corp. has a Family Meals Month recipe book that they sent to all of their stores. This recipe book is also available as a digital PDF. Every week during September, they coordinated 3 sale items to align as a “meal deal” and could be used in a recipe that was featured in the recipe book.
Wakefern Food Corp. didn’t just stop at their cookbook and sale items; and they had a coordinated social media effort every week where they showed ways to use the weekly themes of taco night, pasta night, comfort food, and sheet pan suppers to create customizable meals. They also focused on three health attributes: diabetic-friendly, plant-goodness, and simple ingredients which shoppers can visit and shop by from their sr.com/welleveryday page.
A month-long campaign like Family Meals Month gives our members a great opportunity to collaborate. Wakefern Food Corp. was excited to collaborate with Homemade, an online cooking school where they hosted virtual cooking classes offered for free to their customers. They made potato chorizo tacos and coffee margaritas featuring Kraft products.
We hope everyone had a great September and got involved with Family Meals Month!
September is National We Card Month, a national awareness month encouraging retailers to ramp up and renew their training and compliance efforts while the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is stepping up enforcement activities around underage tobacco sales.
We Card is providing retailers with several key steps to ensure they can comply with state and federal regulations, including:
We Card is a national nonprofit organization that represents a unified coalition of trade associations, retailers, wholesalers, and manufacturers to support retailers of tobacco and other age-restricted products. Retailers use We Card’s educational and training services to comply with federal and state laws while working to prevent underage tobacco, e-vapor, and other age-restricted product sales.
To access education and resources, visit: wecard.org
PFMA Welcomes New Board MemberJonathan Cruz, VP of Sales Support at Albertsons, Joins PFMA Board of Directors
The Pennsylvania Food Merchants Association is pleased to welcome a new member to its Board of Directors. PFMA welcomes Jonathan Cruz, Vice President of Sales Support at Albertsons.
“It is always a pleasure to welcome members of the food and beverage industries to our PFMA Board of Directors,” said Alex Baloga, president and CEO of PFMA. “We look forward to the contributions Jonathan will make, lending his experience and deep knowledge of the industry.”
Cruz has been a valued member of the Albertsons family for over ten years, contributing significantly across two different banners. In total, Cruz has over 20 years of experience in the retail industry. His previous roles include managerial positions at Walmart and Giant of Landover. Before the retail sector, Cruz proudly served our country for eight years in the United States Marine Corps.
PFMA is led by a 38-member Board of Directors that includes retail and associate members.
This volunteer group shapes the association's agenda. Members are elected to unlimited three-year terms.
The Pennsylvania Food Merchants Association is pleased to welcome a new member to its Board of Directors. PFMA welcomes David Simonetti, Senior Director of Store Operations and Business Operations for Wawa, Inc.
“What a great addition to our board; it is always a pleasure to welcome members of the food and beverage industries to our PFMA Board of Directors,” said Alex Baloga, president and CEO of PFMA. “We thank David and Wawa for their dedication to the association and look forward to benefitting from David’s perspectives and expertise.”
David Simonetti is a Senior Director of Store Operations for Wawa, Inc. In his role, he is responsible for the Pennsylvania and NJ Markets and Store Operations Business Support Services. He joined Wawa in 2014 after spending the previous 9 years with Five Guys Enterprise as the Regional Director for Northeast Operations in the US and Canada. During his time at Five Guys, he played an integral role in building the brand and growing the company from 40 to nearly 1,200 locations. David has a diverse background that also includes time in the automotive industry with Volvo Cars of North America.
David received his MBA from American University and his BA from The George Washington University. He is a father of four children, including his daughter Lena who was born with Down syndrome. His interest in supporting those with special needs led him to become a member of the Board of Directors for Special Olympics Pennsylvania. He is also a Co-Founder and Donor Advisor for PHL Cares, a high-impact business-led response to Philadelphia’s chronic street homelessness problem mobilizing resources and leadership for real solutions – housing, jobs, and services - to end homelessness.
PFMA is led by a 37-member Board of Directors that includes retail and associate members.
This volunteer group shapes the association's agenda. Members are elected to unlimited three-year terms.
Today, 1.8 million Pennsylvanians use SNAP. That’s roughly 14 percent of the state’s population. Of this group, 59 percent of recipients are families with children, while 46 percent are households with older adults or disabled individuals. In addition, 37 percent of recipients are classified as part of the working poor.
Clearly, SNAP is extremely important to recipients, but it is also important to communities. Every dollar in SNAP spending generates $1.50 in overall economic activity, which benefits food retailers, food processors and suppliers, farmers, and the business community.
Weis Markets has been engaged in SNAP advocacy for a long time, so we sat down with Dennis Curtin to find out a little more about some of the longstanding challenges for the industry, evergreen priorities when it comes to reform, and top-of-mind issues for this year specifically.
“Our engagement with SNAP is about explaining how the program impacts our customers and communities,” said Dennis Curtin of Weis Markets. “We’ve all heard the myths about individuals exploiting SNAP and engaging in fraudulent activities. In our business, we see SNAP recipients buying groceries to feed their families. Our top SNAP item is a family-size package of 80 percent ground beef. Essentials like eggs, bananas and a gallon of whole milk are in the top five.”
Overall, Weis Markets said that they have seen significant improvements to SNAP in recent years. For example, the USDA’s Thrifty Food Plan formula has been updated to reflect how people buy and prepare food today compared to 40 years ago, and children and their families who are eligible for free meals at school will receive $120 in SNAP funding over the summer recess. It is their hope to see sustained improvements in these key areas.
On the other hand, Curtin discussed the end of the COVID emergency allotment and how that has uniquely created challenges for many recipients. Single-person households, who used to receive $95 per person per month, now receive $23. Many of these individuals are seniors, so Weis Markets hopes the Commonwealth will address this issue and increase the allotment for this group.
Weis Markets views SNAP advocacy as an ongoing process. While it’s true that SNAP is authorized every five years as part of the Farm Bill, it’s reviewed and scrutinized regularly. In addition, the USDA oversees administrative details of the program on an ongoing basis. Staying informed of these changes helps Weis Markets meet the needs of its SNAP customers.
Once you have an understanding of how SNAP affects your stores and communities, explain its impact to your elected representatives whenever you have the chance. Over the years, Weis Markets has developed a relationship with Congressman Glenn Thompson, who is Chairman of the Ag Committee and a key player in the Farm Bill. His district is home to many of their Weis Markets stores; he has been fair, helpful, and receptive to our advocacy about SNAP.
As a food merchant, you need to know how SNAP impacts your stores and communities. You should understand that this program impacts more than just its beneficiaries—it benefits the whole community. To get more involved with advocacy efforts email firstname.lastname@example.org.
2. What are the important issues facing your district?
Currently the 47th Senatorial District has been experiencing issues with road and bridge infrastructure, retaining a quality workforce, and overall labor shortage.
3. Where do you shop locally for food?I tend to frequent two local farms that have fresh fruits and vegetables from early spring until Thanksgiving.
4. What is your favorite vacation destination?I personally don’t have one special place, being that we have such a diverse region. My wife and I enjoy going to the beach, camping, and hiking in the mountains and in our national forests.
5. What are the biggest challenges for grocers in your district?Several of our area grocers are faced with supply chain issues which continue to cause a downturn in certain product availability. They are also faced with workforce challenges.
6. What are your biggest challenges and successes as a legislator?As a legislator one of the biggest challenges that we can be faced with is building consensus on important legislative issues. Though what I find is one of the biggest successes in my position is being able to translate the issues my constituents are bringing to my attention into meaningful legislation. Two great examples of this are my Pie Bill (Senate Bill 828) which was signed into law in 2010 and my Telemedicine Bill (Senate Bill 739) which I introduced during the current legislative session.
7. What is your favorite food or meal to cook?I really enjoy cooking steak on the grill and eating the fresh fruits and vegetables that are available all summer long. I also enjoy ice cream at any time.
8. What do you like to do for fun? In my free time, I take pleasure in tending to my farm. My farm has been in my family for generations and is something that I am passionate about.
9. What is your greatest success as a legislator over the past few years? I am proud to say that several of the initiatives I have championed, which included my Pie Bill (Senate Bill 828 of 2010), the Pennsylvania Farm Bill (House Bill 1514 of 2019), my Horse Racing Industry Standards Bill (Senate Bill 1237of 2022), and my Beginning Farmer Tax Credit Bill (Senate Bill 478 of 2019), have been signed into law. Additionally, my Dog Law Modernization Bill (Senate Bill 746 of 2023) passed the Senate with bipartisan support and now awaits House consideration.
The new associate members represent a variety of industries, from sustainable operational improvements, workforce management consultants to accountants.
Connors Group is an industrial engineering management consultancy specializing in operational improvement and productivity enhancement to help companies increase sales profitability.
Little Leaf Farms was founded to make locally grown, great-tasting lettuce that’s available year-round. Taking inspiration from the best produce-growing systems in the world, they started developing their 10-acre greenhouse in 2015 to make this vision a reality. Today, they’re proud to share with you their fresh, crisp and sustainably grown baby lettuces.
Marcum provides a full spectrum of traditional tax, accounting, and assurance services; financial, risk, and transaction advisory services; valuation, forensic and litigation services; technology consulting and managed services; and an extensive portfolio of specialty and niche industry practices. Their mission is to help your organization become more successful.
Doordash is a technology company that connects people with the best in their cities. They do that by empowering local businesses and in turn, generate new ways for people to earn, work and live. They started by facilitating door-to-door delivery, but saw that as just the beginning of connecting people with possibility — easier evenings, happier days, bigger savings accounts, wider nets and stronger communities.
Balford is a diversified food distribution company specializing in providing customized distribution services to foodservice and retail customers and the sale of dairy products throughout the Northeast. Founded in 1892, Balford remains a privately held corporation with a leadership team and employee workforce who has built a solid reputation for, and takes pride in, delivering Quality, Value, and Service to our customers.
The Pennsylvania Food Merchants Association (PFMA) recently awarded its 2023 Thomas R. and Laura Ridge Scholarship to 27 deserving students
This year, scholarship winners earned a total of $67,500 toward their goals in higher education. Recipients are chosen by a panel of judges who review each applicant’s academic record, school, and community involvement, recommendations, and a submitted essay.
“Kudos to this year’s Ridge Scholars, who represent some of our brightest young adults,” said Alex Baloga, president and CEO of PFMA. “They have amassed an impressive list of accomplishments, service, and academic and professional leadership. We are happy to recognize their efforts and help them reach their academic goals.”
Individual scholarship amounts awarded every student with a $2,500 scholarship for the 2023-24 academic year. In total, $67,500 in scholarships were awarded. Scholarship funds come from PFMA’s Education Trust and sponsoring PFMA member companies The GIANT Company, Karns Foods, Rutter’s, Sheetz, and Wawa.
“Working in retail food service has been a fun and rewarding experience. It has taught me to be fast, detail-oriented, and friendly while performing a variety of job duties in a fast-paced environment. To think that a job I love that has helped fund my education has also allowed me the opportunity to become a Ridge Scholar is an amazing privilege for which I am grateful,” said Helayna Baer of Cheswick, PA. “The Ridge Scholarship will help me achieve my goal of expanding my learning experiences to study abroad in France.”
This year’s recipients are listed below with their goals in higher education. PFMA thanks its members for sponsoring the Ridge Scholars, and each sponsoring business is listed in parentheses.
Helayna Baer of Cheswick, PA, plans to attend the University of Pittsburgh to major in Chemical Engineering and a minor in French. (Sheetz)
Alexis Benner of Reedsville, PA, plans to attend Juniata College to major in Biology. (Rutter’s)
Madison Braswell of Howell, NJ, plans to attend Montclair State University to major in Earth and Environmental Science. (Wawa)
Nancy Colwell of Hayes, VA, plans to attend James Madison University to major in Marketing and minor in Business Spanish. (Wawa)
Sydney Eckhardt Phoenixville, PA, plans to major in Economics and History at Boston College. (Wawa)
Maizie Ecker of Seven Valleys, PA, plans to attend West Chester University to major in Nutrition and a minor in Biology. (Rutter’s)
Jillian Evans of Coatesville, PA, plans to attend University of Delaware Honors College to major in Neuroscience and Psychology with a minor in Human Development and Family Science. (GIANT/Martin’s)
Lindsay Fittipaldi of Egg Harbor, NJ, plans to attend Quinnipiac University to major in Criminal Justice. (Wawa)
Sarah Graham of Altoona, PA, plans to attend Dickinson College to major in International Studies with a minor in Political Science and Spanish. (PFMA/David & Kathryn McCorkle)
Sydney Hertzog of Kutztown, PA, plans to attend Gwynedd Mercy University to major in Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy with a minor in Psychology. (PFMA)
Hannah Hess of Berwick, PA, plans to attend King’s College to major in Early Childhood Education PK- 4 and Special Education PK- 12 and pursuing a Masters in Reading. (GIANT/Martin’s)
Lucas Hydock of Minersville, PA, plans to attend The Pennsylvania State University to major in Film and Cinematography Production. (PFMA)
McKenna Kessler of Fleetwood, PA, plans to attend East Stroudsburg University to major in Digital Media Technologies (DMET). (GIANT/Martin’s)
Edgar Maysonet of Orlando, FL, plans to attend the University of Central Florida to major in Mechanical Engineering. (PFMA)
Peter Murnane of West Chest, PA, plans to attend The Pennsylvania State University to major in Mechanical Engineering with a minor in Technology Based Entrepreneurship and Innovation. (GIANT/Martin’s)
Travis Noecker of Hamburg, PA, plans to attend Arcadia University to major in Forensic Science. (Rutter’s)
Mackenzie Owens of Lansdale, PA, plans to attend University College Dublin to major in Applied Economics. (GIANT/Martin’s)
Riya Patel of Ellicott City, MD, plans to attend University of Maryland to major in Public Health Science and minor in Humanities, Health and Medicine. (PFMA)
Kara Peck of Waynesboro, PA, plans to attend Shippensburg University to major in Early Childhood Education. (PFMA)
Jamie Pottman of York, PA, plans to attend University of Delaware to major in Applied Molecular Biology and Biotechnology. (Rutter’s)
Mark Pottman of York, PA, plans to attend Kutztown University to major in Cinema, Media, and Television. (Rutter’s)
Kaitlyn Sheriff of Landisburg, PA, plans to attend Lycoming College to major in Astrophysics and a minor in Computational Science. (Karns)
Caleb Shoemaker of Duncannon, PA, plans to attend Penn State Harrisburg to major in Mechanical Engineering. (Rutter’s)
Madalyn Strait of Columbia, PA, plans to attend Misericordia University to major in Diagnostic Medical Sonography. (PFMA)
LaRin Walls of Hollidaysburg, PA, plans to attend Point Park University to major in Theatre Production. (Sheetz)
Ryan Wilson of Mechanicsburg, PA, plans to attend Bloomsburg University to major in Finance. (PFMA)
Sandy Zheng of Spring Grove, PA, plans to attend West Chester University to major in Biochemistry with a minor in Biology. (Rutter’s)
Established in 1996, the Ridge Scholarship honors the parents of former Gov. Tom Ridge. Thomas R. Ridge was a member of the food industry for 25 years, and his wife, Laura, was a great advocate of education for their three children: Tom, David and Vikki. To date, 654 students have earned Ridge Scholarships, and nearly $1.2 million has been awarded.
Erica Koup Logsdon, Director of Communications and Media Relations