PROFILE

Tony Orlando

Owner, Tony O's Supermarket and Catering

Born and raised in Ashtabula, Ohio, Tony Orlando has 50 years in the food business, having started at four years of age in 1961.

Tony purchased his store in May of 1999 from his father. Through the years, he has acquired extensive knowledge of meat and deli departments. He has consulted with other independents to help their businesses grow.

Tony has served on many Midwest beef councils and also was on the Young Executives Council for the NGA, of which he is a charter member.

Tony graduated from Ohio State University in 1978 with a Bachelors in Business Administration. He is married to wife Maria and has two sons, Michael (19) and Stephen (16). Tony is also the President of the Autistic Children’s Foundation. He loves golfing, casinos and talking shop at NGA.

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  • Posted on: 08/18/2017

    Will the ‘SmartStockUp’ program drive replenishment sales for Boxed?

    Artificial intelligence is the new rage in e-commerce. For me, I know when I need to buy something and would not want an android to tell me when I need a box of tissue or Oreos, but hey that's me. Getting extra sales from us is the nature of all businesses. If that is what some folks want, fine, but others like me still want to be in charge of how and when we want to buy something. The next thing will probably be Blue Apron not only coming to deliver your box, but also coming into your house to cook and serve it to you for only $9.95, which seems likely to happen since some folks simply can not cook, which also helps me as well. Have a great weekend everyone.
  • Posted on: 08/18/2017

    What will more electric cars mean for convenience stores?

    I just don't see this as being an issue for many years, as electric car sales are very, very low. Until these vehicles get 400 to 500 miles between charges, and are priced to sell to the middle class, the convenience stores have little to worry about. I see more potential for hydrogen fuel cell cars as they emit water, which is a win for everyone, and the convenience stores across the country can put in hydrogen refilling as part of their mix which would bring extra profits to the stores, whereas electric vehicles will not.
  • Posted on: 08/15/2017

    How should vendors respond to Walmart’s reluctance to raise prices?

    Walmart has been beating up vendors for years. Yes, I do not like Walmart simply because of the way the system works. They created this environment and they want to continue to pound the vendors for more discounts while we, the independents, subsidize the vendors by paying more for the same products. The scenario is changing in retail and maybe, just maybe, some of these vendors will walk away from this, and that would be welcomed by many other retailers. I could go on but I'm sure you understand my point of view, so have a great day everyone.
  • Posted on: 08/14/2017

    Will Aldi upset the grocery home delivery cart?

    Aldi will do pretty well with this, as they already have a huge base of discount shoppers. Shoppers in higher-end areas will pay the delivery charge, knowing that the total for the food will be much less than at other stores. So why shouldn't Aldi give it a try using Instacart rather than investing millions to do it themselves? If it doesn't work, Aldi could end it with no out-of-pocket losses.
  • Posted on: 08/07/2017

    Will Lidl’s fresh approach to the U.S. grocery market prove successful?

    Lidl will do well in under served areas and low income regions, which is where Aldi shines, so expect another price war. Walmart will be ready, and the consumer will win in the short run. Who will lose? The older poorly managed independent stores, and perhaps older Save a Lot stores, and the rest will not feel much loss, as they serve a different mindset of customers. Last week we discussed the over crowded retail market, and yet we see another large supermarket chain opening up. Time will tell, but unfortunately the losers will the be local store owner, unless they are strong in perishables,service, and of course great values.
  • Posted on: 08/04/2017

    Are the four Ps of marketing irrelevant for retailers?

    Well for me the 4 Ps are what has got me to this point, and for those who believe they are no longer relevant, I'd like to give you some examples of how it still is, though changing your minds isn't likely to happen.Every day, we as store owners are challenged to push hard for finding great values for our customer base, no matter what type of retail you are in. A very strong, focused social media advertising campaign can and will bring customers into your store if you have the right product at an amazing price, and have plenty of it to offerYes, I am quite old fashioned, but have learned to use technology to bring customers into my store weekly, and I appreciate everyone's thoughts. But incorporating the above mentioned 4 Es has been going on for years, with the exception of everywhere, as I do not sell online. I would replace the final E with Exceptional, as that for me is how I win the customer over in how they are treated, and in the great values we provide. It's just past 5 pm, but I thought I'd add my thoughts on this. Don't count us out in the Retail game just yet, as there is a lot of fight left in us, and I'll be around making more comments for years to come.
  • Posted on: 08/04/2017

    Will Amazon’s new return policy help or hurt its marketplace sellers?

    Amazon is flexing its muscle and it is their way or the highway. If the third-party sellers don't like it, too bad. This is what a powerful mega-company can do with its vendors, just like Walmart. Some third-party sellers will either go along or get out, as fighting this will be a waste of time. I talk to many vendors who have been dealing with Walmart stores for years and they are powerless to stop the bullying on delivery times, pricing and service, so now it is Amazon's turn to let their third-party vendors know exactly who is in charge. Meanwhile back in the real world, life goes on and we need to stay focused on our strengths to improve our bottom lines.
  • Posted on: 08/02/2017

    Are there too many grocery stores?

    Thanks Ed. I'll be around a while longer, as these discounters know nothing about gourmet scratch foods and custom cut meats -- and never will.
  • Posted on: 08/02/2017

    Are there too many grocery stores?

    The answer is yes, as you can find food products everywhere you turn. Part of this is simple. Selling groceries is easy, and these massive chains have used this as a draw into their stores to sell higher-ticket items once they get the gallon of milk for $1 wholesale and super-cheap pop and top selling staples. It has hurt our industry's bottom line severely and it will not stop, as consumers are shopping for bargains wherever they can get them.Many smaller independents are heading for extinction, as they simply can not compete on the price of these giveaways in the drug stores, in Dollar General, Amazon, Costco etc. All the major dry goods and dairy categories have been priced down to no profits, or negative profits, so unless the store owners know how to provide gourmet deli/bakery and meat departments, they stand no chance of staying in business today. I'm glad I have the ability to run these departments well or I would be gone. The discount and limited format stores cannot compete against us in these departments, because they require highly-skilled labor and are unwilling to invest in it. Anyone can sell chips, booze, cookies and dry goods, but to save your store you must build up the perishables or start a new career or retire, because you will not survive.Tons of fun isn't it? Have a great day folks.
  • Posted on: 07/31/2017

    Has Amazon created another high-draw shopping model with its Treasure Trucks?

    Amazon can pretty much do no wrong in the eyes of their hardcore shoppers. This is another gimmick to stir up free marketing, as once again they made the RetailWire headlines. I wouldn't drive to get it, and many others won't either, especially in these horrible crowded streets of the big cities, so it is a limited niche. Again, Amazon knows that the media will follow all their crazy ideas and write stories about them, so they actually can not lose on this idea and the many others that will follow.
  • Posted on: 07/27/2017

    Will ‘doubling down’ on tech help McD’s disrupt the fast food business?

    They should make better use of that 45,000 square feet and start creating much better food!
  • Posted on: 07/27/2017

    Will ‘doubling down’ on tech help McD’s disrupt the fast food business?

    Exactly Max. Their food for me is just horrible, except for a few breakfast items. There are so many other better choices to eat and, for the life of me, I cannot understand how they can continue selling lousy food when other competitors have upped their games.
  • Posted on: 07/27/2017

    Can in-store experiences save retail?

    Ian, as always you provide some real common sense and, as an independent, I feel like the ACE Hardware of the supermarket business. Giving all the personal touches and world-class homemade food samples makes a huge difference to our core customers. Big Data means nothing to me. If you want to understand what a customer is thinking, how about you engage in a simple conversation? You'll find all the data you need.Selling online is different, and if I am to stay around in this business I must keep doing what I've been doing for years, which is focusing on the way we treat our customers. They will always buy from me when I can have that simple conversation. Walmart or any other big chain will never match that experience. Pretty simple, and yet the most effective selling tool in history.
  • Posted on: 07/14/2017

    Can retailers hope to compete this holiday season with standard digital marketing?

    Digital marketing has a wide spectrum. I use our Facebook page to advertise, and boost certain items for a few dollars, and it helps. The other advantage is I already have a captive audience, and those consumers will open up a Facebook post, as they love the in and out deals we bring in.Institutional copy digital advertising I do not open, but if I like a certain retailer, and receive an e-mail blast, or Facebook post, I will look at it, since I am a fan of their products. Does this sound too simple? Maybe, but it can be an elaborate video, or a single red hot sale item, that brings them in, and we always try to keep it fresh. I am done with print advertising at the end of the year, and am seeking out digital companies, who can put together our 8 page tab strictly online, which will save us a huge amount of money. So far some of the proposals are well less than 1/2 of what I am paying, and we are not done searching out other avenues. Have a great weekend everyone.
  • Posted on: 07/12/2017

    Will Amazon’s answer to the ‘Geek Squad’ help put Alexa in more homes?

    Amazon will not stop until they send someone to your home to brush your kids' teeth and pick up all the toys in their room for $5. Many local small businesses already know that they are becoming targets ripe for the picking by Amazon. I see this as a death by a thousand small cuts, since I've been seeing it in my business for the last five years. Yes I'm a dinosaur in this business, but when I get a smile out of a little girl who gets her sample from our deli or a customer receives a free counseling session on diabetes or gluten issues, where we can help guide them with the proper food choices, it gives me some hope.Alexa is changing how people shop for sure, but there is nothing like the personal touch from some store that really knows how to treat you well. If that makes me outdated then so be it. Is there enough of these folks out there who want this service? I say yes, especially in a good economic area where consumers crave this and will be glad to pay for it.Stay focused my fellow retailers. Brush up on your knowledge and selling skills or else risk going under, as Amazon will be happy to take your business.

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