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: 04/21/2017

    How will Walmart’s price cutting affect Kroger and other rivals?

    I live this every day. There is a price war between Walmart and the Aldi across the street, both of which are 4 miles down the road. They have gallons of milk at $1.39, and a dozen eggs for 27 cents. Walmart wants their business back, and will discount the top sellers to next to nothing to gain back what they feel they deserve in the marketplace. Meanwhile Rome (local independents) is burning, and there are no tools to compete against this.The insanity of retail today is especially bad for supermarkets, as margins slip into territories that in my memory have never existed before. I can only speak for our marketing area, which is rural, and very poor, which makes these wars even worse.I will use the best weapon I have, which are the perishable deals I offer that they cannot match, and see what happens. Not a lot of fun anymore, as it has become a battlefield of scorched earth policies by the big guns. I got two of them right down the road.Have a great weekend everyone.
  • Posted on: 04/20/2017

    Will Amazon’s on-demand manufacturing create trouble for fast-fashion?

    Amazon pretty much wants to be the first trillion dollar retailer and I believe they will do it, as they have the wind at their back and the loyalty of their customer base which loves to shop online. Clothing has some of the highest margins of all industries. I have been to conventions with my friend in Vegas several times while he was ordering shoes and athletic apparel and other clothing lines. The cost of these products coming into his store was shocking to me. He could run 50 percent off sales all day on this stuff and still double his money, which tells me that Amazon has a huge cushion not only to create this on-demand product, but also to sell it at a very competitive price and still make a handsome profit. Look out everyone, this will probably make several stores very nervous in the near future.
  • Posted on: 04/13/2017

    Is UPS’s Saturday announcement a sign of deliveries to come?

    This is a win-win for UPS in the long run, as they have to do this and Sunday delivery is next. The five-day work week for retailers doing business online will not work, and UPS recognizes that they must jump in or risk losing their huge market share in delivered goods. No looking back or the train will run them over -- and they know it.
  • Posted on: 04/13/2017

    Are retail CEOs ready to ‘disagree and commit’ like Jeff Bezos?

    As a small business owner, I do this all the time. If I fail, I move on, but doing nothing is a sure sign that failure is in your future. The business climate on the street has never been this stressful, as small business is struggling to figure out how they can stay in the black and also grow, which is incredibly difficult in rural America. Staying innovative and always finding ways to improve customer service is the key for my business, as well as many others, and doing things the way your father did in the '60s will simply not work -- with few exceptions.Amazon is able to take chances in a big way and they know it, so Bezos is in a position to be bold and still keep the business growing, as e-commerce is still growing in double digits.
  • Posted on: 04/07/2017

    What will the fourth industrial revolution mean for retail supply chains and jobs?

    I like the statement of people being problem-solvers, as it is critical for anyone in the workplace to be more than just someone with a pulse. The uneducated and the slackers out there are in for a rude awakening, as employers will demand more than someone just showing up for work and having to be told what to do every 10 minutes. This is not meant to be harsh, as the reduction of the work force will allow employers the luxury to pick future employees from a larger pool, as jobs shrink in these industries. Stay in school kids, and learn a skill, as the demands for your specific talents are waiting for you with a bright future for those who excel in their field.
  • Posted on: 04/07/2017

    Should stores charge customers extra to use disposable cups?

    Really! This is beyond stupid, as most of the disposable coffee cups being sold are already biodegradable. The liberal cities will use this as an excuse to put a tax on us evil folks who want disposable cups, and that is another way to prop up the city coffers with money.
  • Posted on: 03/29/2017

    Does Amazon need bricks to make its online grocery business click?

    Amazon Fresh is incredibly expensive and unless you have money to burn, it won't be a big hit. This is where brick and mortar can compete and unless Amazon is willing to hire real meat cutters, their prices will remain out of reach.
  • Posted on: 03/24/2017

    Will struggling retailers find new lives as pure play e-tailers?

    Excellent point Ian. I myself am at a crossroads, as our community is very poor and the Super Walmart and Aldi pretty much own the entire market as far as sales go, having shuttered six supermarkets in the last 10 years. Even though I have the homemade goodies, great service and great prices, it comes down to perception of value. Independents, along with many types of smaller retailers, are struggling horribly. The downtown is pretty much gone except for a few oddball places and a ton of empty buildings. We have a ton of boarded up places and strip plazas everywhere. Our mall is 20 percent occupied with only J.C. Penney left and a Pretzel Time store as the only food court place left open. Not much gets discussed here about the rural areas, which actually are everywhere across the country with the same story, and it saddens me to see this in my travels. I understand change, and all the talk about e-commerce and how Amazon is king, but reading your comment was refreshing as it hits home very hard for many of us in these communities. The disappearance of physical stores is not good for the sense of belonging to a community, where Norman Rockwell loved to portray us in his paintings. Yeah, I'm babbling here, but as much experience and creativity I bring to my store it may not be enough to stick around in the future, as profit dollars shrink to all-time lows. Thanks for writing this, as I know the effect of what is happening to our communities and I will try to stay relevant. Have a great weekend everyone.
  • Posted on: 03/22/2017

    Will tech innovations change foodservice?

    For me, with an all-scratch deli/catering service, I am looking for procuring top-notch produce preparation services that saves me time and money. I am trying to add fresh pepper strips and already just found some nice quality celery pieces that are top-quality. The broccoli crowns, shredded cabbage and carrots are a part of what we use, which helps a lot. We still do onions and redskin potatoes as this is impossible to find, as they wilt pretty fast so we will continue to do our own. All restaurants have different needs, but for me, we use our associates to make the homemade foods, and that will continue as it is a huge advantage for us to do so. Also robots can't sell or engage in the art of sampling and getting the extra sale, so the human factor will always win out in that regard.
  • Posted on: 03/22/2017

    What do know-it-all shoppers want?

    In my business the know-it-all shoppers want to get in and out quickly with a smiling face in all departments. They expect to be greeted at the checkout and want a smooth process without any angst or waiting in line. Both know-it-all shoppers and the rest of my shoppers also need information on cooking tips, catering for parties, wine selection and gluten/sugar free products. And that -- my friends -- is where the real money is. I have trained my associates to engage with our customers and help solve their concerns, and for the most part it goes well. I spend as much time as I can talking with our customers and provide them with information that the big box stores don't, and it keeps them coming back.Bottom line: We have well-trained, friendly associates that can properly help answer questions from our customers, and if they need more information I will make sure they get the right answers quickly; through email or a personal call if I'm out of the store. It can make or break you, how you treat these situations.
  • Posted on: 03/21/2017

    Why is the U.S. so bad at airport retailing?

    I don't fit the typical shopper outside the airport. What I and many others want is a place where I can sit comfortably, charge my phone or iPad, and actually find something healthy to eat, which is difficult. I don't need a 95 dollar golf shirt I can buy for $25 at Macy's, and most of the other stores are a waste of my time. Better, healthier food options would be amazing, but I won't hold my breath.
  • Posted on: 03/20/2017

    Will the soy-in-chicken report sink Subway?

    This could be a major problem if the report is true. Subway has a ton of franchisees who are wondering what the truth is. For the price they get for subs, I hope for their sake that these allegations are false, as it could hurt sales and mean a loss of credibility. Chick-fil-A and others could benefit from this depending on the outcome. The public has little patience for these type of incidents. Hopefully it will be over quick.
  • Posted on: 03/16/2017

    How will AmazonFresh Pickup stores affect the grocery business?

    I'm getting in to this a little late, but here is my take on this. Amazon Fresh can and will do well in affluent areas and with time-starved city dwellers. I spent a few hours going through Amazon Fresh and unless you have tons of money to spare, the prices are outrageous. Amazon can charge whatever they want, but 30 to 40 dollars per pound for strips or rib eyes and 45 to 50 dollars per pound for filets seems like a bit over the top. This goes on and on, and "free delivery" is no problem when you can charge twice or more for the same product you can buy inside a supermarket. Oreos and snacks on the dry side are pretty reasonable, but the perishables simply aren't even close to being competitive, and that is my take on this. Amazon can charge whatever they want, but again, it is for a limited audience and they know it, so good for them.
  • Posted on: 03/14/2017

    Will being more like Home Depot work for J.C. Penney?

    J.C. Penney is looking for something to grow sales and I believe it could happen if and only if they can follow through on the service after the sale. They must provide top-notch delivery and installation or it will not work. Plus they must aggressively price the product, as online appliance giants are taking more sales every year. Throughout retail everyone is trying to find a profitable niche that will draw people into their stores, and we'll see how this goes. I'm not sold on this but, again, if the service and sales employees are outstanding then it could be a gold mine, as great service always wins out if the price is comparable.
  • Posted on: 03/09/2017

    Are free returns a good way to drive online sales?

    Another free option that costs retailers big bucks. Of course customers want free returns, and they expect it. They also want free health care, free child care, free college tuition, free housing and everything else, so what else is new? The only way it can work is if the price of the goods have a built-in allowance for this, or it will be a money loser. The problem with building in the cost is that the consumer will shop around until they find the rock-bottom price on the item, along with free shipping and returns, and the retailer will still lose out on the deal. It is simply insane today with online shopping, and online retail isn't for the weak or underfunded businesses, as they will get destroyed by the big players. Lots of fun in retail today isn't it?

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