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: 09/23/2016

    Will on-demand beauty services connect with Macy’s customers?

    This service will work for the time-starved person who also has a very nice income. Macy's is smart to partner up with this service and beGlammed better be up to the task, and if they do a great job, we have a win-win for both of them. Bridal parties the day of the wedding would be a natural fit and this could go very well, but where I live this service would not be a big thing, as money is very tight in our area. As we move forward, every major retailer is going to partner up with these types of services and it just may keep sales moving online for a Macy's, so that they don't lose more sales to Amazon (which is also doing the same thing). I wish them well.
  • Posted on: 09/14/2016

    Should grocers back away from prepared meals?

    The only reason to back away from this problem is if you do not know what you are doing, plain and simple. I cater for hundreds of people during the year, drop and served, and have never had a problem as we know how to prepare and keep food safe. It takes training and know-how, plus employees that follow safety standards of how to prep food properly and safely. We do not have a hot buffet bar in my store as it is very difficult to monitor, unlike a wedding, where the customers move through the line quickly while we serve them. There is money to be made for sure, but if you are going to venture into homemade foods you must do it right or stay out of it. With pressure on profits from center-store losses, many stores have gotten into prepared foods and quite a few have done amazing jobs of providing this service safely every single day. The few who don't make all of us look bad. We get inspected randomly several times a year and have had no problems in how we handle and store our product and, believe me, it is a steep learning curve. My store wouldn't be here without our deli and meat department, so I must stay on top of food safety and it pays off. For anyone thinking about doing this in a bigger way, prepare for a lot of homework and invest in a consultant who can help you do it right, because prepared foods ain't for sissies either.
  • Posted on: 09/08/2016

    Can crowdsourced price data change shopping habits?

    Another app that will create nirvana for the militant drive-around shopper, which is fine for them. In reality, many shoppers prefer a go-to store with at least one or two more choices for their meats/deli, and perhaps a farmers-type market for local stuff. Our loyal shoppers know that they can come in here any day of the week and get the best prices on our perishables all over the store, and they shop Dollar General next door for Tide and other items and of course Walmart for more staple foods. If I do my job well I can count on them coming back to stock up on our perishables and if I don't they will go someplace else. All of us are aware of prices in the other stores and if the consumer wants to chase them all down, good for them. Most consumers value their time more than spending all day getting the lowest price in six locations, so I don't see much changing in how we do things here.
  • Posted on: 09/06/2016

    Why are retailers struggling to get social media right?

    Social media is something our store has been doing strongly for more than three years and before that we did email blasts for more than a decade. It requires time, labor and knowhow. I have seen some really good stuff from retailers and others that are downright horrible. Keeping it fresh and pulling out older content is a good start. Some stores' Facebook pages have their last entry from 2014. I have a few folks whose job it is to keep things going, and we try to make new catering or meat videos that also get posted on our YouTube channel.One huge thing for us, as mentioned above, is how quickly we respond to our customers questions and concerns. Our response rate is very good, as it is important to answer questions within a few hours or less.There are some pretty sophisticated websites out there that require a staff of employees to make them run smoothly, but no matter the size keep it focused and fresh with great photos, and above all engage quickly with your customers or risk losing them to someone else who does it better.
  • Posted on: 09/02/2016

    Walmart cuts in-store back-office jobs

    Walmart is continuing to upgrade their automation services, and more job cuts in these higher paid positions will continue. No one in business large or small wants to pay for more help than they need, and today's smart deal-buying consumers are driving all of us to find cost savings just to stay profitable. With a touch of a button consumers can sit back and have everything appear at their door in some cases in under an hour. The good old days are gone. Either streamline your business to fit your customers' needs and get involved with producing a workable social media platform or risk being out of business.I understand what my customers want, which is great deals and custom prepared foods. Unless I can make this happen very efficiently, without waste, I will struggle to keep their business. Walmart knows how to keep costs down better than anybody and, as big as they are, they will not waste a dime if it gets the desired results they need for their shareholders.
  • Posted on: 09/02/2016

    Can edible packaging help solve retail’s eco problem?

    Biodegradable packaging is fine, but edible packaging, forget about it. Zero waste is wonderful, but unlikely anytime soon, and for me I'm not eating the package of anything made unless of course it is chocolate. Happy Labor Day everyone.
  • Posted on: 09/01/2016

    Schnucks bans solicitors from outside its stores

    This is a unique situation for Schnucks, as it involves a labor dispute or we wouldn't be talking about this right now. The labor union forced their hand, and it is sad that the casualties of this are the Salvation Army and the Girl Scouts. None of this is good for their image, but I can understand why they had to do it. The business world can get ugly at times, and this might spread to other places but hopefully not. Our small town supports the bell-ringers whole heartily whenever they are here.
  • Posted on: 08/30/2016

    Target holds first storewide sale

    Well said Ori, and believe me, I try very hard to be different and it helps for sure. Wish it were different, but low prices are here to stay and the hunt is on for that next killer buy. I wish all my panelists and store owners a great holiday.
  • Posted on: 08/29/2016

    Target holds first storewide sale

    I have a question for all guests and panelists. We are all in favor of getting the best price when we shop, or at least the perception of the best price. Target runs a 10% off sale, and many here — and rightfully so — question it as a good move. In a country starving for value as consumers, and with exception to the high income areas, what happens when you do not heavily promote price? The answer, at least for me, is nothing.I understand all the nuances of providing uniqueness, and trendy merchandise, and all the other ways to market, but for many consumers, it comes down to price. Walmart did not become so huge because they had incredible service, or the best vacuum cleaners. They provided outstanding prices, and now they sell more groceries, and general merchandise than anyone in the world.Just a thought. All of us in business need be aware of our competitors' pricing or risk losing even more market share. Target is trying to move product, and yes I totally agree with what was said, and my Father said since I was a kid "anybody can give something away," and that will never change. Making money on a sale is an art form, and that my friends is where we need to be.
  • Posted on: 08/29/2016

    ConAgra, Unilever mull delivering meals to the home

    Exactly Ian. Entrepreneurs are busting their butts every day to create fresh new ideas, and I include myself in this category. All these delivery services are available right now, and only a few will survive, as the high income areas where these businesses can turn a profit are filled with similar companies. ConAgra can move forward with outstanding new products that are not only healthy, but also tasty and affordable. With their economies of scale, they would have a huge advantage over smaller start ups, so my advice to Con Agra is to make outstanding new foods that meet the criteria I stated, and success will follow.
  • Posted on: 08/26/2016

    Can we finally let Webvan rest in peace?

    I see the online business growing, but mostly in urban areas where delivery costs can be somewhat reasonable. Even at that, profitability will be difficult. I have studied this for several years and making money delivering groceries can not be profitable unless the prices of the foods are raised 10 percent to 15 percent above the brick-and-mortar stores, which may turn a small profit.I predict that the government is going to step in with additional regulations on the type of vehicle required, logging hours for delivery employees, inspections of all vehicles done randomly for cleanliness and probably a few other ridiculous regulations that will put an even greater strain on delivery profits. Click-and-collect will be the larger part of this growth, and the new designs of the future stores will have all the logistics designed for this program, as older stores currently do not have. It still comes down to value for most consumers, which is why click-and-collect will own the day, and the higher-cost delivery service will take care of the higher-ticket consumers for whom convenience is king.
  • Posted on: 08/26/2016

    Are wearables on the way out?

    My youngest son, who is a tech guru, has no desire to venture into this category, and many of his friends as well do not buy this stuff. If this is the bellwether for the future, then I think it will just be a passing fad. Our cellphones today can monitor miles walked, heart rate and a host of other free apps are part of the monthly service, and why buy expensive clothes, when your smartphone does the same thing? I know I won't be buying any unless the price drops to match my Kohl's offers, so we'll see how this goes.
  • Posted on: 08/26/2016

    Can Dollar General afford to price it out with Walmart?

    Dollar General is designed to go after any retail store, as their model is two or three employees working, and it has a low-budget basic layout. As someone who shares the same plaza next door to me, it has taken a big chunk of my center store dollars, and they do it with zero frills, which in our area works. I try to match them on the top 100 items, and it has cost my bottom line profits, but I need to stay relevant so I can get the customers in to buy perishables.If the $15 minimum wage goes nationwide than all bets are off, because prices will need to be raised by everyone, and Walmart has the staying power to outlast all of us, so for now Dollar General is a force, but that could change quickly as new mandates and laws continue to pile up on our desks.
  • Posted on: 08/22/2016

    Is on-site childcare the key to cutting employee turnover?

    These concepts can work well in the high tech industries, medical technology, and other firms that have excellent bottom lines. I don't know any employer — although I'm sure they are out there — who wouldn't want to do all these things described above. The problem is profits, and when you start adding in much higher healthcare premiums and higher labor costs, what is there left to add with these other benefits? I am speaking for small businesses, such as a small sub shop, beauty parlors, coffee shops, and other main street family businesses.Consumers are very savvy shoppers, and inflation is quite low in our industry, as raising prices is not a good thing to do. How can these retailers give paid family leave, along with child care, all while trying to maintain a bottom line in an ultra competitive environment? If they are forced to do this by government mandates, than you will have even more small business failures.I'm sure my thoughts are not popular, but I'm just being real, since I live in the small business world and also in a community that is struggling, but this is the reality of many small businesses today. For those robust industries, with growth and great bottom lines, I say absolutely go for it, and for those who cannot provide this, than so be it. The market for employees will dictate where they can and will work, providing they have the right skills to be in companies who can add this to their benefit plans.
  • Posted on: 08/22/2016

    Will Amazon drive-up grocery stores disrupt food retailing?

    This idea will probably happen. But a huge success? Probably not. I wouldn't drive to a pickup location and go home not knowing if my pack of ground round is the right size or knowing just how fresh it is and, for that matter, that's true of any perishable product. I have checked Amazon's grocery pricing and, for the most part, there is nothing that stands out price-wise. But again, the convenience factor, especially for some staples, might do well. With smaller-format food stores and local dollar stores popping up everywhere, it is a battleground for business. If Amazon can provide this service in the inner cities, where they have walk-up and bike traffic, it could do well. We will see.

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