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: 10/05/2017

    Have retailers killed off Black Friday?

    For myself, I never have gone on a Black Friday shopping spree and never will. With online deals at Macy's and Kohl's, etc. there is no longer, for me anyway, a reason to fight crowds. Also the Saturday after Thanksgiving is a religious holiday for me, which is Ohio State vs. Michigan, and that my friends is what I gear up for.
  • Posted on: 10/02/2017

    Is the time right for Kroger to go hyper-local?

    Thank you David for your honest and blunt comment on all this hoopla. Consumers always respond to lower prices and, yes, there are some foodies who will pay more, and tell their friends at a dinner party that their green beans all had a name and were hand picked by Juan Valdez. Aldi sells more produce than any other store in our county, so price for most of us is the driving factor. You want real opinions on the supermarket, talk to the store owners who know how important price is to their customers and you'll get an earful.
  • Posted on: 09/29/2017

    How can grocers improve their digital experiences?

    Again, for me it is quite simple. When I find an incredible deal, it immediately goes out on my social media platform, with a picture, the great price, with a description, and invite the customer in to grab it while it lasts! This is stone age commerce, with a digital twist, and it works. Started a sale on 10-lb. tubes of 93% lean Ground Sirloin Thursday afternoon. It is only $2.49lb., which is half of the competitors price, and by tonight 800 lbs. of it will be gone. Our FB page gets great responses to amazing values all the time, so YES it works if you have the right product to move at an amazing price, and in this area, this is what my customers are looking for to feed their families.I also post videos of catering events, and unique pictures of specialty foods or wines we bring in, and get good responses, so there are many ways to draw them in, but nothing beats an amazing price, on a hot meat item, for me.
  • Posted on: 09/25/2017

    Pirch: Is it a first mover case study or a flawed model?

    Hey Bob, you nailed it. Many people now are shopping around to find what they can afford and are not splurging on high-end products, as they have bills to pay. Anything high-end that has a limited clientele is fighting for the same dollar. Free coffee and wine will not win customers over unless they like the deal or, more importantly, find a unique item they can't get anywhere else. The internet has changed everything, and it will be tough sledding for these types of stores except in a few upper-end markets in a couple of cities.
  • Posted on: 09/22/2017

    Hilton Honors members go shopping with points on Amazon

    Hey Richard, excellent point on the draining of the Hilton Honors Points.
  • Posted on: 09/22/2017

    Albertsons buys its way into the meal kit business with Plated acquisition

    At our Ohio grocers convention, we took a poll of who actually uses this. There were 10 people, and only one continues to use the service. Others said it was OK but not worth the price after the initial $30 discount ran out. The quality was fine but the portions were small. This small batch of folks may be skewed but value still must be there or consumers will bolt. This will continue to evolve and I believe someone, probably Walmart or Amazon, will end up owning a company that provides this with everyday low prices. Then maybe we will see the growth they expect.
  • Posted on: 09/22/2017

    Hilton Honors members go shopping with points on Amazon

    YAWN! Max is correct, this deal is a joke. But these hotels and Kohl's and others are paying an almost godlike respect to Amazon. For me it shows the power they have to get other major corporations using their services -- as if this will make me stay there, which of course I won't.
  • Posted on: 09/21/2017

    Are retailers getting comfy with click & collect?

    I have already said what I know for my store, and that is it won't work, as structurally we are not prepared for this. I will continue to move forward on our online, email, or phone in orders for meat, deli/bakery, and catering orders, which we can have ready same day or whenever they want to pick this up, which includes paying online ahead for it, if they choose. Stores built in the 1960s would need to invest quite heavily in redoing the stores, adding coolers, and more technology, and it must be tested slowly to make it right. What is the ROI? Not sure, but for now I'll keep taking the items I can work with, and make sure we are right every single time.
  • Posted on: 09/21/2017

    Will a new lunch menu make Starbucks a food giant?

    I'll be brief. Starbucks for me does a good job selling coffee, but lunches and food, without a kitchen to make what the customer wants ... I will go to Panera instead, plus get a great cup of coffee there.
  • Posted on: 09/20/2017

    Will others follow Neiman Marcus’ return to a full-price focus?

    Maybe Nieman Marcus can pull this off, but retail these days is brutal for all of us and full-price clothing is something that would appeal to a very slim few who are willing to pay for the latest fashion line. The rest of us will wait until it goes on sale at 50 percent off (plus another 20 to 25 percent). Good luck on this, as all the other stores will continue to provide the customers with deals.
  • Posted on: 09/20/2017

    Kohl’s to accept product returns for Amazon

    There is a small chance of this working in Kohl's favor but, hey, retailers are desperate and Amazon knows this. I see more desperate moves coming as stores follow to the abyss of retail failure. I like Kohl's but this, for me anyways, is like giving up.
  • Posted on: 09/15/2017

    Kitchen 1883 may be a new platform for Kroger’s growth

    Kroger has a huge opportunity to really make this a unique experiment, and it remains to be seen if they can pull it off. If I were involved, there would be a nice section of the menu dedicated to gourmet scratch prepared gluten free/sugar free options, as this is the category that remains way underserved, believe me I know. It can be done, and as someone who prepares this type of food for my store, the repeat customers are near 100%, as no one in my area is doing this. Locally sourced foods, and signature, soups, salads, entrees, & desserts, if done by a trained chef, will go along way to making this venture grow. I wish them well.
  • Posted on: 09/14/2017

    Is BOPIS degrading the in-store experience?

    As a store owner, BOPIS for me has been around since the store was opened, only in a different way. We do not have the proper infrastructure to pull off full-blown BOPIS, but have been preparing meat, deli, bakery and catering orders for pickup forever. The difference today is that now customers can order these same items online, via e-mail and still over the phone, and we always have it ready when they get here. The other change is that we can have it rung through with their credit card or charge account and there is very little time spent waiting around to get the product.This is my version of BOPIS. There are not pull-up lanes in my plaza and a platform for bringing groceries into this equation without clogging up my cooler space, so it is the best we can do for now. This is personal for me, and I make sure my customers get exactly what they want. We have a lot of repeat orders from customers for their next trip to the store. Have a great day everyone.
  • Posted on: 09/06/2017

    Do independent retailers need a marketing plan?

    Absolutely! I know who I am and, for many years, many small tweaks have been put in to enhance our business. Now more than ever, knowing what gets customers excited about your store is vital for survival, as you can not be all things to all people. We are not all Walmart or Amazon. Build the niches that make your store profitable and stay ahead of the learning curve or risk failure.Social media is extremely valuable but, again, it takes skill, hard work and staying fresh with your material online, or customers will not check in to see what you have going on. Most of all, you must understand the art of outstanding customer service and engagement, which my dad pounded into my brain from a very young age. That is probably my biggest advantage over any store and I'm always trying to come up with new ways to offer products that engage all the senses of my customers, which -- believe me -- leads to more sales and better retention. Old-fashioned great service never, ever goes out of style.
  • Posted on: 09/06/2017

    Do grocers need to reset the center store?

    There is a need to re-do the center store for a variety of reasons. I have eliminated a lot of SKUs due to our area competition, as regular price does not sell in stores around here. I am expanding more deal-to-deal products and have been discounting healthy options for years with limited success -- high-end gourmet is a tough sell here in Northeastern Ohio. We are bringing in a new line of gourmet dog treats made from all natural Black Angus beef. Of course it's discounted, but still profitable.We are building displays inside the aisles as if they are end caps to promote hot deals and unique in-and-out foods that can bring a great value for a family meal. Independents in small towns need to offer more perishable deals as well, which always do well, and keep finding healthy options that vendors are heavily promoting. This leads to much better price points for the customer. The old way of doing business is dead and has been for years. So yes I agree something needs to be done -- or enjoy early retirement, because you will not survive doing things from the 1980s.

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