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: 04/16/2018

    Can food halls become retail’s new anchors?

    This all comes down to a couple of factors for me. Foot traffic and money, which simply stated is how success is measured. In my town, our mall has one vendor left, and 9 empty food stores, so no it won't work in our county as the economy is horrible. Suburban malls that still have at least 75-80% occupancy can work, if the selection, and quality of the food is excellent, and food trends continue to change, so it would have to be upgraded every few years to allow for the new trendy operations. I have been to a lot of cities and there are plenty of empty spaces to fill, so the landlords need to be creative, and accept the fact that high-end leases are a thing of the past, with few exceptions. Restaurants and food trucks are everywhere and to succeed, you better have the right location and a few signature, must-have dishes or sandwiches to survive.
  • Posted on: 04/13/2018

    Will electric vehicles prove a bane or a boon for c-stores and energy drinks?

    Electric cars are few and far between, and unless they can come up with a car that gets 500 miles between plug-ins, and lower the prices, it isn't going to to make any difference in how things are right now. I'll be 85 years old before any significant changes are made, and it will be a hydrogen-type of vehicle in my opinion, as hydrogen is plentiful and creates zero emissions. We'll see what happens.
  • Posted on: 03/08/2018

    Will all retailers soon go cashier-less?

    The simple answer is no. In spite of all the technology, some stores simply can not afford all of this, and many customers still like a well run front-end with a friendly smile and someone to help you out to the car. We have all the credit card and social media stuff, which is great, but I'm sorry, my store will stay as it is for our cashier situation. If I'm wrong, so be it. Old-fashioned service is what I prefer. When I go out shopping and that makes me out of touch with reality, grab me a glass of wine and I'll debate it with my tech friends and see how it turns out.
  • Posted on: 02/27/2018

    Sam’s Club to push same-day grocery deliveries with Instacart deal

    True, but the Catch 22 is that the customer doesn't want to pay for delivery either, as they have no clue what the cost to deliver is, nor do they care. Some will pay no matter what, but in my town, it simply doesn't work. Amazon has created this false scenario that everything should be shipped free, and consumers are buying into it. So again, it is a tough thing to overcome, as we in the supermarket business run on the smallest margins ever.
  • Posted on: 02/27/2018

    Kroger dedicates new research center to food innovation

    Kroger has the skilled staff and the money to pull this off, and it puts them in the driver's seat when it comes to picking a supplier that will make their new items. Negotiations for the final cost should be interesting. It is a small investment to gain a much larger payback long-term, and they certainly know what they are doing. A win for Kroger
  • Posted on: 02/27/2018

    Sam’s Club to push same-day grocery deliveries with Instacart deal

    This is something that fits into the overall Walmart strategy, and there will be folks who will use the service. I looked into Costco, with their new delivery service, and basically it has jacked up all the prices to make up the cost to deliver. Everything was around $1 per SKU higher than the folks who go to the warehouse and buy it, as I know their prices for my pickups. Some may not be aware of this but, again, nothing is free, and Costco along with Sam's will offer this service for anyone who wants to pay extra -- so let the buyer beware.
  • Posted on: 02/20/2018

    Will parents and kids go for healthier Happy Meals?

    It is not a bad thing to do, but it is still fast food. By making the portions smaller you can meet the guidelines, which is not rocket science problem solving. How about some low-carb wrap burgers, and carrot sticks to replace the fries as an option? There you might have something unique. McDonald's is a monster franchise, and if it really wanted to alter the current Happy Meal it should just add real healthy options and keep the original, giving the customers a real choice and letting them decide.
  • Posted on: 02/08/2018

    Will Office Depot’s BizBox become the go-to place for SMBs?

    If and only if Office Depot can get new clients just starting a new business, then they have a chance of doing well with this concept. I have a pretty good social media platform, a computer person and an outstanding accountant that exclusively takes care of retail food stores. Why would I switch when I have these people who I trust? We'll see where this goes, but Office Depot knows it must offer all these other services in order to survive, just like I have to create more perishable sales, because buying copy paper and printer inks is now like buying Kraft mac and cheese, and the profit margins are slim-to-none. Good luck, but it will be tough going trying to change established businesses who are loyal to the local folks who take care of the services Office Depot is trying to go after.
  • Posted on: 02/08/2018

    Amazon rolls out Prime Now deliveries from Whole Foods

    Thank you Anne for reading between the lines. I simply cannot deliver groceries for many reasons, and the number one reason is the need to make a profit. If Whole Foods delivers for free, you can bet it will be at regular retail, not the front page loss leaders, and that for many of us is the problem. In my town, which is extremely poor, our customers want rock bottom prices or they will find another store at which to buy things, which is the reality of small town USA. If you add in any service like BOPIS or delivery, it will erode what small profits you might have, and no one in our town is delivering except Walmart for staples. Whole Foods will do well with this, as they have very strong profit margins on the goods they sell and they will not give up these margins anytime soon, especially with free delivery. Advantage: again, Amazon.
  • Posted on: 02/05/2018

    Will a co-branded credit card boost Starbucks’ sales?

    How many credit cards can one person own? I get offers three times a week online, and in the mail, and it never stops. The groupies who love Starbucks will love it but, for me many others, it is something I do not need. The four cards I have are enough.
  • Posted on: 01/31/2018

    Will retailers regret raising worker expectations around corporate tax cuts?

    It all depends on the type of industry you are in, and for my industry huge raises are not going to be the norm, as profit margins are shrinking every year and hiring extra staff is the exception rather than the rule. Auto makers, manufacturing, oil and gas exploration, major tech companies and construction trades will benefit the most, and some very large big box stores as well. I have no regrets giving annual raises, but $1,000 bonuses for me aren't gonna happen, as the bottom line isn't there for many small businesses in our area. For the businesses that are doing this, I say it is a wonderful thing, but over promising will create backlash as it may not be sustainable for next year. And what will happen next year cannot be predicted for any company.
  • Posted on: 01/29/2018

    Robots are not the answer to store challenges

    Speaking as a dinosaur before the robots took over, there is a place for robotics. But as I have said ten thousand times before, most customers need the human touch, especially in the independent stores. Big box stores may use robots for stocking shelves, but outstanding humans who are well trained in customer service will never be out of style. As a matter of fact, the top tier sales associates are in short supply more than ever before, as we rely so much on clicking a mouse to get stuff. I have a pretty good staff of folks who are trained in customer service, and it has kept us in business for many years. Things are changing quickly, and in my area, not for the better as our economy is in depression mode. But where the money areas are, there is the opportunity for amazing stores that know how to produce great products, with great associates, and they will continue to do very well.
  • Posted on: 01/26/2018

    Grocers confront the fragmentation of loyalty

    Consumers are mostly loyal to their pocketbooks around here, and price is the primary driving force. Anyone naive enough to believe any different is fooling themselves. However, there is another, and way better, form of loyalty -- that is in the individual touches a store can add that makes the consumer want to be their friend. Building a relationship with customers one at a time, for me, is why I'm still here. That type of loyalty is very strong. It may not be a very large segment of customers, but over time it will grow because of the unique offerings you can provide for them that the big stores simply can not High-quality gourmet delis, Bakery products, custom-cut all natural meats, vintage wines at 50 percent off and the ability to talk to a customer who has very special dietary needs, has been my focus for many years. It keeps me motivated, as every week I can pick out one or two customers who see me in a different light because I help solve their needs, and do it one-on-one. It is satisfying to see the results of a customer who goes out of their way to shop your store for the right reasons, besides price. Price is still important, but you can provide price and a personal touch, which the big stores can not do. Get on the floor or in the deli and talk to people, and be a good listener. Good things will follow for sure.
  • Posted on: 01/25/2018

    Starbucks and Amazon go cashless in Seattle

    Really! Another reason to go to a local coffee shop. Cash is going to be around for a long time folks, and it keeps me from overpaying for stuff I don't need. Starbucks is very tech-forward, and many folks love them, whereas I do not but again that's me. My $10 bets on the golf course are played for cash, and I want to choose when I use my debit or credit card, not be forced to do it because Starbucks says so. The cell phones don't fit into slot machines or blackjack tables either, just saying.
  • Posted on: 01/22/2018

    Amazon Go goes live

    Hi Marge. Your final comments about the disconnect seems to get lost in the enthusiasm for this incredible technology, where if we don't adapt, than we are fools. I know on this site I'm the dinosaur of the panel, but I wear the badge with pride. Technology for independent operators is great, as I love the social media aspect and front-end technology. However, no android or high tech gizmos can replace someone like me, who knows the ins and outs of real, live customer service, and that -- in spite of what is posted here -- matters more than ever. Amazon is a monster, full of great innovative ideas for sure, but someone still has to provide the human touch for the folks who demand it, and there are plenty of customers who will support these types of stores. Adapting to new technology is one thing, but old fashioned "look em' in the eye," and provide a valuable tip on prepping a dish, or an ear to someone who needs advice will always be in demand, and hopefully, I'll be one of those who can provide the answers.

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