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: 10/17/2019

    Is e-grocery less convenient than shopping in stores?

    Perishables, specialty items, and even some wine offerings will always do well in supermarkets who cater to their customers, with gourmet delis, choice or prime meats from a real live butcher, specialty foods, and someone who knows how to pick a great bottle of wine for that special dinner. Add in some great baked goods and you have a sustainable business model, especially in areas that are dying for these types of stores. That is the reason I'm still here, as grocery staples you can find everywhere or get delivered to your homes.
  • Posted on: 10/17/2019

    Will debt-free college make Chipotle the place to work in the restaurant biz?

    That is a great way to keep these new employees engaged, and after graduation they can move up the ladder to management. It is a good move.
  • Posted on: 10/15/2019

    Amazon makes its social positions public

    I respectfully disagree, and leave it at that.
  • Posted on: 10/15/2019

    Why are grocers still missing the mark with small food brands?

    It comes down to cost in my area, and that is the hardest part of moving this product. Many folks here are poor and can not afford any of these "healthy" alternatives. The few that do still want a great deal on them. I seek out healthy options in restaurants when I travel and even today, the selection is very limited -- even in cities with money. I'm all for this kind of really good stuff and occasionally I bring in some great deals on it, but the success is limited.
  • Posted on: 10/15/2019

    Will customers give Walmart the keys to their homes?

    If consumers are willing to actually pay the real cost of refrigerated and frozen foods then yeah, I'm in. Until that happens I'll let others lose money on it, and so be it.
  • Posted on: 10/15/2019

    Amazon makes its social positions public

    I see more and more of the mega-retailers trying to influence consumers to gain favor, and no one does propaganda better than they do. Most of it is tied into the global warming hoax, and a pile of liberal agendas that alienate many people who see things much differently. Always take care of your customers, help out those you can in your community, and somehow navigate the many obstacles to stay profitable, and you hopefully will continue on with your business for years to come.
  • Posted on: 10/15/2019

    Will customers give Walmart the keys to their homes?

    Many folks don't even like talking to their neighbors anymore. I see this as a very small niche scenario, as I don't want anyone in my home for this service, and my small sampling of folks who I talk with would not choose this option either. BOPIS is a yes for them. We'll see how this new service gains traction.
  • Posted on: 10/09/2019

    Will part-timers flock to Lidl after grocer offers health insurance for all?

    My question is, what type of healthcare? Is it a 50/50 split in the cost? If so, some employees probably cannot afford the premium, let alone the high deductible on most plans. Add in vision and dental and you have a great package, but there are no details on the cost. It is a noble idea from Lidl and, if it has a comprehensive package that is affordable to the employees, then yes it will attract new recruits. But until they release the actual plan with a clarification of what the employee share percentage is, it is hard to determine if this is a game changer or a media blitz.
  • Posted on: 10/08/2019

    Will Erewhon become the next Whole Foods?

    I don't think they can replicate Whole Foods, and they would have to compete in the same areas, where higher income consumers live. This concept would not survive in most cities, and forget the rural areas as well. High priced organic food and other clean eating food is priced way beyond the average pocketbook, and Whole Foods has the backing of Amazon, who will make sure that this competitor will get hammered if they enter Whole Foods' turf. Stay small and local and make money would be my advice, but I could be wrong.
  • Posted on: 10/02/2019

    Do Carolinians have Wegmans on their minds?

    Wegmans is the best and for their followers, they will do well anywhere they go. They only invest in high income areas and rightly so. They carve out a niche, and provide excellent service and amazing perishables. The best of the best, period.
  • Posted on: 09/30/2019

    Will consumers go for Kroger’s food hall concept?

    Just got back from the Food Service Summit which Winsight put on, and I spoke during one of the sessions. This Kroger Food Hall got a lot of discussion and everyone liked the idea, which I believe will do well, as it is in a high income area. Can they sell enough of the supermarket product to make this work? That is where the gravy profits needed to keep this concept going come from. Like Eataly, which does amazing business. Hopefully for Kroger it works out. If needed, they will tweak it to increase prepared foods if demand grows for this concept and shrink the other areas. Overall it should do quite well.
  • Posted on: 09/23/2019

    Amazon steps up on climate change, sort of

    Al Gore made more money claiming the world is in peril than anyone in history, and real facts matter to me. Some Democrats want to pass this "Green New Deal" which will save our planet, and all will be well. Really? The earth has changed from several cool downs and warming trends just in my lifetime, and yet the end is near according to politicians like AOC. If that's true then I'm Santa Claus. Scare tactics only work on those who are uninformed. We have cleaner water, better quality air, and more trees than ever in this country, as Capitalism is the engine for making everything better here. Our contribution as a nation to the global pollution is less than 4 percent of the total mess, and one volcano contributes more CO2 than all of mankind does, and plant life absorbs it for their needed growth. Can we do better? Absolutely, and there are companies right now working on plant-based bags and packaging, which is in the very near future becoming affordable for the masses. Did anyone see the mess protesters left after the big environmental protest parties yesterday? Plastic bottles and trash everywhere, from the hypocrites who claim we should do more to protect our environment. I'm prepared for the backlash as always, but the earth is going to do what it has since its creation, and an awareness of keeping our cities cleaner, without crushing our economy with ridiculous rules, should be the proper response, not forecasting Armageddon.
  • Posted on: 09/19/2019

    What is retail’s role in building a better society?

    This subject is something my parents taught me when I was very little, and I'm so grateful for their teachings on the importance of serving the community. They said there are three Ts in serving others: your talent, treasure, or your time, all of which can benefit those who need help. The biggest impression left upon me was never ever to boast about the good things you do, because good works should be a part of your life. It was expected that I give back, and it became second nature to provide help when the community needed us. Also don't expect anything in return for your efforts, as it goes against what true giving is. The best part is later on when you are down or a friend is struggling, something good happens, and that is your reward, which is a great feeling inside. I believe whether you own a business or not, all of us should remember that we are capable of doing good things for others, and rather than trying to solve global problems, we should work to make our own a communities a better place. When other communities then do likewise, we are all better off. If you haven't found a cause, they are out there -- so enjoy the effort, as it is worth it.
  • Posted on: 09/18/2019

    Are grocers falling short in selling better-for-you foods?

    I believe it should stand in its own section and, if you have the right clientele, it should do well. I did this about eight years ago and, unfortunately, even though I discounted the product from the get-go, the folks in our area would not spend the money to make it work. I moved a few of the better sellers into the aisle, mixed into the other grocery items and they still sell today. There is demand for healthy alternatives, but make sure your provide a value because the mega stores and Aldi carry these items. I would make sure that you are in the same ballpark on pricing if you want to move the product. Post the product on your website and Facebook page, and post nutritional info as well. That makes it easy for your customers to shop for the product.
  • Posted on: 09/17/2019

    Have U.S. malls lost their sense of community?

    Malls for the most part are fading away, but there are some things that can be done. Our mall was open in 1992 and, after the tax breaks ran out, the anchors packed it in and left. Slowly over time there was only about 25 percent open, and the rest of the monster anchors were shuttered. Two of my cousins and three other investors bought the entire mall for 10 cents on the dollar and have kept it clean and safe for many years. They added a huge University Hospital medical clinic which took over the Dillard's, a Wildfire Dance team took over a large local department home store and a Planet Fitness opened where Sears used to be. Meanwhile the giant Kmart sits empty and a pile of empty storefronts still are waiting to be filled. We have a Pretzel Time and a Mexican restaurant with eight empty food court businesses. The mall makes money for the owners thanks to the outlying places, and the new clinic is doing very well. Look at the downtowns and local small businesses who are struggling. Shopping local seems like a nice word, but in the long run the mega stores are dominating the rural landscapes. There are no easy answers for the retail changes going on, but at least our mall is trying.

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