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: 06/18/2018

    Microsoft exploring checkout-less technologies

    This technology all sounds great, but it will be difficult for an independent operator to afford the upfront costs to do this. I see many large regional chains looking at this, but even they will test it in a few stores to work out the issues before a massive changeover occurs. What about the friendly associates who handle not only the transaction, but engage with customers to make sure their needs are all met, including carry outs, and specialty orders? We'll see how this goes, and it will move forward at a steady pace. If costs continue to drop, then smaller businesses may adopt it as well. We talk a lot about outstanding customer service. This could possibly backfire for some stores who make the changeover without shifting the front-end staff to other positions -- such as customer service concierge agents -- which would be wise.
  • Posted on: 06/18/2018

    Is Amazon killing Barnes & Noble’s chances for a turnaround?

    They just shut down a gigantic store in Erie Pa., and unfortunately, they probably will not survive in the long run. Amazon is the current commerce killer; add in Walmart, and you have little chance to grow your retail business in today's marketplace. There will be more casualties, and Amazon will be bigger than any retail business in the world in the near future. Niche stores that operate in good markets will continue to do well, but the outlying rural areas will continue to see shuttered stores, as foot traffic is decreasing every year.
  • Posted on: 05/24/2018

    Kroger to become meal kit force with Home Chef deal

    This is an easy way for mega-companies to stay on the cutting edge, by purchasing a home meal kit business. It is simply a better investment for Kroger to allow Home Chef to provide the service and place instant displays inside their stores very soon. Walmart has been buying companies for years and Kroger is following in their footsteps. Trader Joe's may be next, with their all-organic meal kits to satisfy the higher-end foodies, and Starbucks probably will have complete breakfast kits to go. Until this trend slows down (which will be in the near future) it should be a profitable add-on for the more affluent areas.
  • Posted on: 05/22/2018

    Ellison leaves Penney, further fueling doubts

    J.C. Penney is not far behind Sears in its extinction, as retail continues to dismiss the once powerful stores that dotted the landscape across the country. More regional chains will disappear and that is simply the way things are going, as online, combined with super fast free delivery has blown up the conventional business model. Consolidation with mega monster retailers will be the winners, and any new entries into the marketplace must be high-quality, high-service style stores with an impressive online performance, or they too will perish. Wishing it away won't help, and small businesses that take care of their customers' needs will stick around for years to come, as brick-and-mortar will always fill the needs for millions of consumers who demand the personal touch.
  • Posted on: 05/22/2018

    Amazon bans chronic returners

    Even Amazon is tired of the folks who abuse the return policy, and for those who think they should not ban them, I'm wondering why. Customers who pull this stuff do not deserve the right to buy from anyone, and that is how many businesses view this since we have to eat the cost and that is simply wrong. The folks who continue to buy in good faith will have no problems when the need for a credit is justified, and Amazon will be careful in the way they handle this I'm sure.
  • Posted on: 05/02/2018

    Whole Foods to become a Prime perk for Amazon’s customers

    This will draw a few more high-end shoppers into Whole Foods for sure, and Amazon wins again. For most folks on a budget, they are not going to pay 30 percent to 40 percent more at Whole Foods just to get 10 percent off so, yes, Whole Foods will pick up business for sure, but many others simply can not afford to do their big weekly shopping there.
  • Posted on: 05/02/2018

    Will shoppers go to Walmart to buy a car?

    If Walmart wants to sell cars, good for them. If you want to buy a car, there are many good websites to research your vehicle and get an idea on the prices. Once you have done that, take your information to a local dealer and work out a deal. They will see the information you have in your hand, so they will know you are a well-informed consumer, and the bait and switch stuff won't be a problem. I bought all of my cars from dealers from my county, and they make some profit on the transaction, which is fine. But gouge me and it's not gonna happen. I am prepared to pay a fair price and the local car dealers know me quite well. If I have any problems with the vehicle I will get good service, as they back up what they sell, and that goes a long way with me. Walmart is in it for a quick buck, and I'll take local all day long.
  • Posted on: 04/30/2018

    Walgreens tests lower prices, membership savings

    To a point you are correct Ian, but with a million places to buy staple goods, Walgreens needs to get real on their high prices. Price is still king and for those who disagree, fine, but outside of some signature items, if you don't have key items close to cost or even less they are going to collect dust, as there are 10 more stores within two miles that will sell them for less. It is the reality of today. There will be more closures of business to weed out the over-stored landscape. This is the ugly truth about retail today, especially in rural areas, and staying sharp on value must be your mantra or you risk being a memory in your town. Also great service is a given, as no one will put up with a grouch waiting on them.
  • Posted on: 04/27/2018

    AI for e-mail? Marketers enthused, but not without concerns

    Machines have their place for sure, but success for many businesses still comes from a beating heart with a smile -- a person who actually listens to your concerns. I can give you a million examples on how to make a sale and build loyalty through the personal touch, but this is an internet-driven site, and I fully appreciate what our online social media program can do to bring in the customers. However, once they come in, how they are greeted and treated is what builds loyalty. That is much stronger than robots, or AI, and small business folks who know how to engage with their customers will win the loyalty game the old-fashioned way, which is one customer at a time. Combining online personalizing with the old-fashioned style of service would be a win/win, and that is how the future of our business will continue to stay relevant. Have a great weekend everyone.
  • Posted on: 04/26/2018

    McDonald’s newest restaurant has international flavor

    McDonald's -- for me and my friends, anyway -- isn't going to get me in there to buy anything, as the quality of the food is awful. They are a price conscious fast food restaurant. Their trying to create an international cuisine gives me pause, as what level of quality can they possibly produce to make anyone with a refined palate want to buy it from McDonald's? Does this make me a food snob? Maybe, but I don't see this as a huge success.
  • 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

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