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: 10/17/2018

    Eddie Lampert is the worst

    Seems like Eddie was all about Eddie, and the employees are screwed. Sears was going down anyway, but this guy is beyond selfish, and he will walk away with a pile of money, which is sad, but probably legal. Integrity in life and business is something we all should strive for, and even in failure you must walk away knowing you did your best for your employees, and community. There will be more failing retailers large and small as the mega giants are mowing down the competition, so I wish all entrepreneurs success in the coming holiday season.
  • Posted on: 10/16/2018

    Does anyone pay the full retail price anymore?

    So true Bob, but you must provide hot deals on the top items, or it simply will not sell. Making money in other areas is the key.
  • Posted on: 10/16/2018

    Does anyone pay the full retail price anymore?

    In my business 90 percent to 95 percent of my customers are big -ime bargain hunters, as the grocery business is kinda like Rodney Dangerfield -- we get no respect. If you think like it's the '80s or '90s you're probably out of business, as consumers can find shelf-stable groceries everywhere and making money on these top 300 items is a thing of the past. I'm sure others will say differently and yes, in a resort town or a booming suburb you can increase your retail prices, but in rural towns, forget about it. That also goes for clothing stores, department stores and online, where people can sit and shop till they find the product they want at the lowest price, and wait for the one-day mega sales if needed. Bargain hunting is a sport today, and it takes a lot of talented people to engage bargain hunters when they come into any store. The ones that do it the best will make money and the rest will perish, unless they can run some signature foods that make them stand out, which is what I try to do. Bargain hunting isn't going away, and unless you know how to play the game you won't survive the Hunger Games (sorry had to throw that in). Have a great day.
  • Posted on: 10/01/2018

    Is traffic a flawed measure of engagement?

    Pretty much sums up my feelings. Give me some traffic, and life would be great. Problem is traffic is down in many retail stores, so we have to fight to bring them in, and for me, I can win the transaction battle if I engage with my customers, as customer service is in my DNA. Retail is insanity on steroids in my business, and for many others as well, and how well the customers are treated still resonates with customers who want the personal touch.
  • Posted on: 09/19/2018

    Will competition force all grocers to offer free store pickup?

    Forcing a free service which is very costly is something many small retailers can not provide and the mega retailers know it. Even if it costs millions in losses to provide this service, eventually the small stores will go under, thus switching more market share to the mega stores. I’ve studied this service for 3 years, and ran all the numbers on real cost of delivery. Unless they raise the prices on the grocery bill by at lest another 15%, they will not turn a profit, as the profit margins are the lowest in the industry. I actually live this every day, and I deliver catering safely in my van with a delivery charge, as Walmart doesn’t provide this, since they don’t do what I do. This won’t end well for many small town supermarket owners, and they better start working hard on creating incredible perishable foods that the competition simply can not do. You can’t win the staple grocery war, so focus on fresh, and provide world class service.
  • Posted on: 09/17/2018

    What will a ‘new standard for green retail’ mean for Starbucks’ results?

    I'm sure some folks will go out of their way to support this effort and I'm all for better ways to go greener, but Starbucks has billions to spend and my local coffee shop, which I support, does not. I love the local coffee shop and the personal attention they give to their customers will keep me coming back, and the coffee is great, plus it costs less money than Starbucks. So for me I'll stick with them and McDonald's $1 coffee when I travel.
  • Posted on: 09/11/2018

    A tale of two retail real estate markets

    Money, the local economy, and local regulations and taxes are all factored into who will rent or not rent. NYC is a mega touristy town and for years has had very high rents. But with online changing everything, businesses are backing away from renting as they simply can not turn a decent profit. The monster retailers have moved big time online as well, and unless they get a sweetheart deal, they may think twice before opening anymore stores in these high rent districts. I just had my horrible landlord stop in for the first time in 6 years, which was quite shocking. I told him to start thinking about a better lease or possible sale of my part of the building, as the rent is way too high for the business climate today. Rural poor economies across our country are seeing stores shutter, with a mega Walmart, an Aldi, and 20 Dollar stores taking most of our retail dollars, and it is difficult to continue, unless things change in terms of fixed expenses. I'll figure out something, but for many as stated above, early retirement looks pretty good for some small businesses, and that is the simple truth.
  • Posted on: 09/10/2018

    Grab and go and yadda-yadda

    Running a prepared foods department can be a daunting task, and there is no one-size-fits-all blueprint for each store. The local gas station/truck stop food is a fast paced world of pre-made heat and eat foods, that cater to grab & go customers, who need a quick fix, which includes pre packed sandwiches that need daily monitoring. The margins are high to allow for shrink and if maintained properly, it can be a simple way to provide products to your customers. If you decide to prepare homemade foods on site, than you are in a whole different world, and it takes a long time to learn the ins and outs of this concept. The rewards are greater, but it must be done with trained staff that follow the recipe to a "T", and a tight control of inventory, dates, sanitation laws, and proper selling techniques. Been doing this for years and I love the daily challenges, but it is very hard work to get it right. Whichever model you choose, stay committed to freshness and you will be successful.
  • Posted on: 09/10/2018

    It’s no more ‘burn, baby, burn’ for Burberry

    By admitting what they did, Burberry will receive scorn from lots of folks who love to pass judgement on others. It happens every day on social media and if I owned the company, this wouldn't have happened in the first place. I run an all-scratch gourmet deli, and nothing ever goes to waste. We control the production to limit the pull date, but if we screw up, it gets frozen right away, and given to our local food bank/soup kitchen every week. Burberry should recycle these to homeless shelters, overseas charities, or organizations that give these clothes to very poor families. Or better yet, they should reach out locally and have their employees drop off clothing to the local community shelters, which would bring excellent goodwill for the effort. A kinder simpler solution will happen, and I applaud them for making a change in a positive way.
  • Posted on: 09/06/2018

    Will a bot soon be taking your order at the drive-thru?

    This is something that hopefully will work, as the human transactions can be a hit or miss, on what they actually give you. Now if they can get the folks to pay attention better to your order, we all win.
  • Posted on: 08/29/2018

    What should retailers do to ensure seafood sustainability?

    Consumers still want great prices on everything, and the difference just in the cost of shrimp from the U.S. vs. Vietnam or China is around 40 percent more. In some stores it is not a problem, but for guys like me price wins every single time. We have some limited-assortment stores and our favorite big box store is selling beef from Mexico and, worse, dairy cattle fillets cheap, with zero flavor. It gets harder everyday to try and explain to consumers the difference in prices, but I take the time to answer their questions and set their minds at ease, which usually leads to a sale. I will stick with my USDA Choice beef program and continue to sell the deal shrimp and Tilapia -- as it sells, whereas my efforts to sell U.S. shrimp have failed miserably. You must get to know your customer base and provide them with the products they can afford, but I will always try to provide exceptional values that meet my standards so my customers do not lose faith in my programs.
  • Posted on: 08/27/2018

    Can Zippin zip past where Amazon Go is going?

    Technology is moving forward with stuff so fast, it makes my head spin. "Just walk out" kinda sounds like an offer to shoplifters, who would be glad to oblige and walk out with the goods, except, the stores actually want to be paid for the stuff. So the slogan sounds innocent, but it can be misconstrued for certain folks. I couldn't help myself there, but yes, this is going to be the new thing in the future, as human-less, wireless and digital everything will make the need for engaging the consumer useless. But I still see the need for consumers who prefer the real folks taking their money. Both transactions will still be needed, and finding the right mix will take some thought. A friendly, engaging cashier will always remain an asset and technology will fill in the rest.
  • Posted on: 08/24/2018

    Will Kroger’s ban mean the end of plastic bags in grocery stores?

    Plastic bags will still be around, and for me I'm always skeptical of these moves as Kroger wants avoid the scorn of the folks who want to ban plastic straws. Yes I'm for common sense solutions, and plastic bags in the future will be made from combinations of biodegradable material, to lessen the waste in our landfills. The change will come from very smart folks who will create new packaging that will do no harm.
  • Posted on: 08/10/2018

    Can on-demand sales stabilize Blue Apron?

    Blue Apron and others in this arena are struggling for a couple of reasons. For one, the cost of the product is too high unless they keep giving you $40 discounts with free delivery every time, and people of my generation generally know how to cook and prefer picking out what they want at the store, with significant savings in their pocket. High income couples may have tried this, but the return business hasn't happened in numbers that are sustainable for success in the long run. My son tried one with his friends and said it is nowhere near enough food for hungry adults, and again wasn't worth the money spent. Many consumers want value and when the original great deals stopped, so did the repeat business.
  • Posted on: 08/06/2018

    Kroger takes on Visa

    Costco did this a few years ago by throwing American Express out of their stores, and struck a better deal with Visa. Their business disruption was not a factor at all, as it was a smooth transition. Major mega retailers are pounding everyone for lower costs, and deals to add profits to the bottom line, and will continue to use their power to stay on top. In the end, Visa will cave to some degree and lower their fees, and guess who will pay more? That's right, the smaller retailers will pick up the slack, and that is how retail works today.

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