PROFILE
  • Tony Orlando
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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: 01/15/2021

    Would a Not-Amazon.ca-like effort help indy retailers compete with the online giant?

    In theory, yes, small businesses should be building up their own website. In practice, many small businesses do not have the time to do such a thing. Building your own website and engaging in brand outreach takes more effort than using a Wix template and starting a Facebook page. It involves things like SEO, targeted ads, etc, etc, not to mention the internet infrastructure that is likely to be involved. This concept is a good one. It is the ecommerce equivalent of the Japanese bumblebees that ball up to take down the giant invasive wasp. One platform where small businesses can team together to create one cohesive directory/marketplace is a good thing and certainly has a place in the market, and actually in some cases, is a better idea than trying to be a one man band and take on retail titans alone. My one gripe with the website is that it's called, "Not Amazon," which is just branding mistake 101, since you have your competitor's name in your website even if it's painted in a negative light. Should have been called something else.
  • Posted on: 01/08/2021

    Shopify dumps Trump’s stores from its platform

    The last few days have convinced me to bow out gracefully from RetailWire. I need to prioritize my life and focus on the work that I do, and this no longer is fun anymore. I am grateful for the opportunity doing this for many years, and since the birth of my grandson in June he is now my focus, and working with young kids in the school systems as I have done for 30+ years. I will peek in at times, and I will continue to help other small Independents if they need me. I thank everyone and wish all of you good health and Happy New Year. God Bless America.
  • Posted on: 01/07/2021

    Retailers call on Trump to end the national chaos he created

    It is amazing after yesterday that the business leaders have come out of the woodwork denouncing the actions at the Capitol, and for the record it was a very sad day indeed. Why is it that you could hear crickets in the last 18 months, as major cities were burning to the ground with lootings and cops being shot, and yet the media was silent? The election is over, and Biden is our President very soon, and we will see what he does to bring us together, as they fought every single action from impeachment, to fake Russian stories, and attacking anyone who has a conservative viewpoint calling them racists, and homophobes. Let's see what policies and other important issues our new administration has in store for us, as higher taxes on business and the Green New Deal will be pushed very hard in the first 100 days. Retirement is sounding pretty good in a few years, and I will always pray for my country and the heroes who protect our freedoms.
  • Posted on: 01/07/2021

    Will meatless burgers moo-ve in on beef’s market share as prices fall?

    I have tried these products, and those who love them will appreciate the lower price. For us lovers of real beef hamburgers, it won't move the needle at all. I love vegetables, but nothing beats a great burger with real beef.
  • Posted on: 12/23/2020

    Will online delivery go more eco-friendly post-pandemic?

    This is a niche business for the consumers who can afford their offerings, as they will cater to the higher income bracket. I spent the last half hour checking out their product line and it is impressive, with prices that are quite high. If they can serve their clients well, it could be sustainable and profitable.
  • Posted on: 11/16/2020

    Costco makes everybody mask up

    I know what I wrote, and you can think what you like, but it is frustrating dealing with the mandates, without the harassment from the state officials shutting down businesses for things that are out of my control.
  • Posted on: 11/16/2020

    Costco makes everybody mask up

    Our governor is sending out his stormtroopers to make sure everyone in retail is wearing masks, and that includes the customers. They will still put the burden on us for customers who refuse, and in my case there are some who conceal carry -- that can make confrontation kind of scary. I passed out masks to some yesterday, and when they left the store they threw the masks on the ground and flipped off my cashiers. What a scenario we have to deal with, and our country remains deeply divided with no end in sight. Medicare is about 15 months away and I'm looking forward to my options. We will see what happens.
  • Posted on: 11/05/2020

    Is it time for mainstream retail to get into the legal weed business?

    It won't happen for me anyway, and other stores can choose what they want to do. I speak in schools doing reality days, and mock interviews in the entire county for over 30 years. This initiative goes against what I try to teach kids about being responsible, and drugs always come up in the conversation. I partied in college, and I know today's weed is way stronger than the '70s. I'm grateful my two sons chose not to smoke it, which is great. If you choose to venture into this, make sure no one underage can get their hands on it, and that is the best you can do, because once they leave the store, they could sell it to underage kids. I'm curious about the laws regarding this.
  • Posted on: 10/20/2020

    Retailers need to prep for in-store COVID conflicts

    Here is a solution which I am sure will gain lots of red thumbs down. Open up all businesses and, for those who are afraid or feel uncertain, use your phone or computer to bring you what you need at home, and let the rest of us have the freedom to gather wherever we please, without all of this overplayed mandate about wearing masks. This has ruined our economy, and wearing masks till 2022 or worse is insane. We need our children back in schools, and small businesses open, so we can go back to making a living. The Mega stores all stayed open during the pandemic, and small businesses were shuttered, which has led to many family problems. So stop the madness and let us live our lives without being screamed at by some maniac who wants to tell me how to live.
  • Posted on: 10/20/2020

    Will Panera’s climate-friendly labels spur sales?

    The majority of folks want a great tasting product without the hype and posturing about climate change. Is it high quality and somewhat healthy? Then I'm good. Plant-based sandwiches are no substitute for a gourmet Italian or meatball sub with extra cheese, but Panera is going to sell some of these items if they taste delicious -- otherwise it won't work. We already have organic meats and gluten free options, and adding these new items to their list is fine. The consumer always has the final say.
  • Posted on: 10/07/2020

    Retailers say the new stimulus plan can’t wait until after the election

    If they pass a clean bill yes, but the left want more pork for their cronies and it is ridiculous to allow this stuff to continue. Our Founding Fathers laid out a damn fine Constitution and, in our current climate, it is beyond sickening to see how these folks get into Congress and stay for a lifetime with lavish retirements and perks that even a CEO of a major company can't get. Term limits and eliminating all the free stuff these folks get is needed, or we will continue to see complete madness. This shutdown has caused a lot of damage for small business, and there needs to be a much better way to handle the distribution of our tax dollars, going to the proper businesses who need a boost, but again it will be given to anyone who can grab it first -- whether they need it or not. The election in November looms quickly, and we will see how it goes. Hold on to your wallets.
  • Posted on: 10/02/2020

    New Jersey hops back on the bag ban bandwagon

    Another intrusion by our government to force stores to follow rules for using plastic bags, and I'm for choice. Customers are not going to bring their own bags in, and what about tourists who don't need the hassle at stores who can not provide them with free cloth bags for their vacation stay? People use plastic bags for small wastebaskets, used diapers, bringing goods to their family for dinners etc., and this overreach by NJ is typical of politicians who think they know better, which is laughable. The solution is for companies to create biodegradable plant-based or recycled bags for retailers. Until you actually run a retail store day in and day out, you have no clue how difficult it is to deal with these mandates and I, for one, do not need another law banning plastic bags.
  • Posted on: 09/25/2020

    Will curbside pickup be Costco’s Achilles heel?

    Costco doesn't need to change a thing, as the costs to do this are not worth the effort. Those who are afraid to go into stores will choose another store that offers this service. They are packed all the time from opening till closing, and adding BOPIS will cut into their bottom line. Some folks think this should be free, which is fine for stores who want to eat the costs. They will continue to thrive and make their shareholders happy.
  • Posted on: 09/22/2020

    Grocers are primed to compete with Amazon’s free grocery delivery

    As someone who lives this life everyday, there are many more issues to consider, when you are trying to compete for the retail grocery dollars. Amazon, Walmart, Costco, Target, and Dollar General are huge multi-billion dollar companies, and almost forgot Aldi, who are continuing to expand everywhere, and Kroger as well. There are many independent grocery store owners across the country, who grew up in the family business, and for the most part, many of them were center store owners, with very little perishable skills, relying on there employees to manage these critical departments. This puts them at a huge disadvantage, as growth comes from meats, deli, bakery, alcohol, and signature foods. Delivering groceries for independents would come at a great cost, and there is no way they can match Amazon with their free shipping, regardless of the actual cost of product. Most of you know what I do, but for those who do not, this is my advice to the independents and small regional groups of stores, if they want to stay in this business. Learn everything you can on building your perishable skills, finding a regional wholesaler, who can provide you with great buys that your current warehouse does not. There are lots of amazing values that you can bring in for a weekend sale, and over time, your customers will start paying attention to what you are promoting. Hire a smart high school kid who can help manage your Facebook, Twitter, email blasts, instagram, and your web site. Social media works for the stores who keep it fresh, and continually offering exciting deals. Slowly convert you deli over to some unique homemade scratch prepare salads, desserts, and entrees. Start slow, and keep adding more items, until you hit a level of at least 50% or more being homemade, and if it is top quality, you will see exciting growth. Every state that wholesales wine, always have closeouts, which draw consumers like you never seen. I started with an 8 foot section, and now it is 40 feet (an entire aisle), and sales are up every year. I deliver catering drop offs, and large meat packages, in my area. They pay a $10-$25 drop off charge, and a nice profit is made, with zero complaints, if your food is amazing. Yeah, this is long winded, but in order to stay alive, the opportunities are right in front of you, and if you stay committed to it week after week, things will improve, and you won't have to give away pop on the front page below cost; running 6-8 meat items on your front page will bring in more business for sure. Thanks.
  • Posted on: 09/21/2020

    Can Trader Joe’s continue thriving without delivery and curbside pickup?

    Trader Joe's will continue to be successful, as they built a very powerful following. Their stores are in high-end neighborhoods and will continue to do well. Curbside pickup and home delivery is a monster cost that even Trader Joe's wants no part of. If you have a reason for consumers to come to your store you will be OK but, if you do not, home delivery won't save you either.
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