Private Label Legend Brian Sharoff Dies

Private Label Legend Brian Sharoff Dies
Brian Sharoff joined PLMA as president in 1981, just two years after the group was founded.

Brian Sharoff, a major force in advancing the store brands industry during a nearly 40-year career as president of the Private Label Manufacturers Association, has died after a brief illness at the age of 77.

Sharoff died on Saturday, May 23, according to a statement issued by Tim Simmon’s, vice president of communications with the Private Label Manufacturers Association (PLMA). Sharoff joined PLMA in 1981, two years after the organization was founded, when it had only 200 members and the world of store brands was much less developed. During his 39-year career at the helm of the organization, Sharoff oversaw tremendous growth at PLMA and the industry it serves. Today, PLMA has more than 4,400 members and store brands are a key component of the growth strategy for many retailers.

“Under Brian Sharoff’s tremendous focus and dedication, the Private Label Manufacturers Association has grown to become a vital and essential resource for suppliers and retailers around the globe. Brian’s leadership will be greatly missed,” said Lisa Manzoline, director of sales for Reynolds Consumer Products and chair of the PLMA board.

The PLMA trade show held every November at the Rosemont Convention Center in Chicago draws the largest concentration of private label buyers anywhere in the nation. PLMA also holds an annual “World of Private Label” International Trade Show each May in Amsterdam that attracts buyers from 75 countries throughout Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Middle East.

Prior to PLMA, Sharoff spent five years as EVP of the Metropolitan New York Retail Merchants Association, an organization that served department stores in the New York area. Prior to that, Sharoff served three terms as a member of the New York Legislature from 1971 to 1976. He also held teaching positions at St. Joseph’s University, Rutgers University and The New School of Social Research.

He is survived by his wife Judith, daughter Alexandra, son Peter, five grandchildren, and sister Shirley Sharoff.

(Editor’s Note: Brian Sharoff’s impact on the world of retail, not just store brands, was significant over a period of multiple decades. Just how significant was summed up in a welcome note he and PLMA chair Manzoline shared in the program guide for last fall’s PLMA show. In the introduction, the pair described a store brands landscape that Sharoff was instrumental in creating over the course of his distinguished career.)

“Rapid change is the new normal throughout the retailing industry. Whether your sales come from traditional bricks and mortar retailing, online platforms or omni-channel, the forces of disruption are increasing at a rate that’s without precedent.

The changes are impacting private label everywhere, but increasingly some of the biggest news stores in retail and the most important industry trends are being generated by store brands themselves.

Today you see so many way that store brands are becoming innovation leaders while leveraging the knowledge and capabilities of suppliers, who are frequently become partners to product development, innovation and product improvements – including new and unique packaging, new ingredient and more.

Consumer demand remains strong for products that focus on fresh, organic, health and wellness. Today’s conscious consumer are eager to purchase products that are “better for you,” as well as product that fit their hectic lifestyle. Sustainable sourcing, source reduction and recyclability will grow in importance too, as consumer are become more attuned to environmental concerns. Store brands are responding to all these major trends and many other in way that are often groundbreaking.

What better way to keep pace with the new normal in a dynamic, growing industry than by participating in the annual PLMA trade show? This year’s theme, “Store Brands Make Things Happen,” document how more and more retailer a coming to market with game-changing store brands innovation.

Enjoy the show!”

Brian Sharoff certainly did. His contributions to the industry, his ability to make things happen, will be missed and remembered.

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