Progressive Grocer’s publisher and chief editor were on hand on Thursday, Oct. 27, for Wakefern Food Corp.’s 2011 annual meeting in New Brunswick, N.J., to present the extended family of the nation’s leading member-owned cooperative with the trade publication’s Retailer of the Year award.
Joseph Colalillo, Wakefern chairman and CEO, accepted PG’s highest annual honor from Jeff Friedman VP/Group Publisher, Stagnito Media and Meg Major, PG’s editor, on behalf of the Keasbey, N.J.-based Wakefern, which comprises 47 members who individually own and operate more than 230 supermarkets under the ShopRite banner in New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Maryland and Delaware, along with Wakefern's corporate ShopRite and PriceRite stores in five states.
The annual meeting was capped by the passing of the leadership torch from one company veteran to another, with Joseph Sheridan, most recently EVP after an accomplished 35-year Wakefern career, assuming the of helm of president and COO from Dean Janeway, who will remain with the co-op as president emeritus until his official retirement in January 2012 after a successful four decade career with the co-op.
“Dean has led Wakefern through a period of unprecedented growth,” declared Colalillo, hailing Janeway’s dedication to seeing Wakefern’s members succeed for being “at the heart of our success,” while praising Sheridan’s “vast experience and expertise in all aspects of the supermarket industry,” along with his “tremendous impact on the success of the company.”
In honor of Janeway’s generosity and 45 years of service, the company established the Dean Janeway Endowment for Healthcare Excellence at the Foundation of the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ). Janeway will designate the $1 million endowment to support groundbreaking research, scholarships for future health care professionals or patient care, and community service programs for the underserved; all programs will be offered through the UMDNJ. The endowment fund was presented to Dr. George F. Heinrich, vice chairman and CEO of the Foundation of UMDNJ and its parent, New Brunswick-based N.J. Health Foundation, during the meeting.
“This fund will provide [Janeway] with a meaningful opportunity to advance high-quality health care programs that mean the most to him and can have a vital impact on the health of residents throughout our state,” said Heinrich.
During the annual meeting, Wakefern’s leaders also revealed that the co-op had reached a record sales level of $12.8 billion in retail sales for the fiscal year ending Oct. 1, 2011, an 8.5 percent rise from the year-ago period, as well as $9.5 billion in warehouse sales and the opening of 10 new ShopRite stores and two new PriceRites during the same period.
The following Wakefern shareholders were also re-elected to Wakefern’s board of directors, including: Colalillo as chairman; James Sumas, Larri Wolfson and Irv Glass as vice chairmen; Lawrence Inserra Jr. as treasurer; Richard Saker, Jeffrey Brown and Kenneth Capano as assistant treasurers; Dominick J. Romano as secretary; Ned Gladstein, Joel Perlmutter and Steven Ravitz as assistant secretaries; and Rocco Cingari, Robert Clare, Lawrence Collins, Jon Greenfield, Charles Infusino, Bernard Kenny, Vincent Lo Curcio III, Leonard Sitar, Richard Tully and Richard McMenamin. Sheridan was also re-elected as an operating officer.
On the eve of Wakefern's annual meeting, Progressive Grocer also hosted a celebratory networking reception honoring ShopRite as its Retailer of the Year. A formal Retailer of the Year award presentation then took place the next morning at the meeting.
As the merchandising and distribution arm of both ShopRite and PriceRite, Wakefern, together with its member companies, employs more than 50,000 people, making it one of the largest employers in New Jersey. Additionally, Wakefern distributes products to other supermarkets throughout the northeastern United States and Bermuda.