Sep 192017

As we approach our 20th year in business, ROD continues to build on our heritage of success by expanding organizational capacity and performance effectiveness by evolving the associate team to meet both current and future challenges of a changing marketplace. Our commitment to sustain RDD’s position as the region’s leading independent, perishables-focused sales agency is unwavering, and we will continue to thoughtfully channel the necessary investments to fuel RDD’s growth and stability. I remain very confident about our opportunities to grow sales in the second half of 2017, but we must remain hyper-focused on our clients and brands, and extremely customer-responsive. It’s with great pleasure and a modest dose of regret, that I announce the upcoming retirement of Bob Carley. Bob has been a highly visible leader and advocate for ROD, and a trusted advisor and great friend to me for close to two decades. He is deservedly recognized in the Metro NY supermarket industry for being the critical driver behind the development and growth of RDD’s Deli/Meat/Seafood/Foodservice/Bakery department, among one of the largest agency portfolios in business. Bob’s official retirement will take place late summer, 2017, and we are grateful he will remain on staff through the end of the year in an advisory role. I’m very pleased to announce the following leadership staff promotions at ROD, effective immediately:

  • Bob Weinmann, currently VP-Marketing & Strategic Planning, is promoted to Senior Vice President – Marketing & Strategic Initiatives. The “Doctor” is in his 5th year at ROD, and has been a vital contributor to the enterprise’s strategic progress in multiple areas, to include: shopper insights, digital marketing, enterprise branding/marketing, associate training, performance management and technology integration. In his expanded role, Bob will work closely with me and the leadership team on RDD’s expanding marketplace footprint, and business development through new client appointments. Bob will continue to report to me.
  • Bill Isaacs, currently Director – Business Development, is promoted to Vice President – Director of Sales, Wakefern. Bill is among the longest serving ROD employees, with 19 years of tenure, and has worked tirelessly to build ROD client sales performance at Wakefern. Bill is widely admired and respected by Wakefern management, ROD client trading partners and ROD colleagues alike, and has been instrumental in engaging and onboarding several new client business partners for the company. In his expanded role, Bill is now responsible for providing management oversight of all Wakefern procurement departments, to include: Dairy/Frozen, Deli, Meat, Foodservice, Produce, In-Store Bakery and Specialty Grocery. He will collaborate closely with the RDD Division VP’s, Business
    Managers and support staff to insure that are valued clients receive appropriate stewardship, sales-building programming, shopper and digital marketing support and strong advocacy, as they engage with this critically important trading partner. Bill will continue to report to Larry Thennes. 

  • Mike Huberfeld, currently Director-Sales, Deli/Meat/Seafood/Foodservice/Bakery, is promoted to Director-Fresh Foods. Mike is starting his 18th year at RDD, and has served in a number of diverse roles contributing to the growth and success of the department,  including business management for several major clients. Through the years, Mike has  worked side-by-side with Bob Carley to broaden RDD’s category and client portfolio. With consumers showing greater interest in prepared meals and fresher, healthier foods, we  anticipate significant growth for this department in the years ahead, thus, we will rename the department, “RDD -Fresh Foods”. We look forward to Mike’s leadership and insights to fuel this growth. Mike will report to Larry Thennes. 

Please join me in congratulating Bob on his extraordinary career of service, and Bob, Bill and Mike on their well-deserved promotions!

– Bob Cignarella


Click here for a PDF of this announcement

Aug 242017

Dear valued client trading partner,
For your awareness, over the course of their current fiscal year, Wakefern has announced several senior leadership appointments that are important elements of their organizational strategy moving forward:

  • In early December, 2016, Chris Lane was promoted to Executive Vice President, with strategic leadership responsibilities for all merchandising, procurement, operations, logistics, marketing and IT. The EVP position, second most senior role at Wakefern, had been vacant for several years, after Joe Sheridan had elevated from that role to President/COO. Chris joined Wakefern in 2003 from Duane Reade, and is a pharmacist by trade. Over his Wakefern tenure, his responsibilities dramatically expanded, from HBC to general merchandise, to grocery and non-foods, and finally oversight for all product divisions. Chris will continue to report to Joe and serves on the executive staff.
  • In late December, Chris began to restructure the merchandising and procurement department, with the appointment of Paul Patten to the new position of Group Vice President of Center Store, which includes the grocery, dairy/frozen and HBC/GM product divisions. Paul is a seasoned veteran at Wakefern, with a broad portfolio of management assignments in merchandising and procurement. Among those reporting to Paul is Dave Howlett, VP – Dairy/Frozen Merchandising. Paul reports to Chris, and joins Wakefern’s executive staff.
  • In early 2017, Wakefern announced two changes in their Retail Marketing department… Steve Henig, who has served as VP – Corporate Merchandising, was appointed VP – Digital Commerce & Innovation, and Chris Skyrs, who had served as VP – HBC, was appointed to backfill Steve. Both personnel moves demonstrate Wakefern’s ongoing commitment to continue expansion of their digital/on-line commerce platform, their life style/life stage shopper marketing focus, and their private brands marketing and penetration. Both Steve and Chris report to Jeff Reagan, SVP – Retail Marketing.
  • Last week, Chris Lane announce the appointment of Terry Murphy to the new position of Group Vice President of Fresh (formerly perishables), with senior leadership responsibility for meat, appy, produce, seafood, food service, fresh bakery and floral product divisions. Terry has worked at Wakefern for over 25 years, with a broad resume of procurement and management roles, and most recently has served as VP – Fresh Bakery Merchandising. Terry will report to Chris, and will also join the Wakefern executive staff.

As Wakefern closes out their 2017 fiscal year (September 30th) and gears up for 2018, we anticipate several additional assignment changes will be announced among line managers. Your RDD Business Manager will keep you apprised of any changes that directly affect your business.

We are very optimistic about the positive impact these leadership appointments will have on both Wakefern’s and our client trading partners’ businesses in the years ahead. Both Paul and Terry are outstanding professionals and are highly respected by the Wakefern team, ShopRite membership (owners) and the supplier community.

Throughout their respective careers, they have worked closely with RDD management, and are strong advocates for our service model. We wish them well in their expanded roles, and will closely collaborate and align RDD resources to support their strategies to build more productive RDD client – Wakefern trading relationships.

Best regards,

To download the PDF release of this post please click here: Executive Appointment at Wakefern Food Corp.

May 242017

May 6, 2017

RE: Ahold Delhaize management team announced

Dear Valued Client Partner,

As you may be aware, late last week Ahold Delhaize released a memorandum to their internal staff and supplier trading partners, announcing the key members of their emerging leadership team.  These appointments are part of their migration to a decentralized organizational design, supporting a “brand-centric” approach to merchandising strategy and programming.  Each of the five supermarket operating divisions, to include:  Stop & Shop, GIANT Carlisle, Giant Landover, Hannaford and Food Lion, are in the process of building field-based merchandising organizations, and these initial executive leadership appointments are consistent with their plan to activate brand-centric merchandising in early 2018.  I’ve attached a copy of the announcement as reported by Food Trade News for your reference.

At RDD, we have been closely monitoring the emerging Ahold Delhaize strategy, and continue to evolve our go-to-market strategy to insure continuity, focus and executional excellence, both during this period of change and after the new Ahold Delhaize divisional teams are in place.  RDD continues to work closely with our RSM – Regional Sales Solutions affiliate partners, The STAR/Pro-Star Companies and Matrix Sales & Marketing, Inc., to expand our field coverage footprint to now include Delhaize America divisions Food Lion and Hannaford, and offer interested clients a vertically-aligned coverage solution across all Ahold Delhaize.  Earlier this spring, RDD expanded our coverage geography into the Southeast, to include major grocery accounts like Food Lion, Harris Teeter and MDI/Lowes. Now that Ahold Delhaize has announced definitive decentralization plans, RDD will finalize our organizational structure and timeline to align accordingly. 

Should you have any questions regarding Ahold Delhaize coverage, or would like to further discuss with RDD leadership an appropriate coverage strategy, please don’t hesitate to contact me or any RDD senior manager to arrange a convenient time.

Thank you again for your continued support and business partnership!

Best regards,


May 242017

Among the well-deserved honorees at this year’s Friends of the Food Industry reception was RDD’s very own Tom Halley.  Tom was joined here by his loyal and loving wife, Shelley at the award ceremony.  Dennis Hickey, EVP-Merchandising at Krasdale, delivered a glowing endorsement of Tom and his professional contributions to the local food industry.  Tom has been important contributor to RDD’s success, with 16 years of service as a Senior Account Manager, but it’s his uncanny ability to adapt to our ever-changing marketplace, his extraordinary steadiness and sensibility to deliver solid results in a chaotic world, and his authenticity and honesty… this is what separates Tom from the pack!  It’s reassuring to know that a “nice guy can win” in business, and Tom’s may just be the nicest guy in the industry!

Tom and Shelley have two daughters, and one grandson, and they reside in Lake Hopatcong, NJ.  He’s a graduate of Ramapo College of New Jersey.  Prior to RDD, Tom has worked his “selling magic” for some of the best organizations in the region, to include: Nestle, the Sayre’s Company, the Boerner Company and Marketing Specialists.  And, Tom has successfully sold and serviced just about every account in the market… From the largest to the smallest, he treats every customer with respect, dignity and unwavering service.  And although an incredibly humble person, Tom delights in the success of the client-customer partnerships he facilitates.

Therefore, it’s our delight and privilege to celebrate Tom’s recognition as the 2017 Friends of the Food Industry Lifetime Achievement Award winner.  Congratulations Tom!

Aug 102016


RDD is proud to announce the following associate promotions:

Michael Valentine

Michael joined RDD in May 2011 as a part-time Retails Sales Representative and his responsibilities have expanded significantly. Within a year’s time, he became a full-time representative, and shortly after that he advanced to Retail Merchandising Specialist, which included critical outreach and sales solicitation to key Shop-Rite member group supervisors. Michael also actively participated in helping to manage the rollout and integration of RDD’s Storeflix reporting platform, and headed up the iPhone instructional class in the RDD Learning Academy.

Beginning July 18th, Michael will join RDD’s Manager-in-Development Program. The program will further expand his existing responsibilities while training for future responsibilities.

Kristen Johnsen

Kristen joined RDD as a full-time associate in February 2012 as the Administrator in the Dairy Department. Prior to that she worked in our Retail Department during her summers while attending college. Kristen quickly became a valuable resource to the department, utilizing her extensive computer knowledge and administrative skills.Kristen is promoted to Account Manager, reporting directly to Jim Nebgen. A portion of her newly acquired responsibilities will be working with Dave Williams on Wakefern Specialty Grocery business development. She is also assigned an important portfolio of dairy/deli customers.

Melissa Kanasky

Melissa joined RDD in March 2013 working for the Produce Department, reporting to Jim Regan. She manages a broad portfolio of departmental duties, and handles financial administration for a number of key clients.

Melissa is promoted to the position of Associate Account Manager. She will be representing all produce lines at Allegiance, Krasdale and General Trading, as well as continuing to fulfill her administrative duties in the Produce Dept.



New Employees

RDD is pleased to announce our new employees:

Jessica Johnsen

As administrator in the Dairy Department reporting to Jim Nebgen, Jessica’s responsibilities will include the day-to-day administrative functions, plus financial administration.

Jessica is married to Paul Johnsen and resides in Lyndhurst, New Jersey. They have two sons, Aaron and Logan.

Luciana Contuzzi

Luciana joins RDD with a solid background in the foodservice industry. She will immediately begin participating in our Manager-In-Development Program.

Luciana received her Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration at Seton Hall University.

Philip St. Amand

Recently Philip has joined our Retail Department as a Retail Sales Representative, reporting to Karen Byrne. Philip’s territory will primarily be Staten Island and Hudson County in New Jersey.




Nov 102015

Recently RDD management attended the NFRA Convention in Dallas, Texas. While at the convention Bob Bollbach, RDD’s Vice President of our Frozen Division proudly attended a luncheon for FISH, honoring returning soldiers.  FISH (Food Industry Serving Heroes), a non-profit organization helps soldiers and their families with various services such as providing wheelchairs, service dogs, guidance and support.

At this luncheon Bob presented the FISH organization with a check for $5,000.00. This $5,000.00 will enable FISH to purchase a service dog for a veteran who is suffering from PTSD. The $5,000.00 was raised by RDD through fundraising. We organized several raffles, wear your jeans to work day, and an ice cream bar.

Through the generosity of Bob Cignarella, President and CEO, RDD matched dollar for dollar to what was raised. This enabled us to reach our goal!

RDD is honored to support our servicemen and women.




     To learn more about FISH and how you can help please visit :





Nov 102015

RDD Associates is pleased to announce that Ken Wallace has joined our organization as Regional Business Manager for Churny, managing New England, New York Metro, Virginia through Pennsylvania, and upstate New York areas. Ken has 36 years of experience working for Kraft Heinz Foods. The last position he held was Easter Division Sales VP – Churny Division, managing a network of food brokers throughout the Eastern marketplace and was responsible for the key accounts including, Kroger Corporate-deli, Ahold, Delhaize, Publix, Harris Teeter and Giant Eagle. Within the division he managed many specialty food portfolios that included Athenos, DiGiorno, Hoffman and Pollio specialty cheese products.

Ken has two children with his wife Melissa.

Please join us in welcoming Ken to our team.

Ken Wallace Headshot

Nov 092015

October 26, 2015

Dear Valued Client Partner,

As a follow-up to my correspondence of July 31st, I’d like to update you regarding the liquidation of A&P, the anticipated redistribution of sales revenues and market share across the Metro New York marketplace, and how the RDD service model is evolving to these changes.

Although the A&P family of banners, to include A&P, Pathmark, Waldbaums, The Food Emporium, SuperFresh and Food Basics, has experienced significant sales erosion for several years, it still accounted for approximately $5.8 B sales revenues in 2014, representing over 7% of total grocery store sales in the Metro New York/Mid-Atlantic region. With most of the store divestitures and auction sales now approved by the bankruptcy court with re-bannering activities scheduled and initiated, and the remaining stores liquidating inventories and scheduled for closure within weeks, we now have a clearer picture of what the marketplace will look like in early 2016. For your reference, I’ve attached a one-page document that captures the essence of the liquidation, and here are the major headlines:

  • ACME, a division of the new Albertson’s, will again become a significant factor in Metro New York grocery, with 72 locations, $2.2 B in sales and a 6.5% Metro NY market share
  • Stop & Shop – New York, a division of Ahold USA, will add 25 locations, increasing their store count to 210, $7.7 B in sales, and a 23% market share
  • Key Food Cooperative will add 23 locations, increasing their store count to 207, with estimated sales of $2.3 B and a 7% market share. For the first time the co-op will own and operate stores (2) as corporate units
  • Wakefern Food Corporation will add 16 stores to their service roster, including 13 in the ShopRite family and 3 as wholesale customers
  • Allegiance Retail Services, the member cooperative managing Foodtown, will add 6 new locations from A&P, and reportedly their member/owners will be opening an additional 4 new supermarkets, resulting in estimated sales in 2016 of $1.3 B and a 4% market share
  • C&S Grocers will experience a significant decline in Metro New York business, down approximately 75%. In addition to the units going to Stop & Shop and Key Food, approximately 10 stores will be re-bannered as independents and will continue to be supplied by C&S
  • It now appears that over 100 former A&P stores will cease to operate as grocery stores, and will either become alternative channel retailers or exit retailing completely. These stores accounted for approximately 25% of A&P’s sales, and this business will “leak” into existing grocery retailers of alternative channels

RDD is currently assisting all of the growing chains with store re-bannering activities, to include shelf management and reset facilitation. It appears that the majority of divested stores will complete transitioning over the next 6-8 weeks.

RDD has adjusted our go-to-market strategy by redeploying personnel resources, relative to both retail (in-store) and headquarters coverages, to insure that we maintain appropriate merchandising service levels and capitalize on every business-building opportunity to build sales volumes at the expanding chains.

The supermarket industry merger and acquisition activities continue to be very active, so it is critically important that RDD continues to expand our regional capabilities to serve client-principals with the “perishables-exclusive” service portfolio that provides competitive sales and merchandising advantage. As you are aware, Ahold and Delhaize have announced an agreement to merge their companies, creating the 3rd ranking supermarket company in the U.S. with over 2,100 stores and $49 B in sales. For your awareness, they have yet to share with trading partners their operational roadmap for the merged company, however a transition committee has been named and we anticipate communications will begin before the end of the calendar year.  Meanwhile, RDD continues to proactively engage in discussions with several perishables-focused, southeast U.S.-based sales agencies, to provide network retail coverage for the new Ahold Delhaize if appropriate.

Finally, RDD continues to collaborate with our regional sales agency alliance partners, STAR/Pro-Star and MATRIX, to operationalize RSM – Regional Sales Solutions.  Expanding upon our successful Ahold vertical service solution platform, RSM provides clients the opportunity for seamless regional sales agency coverage at Ahold USA (Stop & Shop’s and Giant’s), the new Albertsons (ACME, Safeway and Shaw’s), Wakefern (ShopRite and Price Rite), C&S Wholesale Grocers and Bozzuto’s Inc., with continued traditional penetration of all local market area chains and independents.  I encourage you to schedule a visit with the RDD leadership team to learn more about our unique service solution.

The RDD leadership team remains fully engaged and totally committed to sustain our leadership position by delivering client and customer trading-partners value-added solutions that address industry challenges and capitalize on marketplace growth opportunities. We will continue to closely monitor industry dynamics, and will keep you apprised of any further changes.  We have the talent, tools, traditions, aspirations, energy and the adaptability to succeed on your behalf!

Thank you again for your continued support, encouragement and trading-relationships.

Best regards,

Bob Cignarella


A and P liquidation Nov 2015


Oct 282015

July 31, 2015


Dear Valued Client Partner,

As you are aware, on July 19th A&P filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection… their second filing in five years, likely beginning the process of total dissolution of the supermarket chain.  Although this comes as little surprise to industry professionals who have observed first-hand the unrelenting deterioration of the A&P and Pathmark shopper franchises and receding sales revenue base, it’s still upsetting considering the negative ramifications impacting employees, supplier-partners, customers and communities.

Immediately on the heels of the filing, A&P announced agreements to divest a significant number of stores and planned store closures, to include:

  • 76 stores sold to Acme Markets, the eastern Pennsylvania-based division of Albertsons Companies
  • 25 stores sold to Ahold USA, for re-branding to Stop & Shop Supermarkets Co.
  • 19 stores sold to Key Food Stores Cooperative
  • 25 stores to cease operations in the near future
  • Approximately 140 stores to continue operating as part of A&P, pending possible future divesture or closure

We anticipate that the store closures will begin in September, and the bankruptcy proceedings to review and rule on divestitures will continue for the balance of the calendar year. A&P has secured debtor-in-possession financing to provide adequate liquidity to continue store operations during the transition period.

Should the A&P store divestitures proceed as planned, Acme will again become a significant player in Metro New York grocery, with approximately 85 locations spread across the marketplace, $2B in sales and a 6% market share. An additional 25 Stop & Shops in Metro New York will increase their store count to 216, add $600 M in revenues and an additional 1% market share to approximately 13% ACV.   The addition of 19 Key Food stores will continue to fuel their recent growth, with store count now eclipsing 200, over $2B in retail sales, market share of New York City over 11% and significant new penetration on Long Island with 20 stores.  Finally, although Wakefern Food Corporation hasn’t been mentioned in any official communications to date regarding store purchases, we anticipate that they will be an active bidder for select properties moving forward.

Be advised, the entire RDD team, from leadership through to retail services, is monitoring the A&P situation daily, and we will expeditiously share with you all relevant information and our insights.  As far as we can tell, currently all stores (approximately 290) continue to operate normally, albeit under a dark cloud of uncertainty and concern.  Given that multiple stakeholders are involved in the process, we anticipate a stream of communiques will flow for the next several months.

Although adapting to major changes and disruptions in the marketplace are never easy, RDD is fully prepared to adjust our go-to-market strategy and resource deployment to progressively react as the A&P situation continues to unfold.  Over the last two years, we have experienced more dramatic changes in the Metro New York marketplace, relative to retail store re-bannering and wholesale supply arrangements, than we have in the proceeding decade. During this period, RDD has redeployed retail merchandising and headquarter sales associates to reflect shifts in store counts and procurement practices, and has significantly increased our headquarter penetration at C&S Grocers and Bozzuto’s, with both wholesalers’ businesses growing as a result of White Rose closing.

Last year I shared with you the exciting news that RDD had expanded our regional service footprint by fielding a comprehensive and integrated Ahold Service Solution.  By formalizing a collaborative arrangement with our New Freedom, PA-based sales agency partner STAR/Pro-Star Sales & Marketing, and Cumberland, RI-based MATRIX Sales & Marketing, Inc., RDD has orchestrated an operating alliance with the partners pooling retail merchandising resources to field a vertical, Ahold-directed retail merchandising team with 65 “perishables-exclusive” representatives and a shared reporting platform.  RDD can now support client manufacturer brands across the entire Metro New York, Mid-Atlantic and New England region, and several leading clients have appointed RDD to service them with a seamless Ahold solution.  As you are likely aware, last month Ahold and Delhaize announced that they have agreed to merge their global businesses, creating a supermarket company blanketing the eastern U.S. with approximately 2,000 stores and $44 B in sales. Although they haven’t shared with trading partners their merged operational roadmap, RDD is in active discussions with a number of perishables-focused, southeast U.S.-based sales agencies to provide network retail coverage for Ahold Delhaize if appropriate.

With supermarket industry merger and acquisition activities heating up, it is critically important that RDD continues to expand our regional capabilities to serve client-principals with the “perishables-exclusive” service portfolio that provides competitive sales and merchandising advantage. Working in collaboration with our alliance partners STAR/Pro-Star and MATRIX, RDD is now introducing RSM – Regional Sales Solutions. Building from our successful Ahold Service Solution platform, RSM provides clients the opportunity for seamless regional sales agency coverage at Ahold (Stop & Shop and Giant), Albertsons (ACME, Safeway and Shaw’s), Wakefern (ShopRite and Price Rite), C&S Wholesale Grocers and Bozzuto’s Inc., with continued deep and impactful penetration of local market chains and independents.  In the coming months you will be hearing more about RSM, and I encourage you to schedule a visit so that we can share our vision and unique service solution.

Industry leadership takes years to achieve, constant reinvestment and a genuine willingness to adapt to changing environments. The RDD leadership team remains fully engaged and totally committed to sustain our leadership position by delivering client and customer trading partners innovative solutions that address industry challenges and capitalize on marketplace opportunities. We have the talent, tools, traditions, aspirations and energy to succeed!

Thank you again for your continued support and business.

Best Regards,

Bob Cignarella