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: 07/23/2020

    Is there a path to profitable grocery delivery?

    Unless you raise your prices, and charge a delivery fee, forget about making a profit. Amazon doesn't give their groceries away, and their meats are sky high, but because they are Amazon, consumers will still buy it from them. Restaurants are giving away most of their profits to third party delivery services, and for the life of me, it makes no sense. Providing a service should be something you are compensated for, but with unrealistic demands for free delivery, it makes it difficult for supermarkets to make any money on this service. I'll leave it at that.
  • Posted on: 07/22/2020

    It is a different year. Walmart is closing on Thanksgiving.

    It's about time, and for the rest of the mega stores, maybe they should consider waiting until Friday morning to start Black Friday -- not Thursday at 6 p.m. -- to get a leg up on the competition.
  • Posted on: 07/21/2020

    Can Trader Joe’s shake off its racist branding tag?

    How long will this keep going on, caving in to demands that barely exist, to look politically correct? There was no malice in these names, and yet 1,500 people out of 340 million decided to complain. Sorry, but this is nuts. If Trader Joe's wants to retool and rename their products, so be it. I guess this won't end until everyone does "the right thing" and conforms to the whims of extremist views on how we should run our businesses.
  • Posted on: 07/21/2020

    Will the return of sports bring a bonanza for retail?

    Until the restrictions are lifted so fans can fill the seats, sports will do very poorly. Throw in the unrest with the players vs.owners, and you have a complete mess. The fans aren't going to shell out big bucks this year, the TV ratings will suffer with the short season, and commercial money will be much lower than ever. My beloved Buckeyes are trimming their schedule. College football will struggle big time, as the crazy fans will not be allowed to participate like they once did. The whole thing is a huge bummer for fans. I'll just spend more time with my new grandson, which is perfect.
  • Posted on: 07/17/2020

    Struggling retailers lay off workers and pay millions in executive bonuses

    This action is simply beyond stupid. Rewarding top executives when the company is near bankrupt is simply wrong, period. The shareholders need to make sure this never happens, or risk losing all of their front line workers -- who see the greed and wonder why they are losing their own livelihood. There are some very fine executives running companies who make sure their employees are respected and, if the company does well, the annual bonuses will be spread among all the workers.
  • Posted on: 07/16/2020

    Is a federal $15 minimum wage virtually a done deal?

    It is not a done deal and it would cost jobs, period. Pizza shops, rural grocery stores, small town USA businesses on Main Street, farmers, and vacation areas hire a lot of young people in their first high school jobs, or retired people looking for extra spending money. What do you pay your more experienced help if this mandate gets passed? It will spiral out of control, with only mega stores surviving in the ultra competitive world of retail. For anyone who hasn't, spend a week actually working in these environments, and see how hard it is to turn a decent profit and still pay a $15 minimum starting wage. It is very difficult. Teenage unemployment will soar. Minimum wage is a chance to build work skills and if you can prove to your employer what a good worker you are, the raises will come your way. A $15 minimum wage simply will not work, except again for mega businesses who would gain market share. Many smaller businesses will not survive.
  • Posted on: 07/13/2020

    Starbucks becomes latest retailer to make masks mandatory

    If you think this is the new normal, so be it. Wearing a mask as part of your daily routine is nuts. As to trying to mandate it for everyone because certain corporations think this is how it should be -- why does my personal doctor think differently? I have to wear one every day at work, and suffer with optical migraine auras which are caused by the masks. I have practiced social distancing from the beginning, and practicing hand washing is part of good daily routine we should do as well. There are plenty of amateur medical experts in the media, and folks on the streets, who act like they know how we should live, breathe, and follow mandates to the letter. Common sense matters, and getting through this virus and future events will continue to occur, and in the end we will move on. This is no way diminishes anyone who has died from this, but it is a very small percentage, and to shut down our country until a vaccine is found is also crazy. Fear has created side effects like depression and even suicides, and that is also very sad, so I will go about doing my best living and practicing common sense decisions that will not harm my fellow man.
  • Posted on: 07/01/2020

    How can grocers hold onto their new most valuable customers?

    As a small supermarket owner, it has been my job to make sure I engage with my customers as often as I can. My greatest strength is being one-on-one with my customers, and that hasn't changed since I started working many, many years ago. Adding our social media platforms to reach out in different ways has helped quite a bit but, unless you can get to know your customers, all the media and online offers will have a limited effect. I know that I am not a Mega Box store. But being small can also be an advantage for those most loyal customers, who love the personal attention and look for things like top quality meats and deli prepared from scratch.That is why I'm still here. They always come here to buy their perishables, and my keeping up with my closeout vintage wines has made it even better. I can personally help pick out what they need. No one size fits all for any retail business. The best customers who spend the most want to be recognized, and they will buy more than they came in for every time.
  • Posted on: 06/24/2020

    Are large grocery chains putting profits before people?

    It is pretty easy to bash supermarket chains as they continue to do their best to bring products into their stores, and make the shopping experience safe. The money issue is always brought up and for those who believe that the workers need $15 hour just for starters, they simply do not understand the bottoms lines in our industry. The pandemic did create additional traffic and increased sales, which has helped the bottom lines. Most of us appreciate that, but our workers were not mistreated and all received raises for their efforts, plus personal bonuses as well. If you want examples of companies putting profits before people, just look at Nike, Apple, Levi's, GM, etc. who shipped most of their work to China, who make products for much less and put those workers at risk with shoddy working conditions. These are mega-billion dollar companies who talk a good game, and until they start bringing back their production to the U.S. they remain hypocrites, as their actions do not put employees first. I'll leave it at that, and improvement of our businesses will continue to get better. Thanks.
  • Posted on: 06/17/2020

    Should stores relax dress codes to let workers show support for Black Lives Matter?

    There are many causes out there, and picking one because the media thinks this is priority #1 is foolish for businesses. I can think of many noble causes that affect many people including children, which all need some attention as well, so for me I'll keep our dress policy the same. Our good works with the charities we serve will continue, without any fanfare. We are not a national powerhouse company being pressured to support any cause. For me, local issues can be served much better.
  • Posted on: 06/17/2020

    Who will come to J.C. Penney’s rescue?

    You can invest in let's say Apple, Amazon, Verizon, Costco, Walmart, and many other strong companies, which will assure you of some growth and a dividend -- or invest in J.C. Penney, which has been a drag on investors for years. Who in their right mind, unless they love super high risk investing, would invest in J.C. Penney? Not me or anyone else I know. J.C. Penney will most likely perish, and they had a good run. RIP
  • Posted on: 06/03/2020

    Can outdoor dining save restaurants?

    For warm desert climates yes it will do fine, whereas other areas not so much. The social distance part needs lifted ASAP, or many restaurants will not make a profit, and that is a scenario nobody needs in their cities.
  • Posted on: 06/03/2020

    Is the future of retailing going dark?

    It's pretty hard to go dark, when you are an independent store like mine. We do some BOPIS now with the new handheld unit for outside transactions including EBT. There are lost sales for sure and, in my case, a lot of lost sales as my deli creates a lot of sales through sampling, and our meat section is also a showcase for great deals. Food shopping is not a one-size-fits-all and, for me, I'll take the old-fashioned way -- plus the BOPIS if customers choose that option.
  • Posted on: 05/28/2020

    Retailers focus on making safe spaces for customers and associates

    This comes down to common sense, which seems to be lacking big time right now. Many stores, before this virus, have always cleaned and sanitized their stores in order to keep their places open, or the board of health would shut them down. Now we have upped our game, with extra cleaning, masks, etc. Some older stores simply cannot rip aisles apart so customers feel safe, and policing customers to wear face masks, if it is not mandated by law, is absurd to me as well. Are we going to do this next year, when a new strain of flu hits our country? I personally value my freedom to associate with who I want, and this quarantine needs to end as depression, extra alcohol consumption, and the over hyped up media freaking everybody out, is not healthy for humans. No income also creates more poverty, which in turn makes people sick. The majority of retailers are doing their best, so stay home if you feel the need and let the rest of us get on with our lives, and spend time with our family and friends, enjoying the warm summer months.
  • Posted on: 05/18/2020

    Would an Uber/Grubhub merger be good for restaurant meal delivery?

    Suresh, I have been saying this for years. You are correct with your insight on this subject. Nothing is free. The consumer has been led to believe that dinner should be dropped off for a couple of dollars, and that should be just fine. I studied this for several years. If the true cost of delivery was added in where profits are assured, the model would collapse, as everyone is waiting for the other to charge more for this and no one has blinked. Reality will take over as investors will quit throwing their money away, knowing profits and ROI are non existent.

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