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: 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.
  • Posted on: 09/21/2020

    Patagonia wants to ‘Vote the a**holes out’

    Patagonia is going after the conservatives, and their customer base embraces it. Climate change enthusiasts think we can control the earth's climate, by eliminating fossil fuels. and the green energy world will be the way to make things better, and it is simply a pipe dream. They can promote any message they want, but my money isn't heading their way, and to think that we can control the earth's climate is absurd, as hot and cold decades have been around since the earth was formed. Remember the predictions in the 1970s that we would have another Ice Age in 30 years? Al Gore predicted that our coastlines would be under water, and islands would vanish, because of global warming. Now we have the election cycle which brings out the real crazies with the predictions of doom if we don't change our way of life. Yeah OK. Corporations can make their political message any way they want, and those who choose to embrace it, so be it, as opinions only matter to those who buy into the idea.
  • Posted on: 09/02/2020

    Should retailers get their workers and customers out to vote?

    My employees vote before work or after work, and if companies want to allow their employees to vote, that is fine with me.
  • Posted on: 09/02/2020

    FAA gives permission for Amazon’s drones to take off

    Are we going to have drone wars as other mega retailers jump in? This will not end well, as drones at some time are going to crash -- and then here come the lawsuits. We have retailers everywhere. How much weight can a delivery take? It will cost a small fortune to get a delivery. People with lots of money will use this service to impress their friends, but what average Joe is going to use it on a regular basis? How is Amazon's warehouse blimps in the sky project going, by the way?
  • Posted on: 09/01/2020

    Grocers shift gears as stimulus stalemate tightens consumer spending

    The pandemic has helped many supermarkets for a variety of reasons, and now most of the hoarding and stockpiling on staples has come to a halt. Long term will not change much, as cooking more at home will help grocers, and restaurants are going to continue to struggle. Consumers want value, and those who jacked up their prices beyond the increases in actual cost, they will be the losers. Fighting for business is never going to end, but staying focused on what we do best vs. the mega stores will help grocers continue to do well.
  • Posted on: 08/27/2020

    Should employers mandate that workers get COVID-19 vaccines?

    Absolutely not, as our rights are being slowly taken away, and individuals should decide for themselves, just like getting a flu shot. Enough of this overbearing the people with more mandates that should never be part of a free society -- while we still have one.
  • Posted on: 08/25/2020

    How should grocers prepare for a possible pandemic stockpiling redux?

    Preparing for another epidemic is impossible for many small retailers. Having seen over the years how independents are treated, the mega stores will always have the upper hand when it comes to key items whereas we will struggle to find top national brands, and that is a simple fact. The frenzy for key supplies aged me about 10 years, as frustration set in knowing we weren't going to get key items because allocation went to the mega stores. I will make sure our meat supply will be strong, along with our deli as well and, if this hits again, I'll be fine. If prices skyrocket it will anger many folks, so hopefully meat packaging plants avoid the mess we had earlier this year.
  • Posted on: 08/24/2020

    Should restaurants charge a pandemic fee?

    All of our costs have risen, and the restaurants are not alone in this. My opinion is very simple -- NO and NO. Up the prices of your entire menu to make up the increases, as adding a fee in our industry is beyond stupid. Consumers hate added fees and we aren't a utility or the cable company -- so redo the menus and if people ask about the new prices, be honest with them and most will understand. Keep the service excellent, and your food fresh, and everything will be fine.
  • Posted on: 08/20/2020

    Has the local movement become a way of life for Americans?

    The pandemic has helped the better independents, who had a chance to showcase what they do way better than the mega stores. For me it has brought new life to our store, and I'm grateful for the opportunity to talk with new customers about our fresh program for meats and deli, with very good results. Most of the folks have gone back to Wally World and Aldi, but others have stayed because they love the top quality meats and we will go the extra mile to make sure they get exactly what they want, as the other stores can't duplicate our custom program. The trend to local in the higher income areas is ripe for the store that features many local fresh foods, and that is good for them as well.
  • Posted on: 08/20/2020

    Grocery CEO to anti-maskers – Got a complaint, call me on my cell.

    The idea of contacting the CEO is fine, and if they mandate masks so be it. We are mandated by the state and if someone comes in without one, we remind them to bring one the next time they stop in. Getting confrontational won't solve a thing. When the mandate is lifted, then I will be more than happy to take down the signs. It has been an awfully rough time for many employees, who can't even come up for air or drink a bottle of water without someone lashing out at them, and that is very sad.
  • Posted on: 08/18/2020

    Will guiding ‘personal wellness journeys’ drive loyalty for Raley’s?

    The personal touch regarding healthy choices is a perfect example of how you can separate yourself from the big box stores. There are a number of ways to do this, such as offering real expertise on high-end meats, homemade deli dishes, unique gluten free/sugar free foods made from scratch, and vintage wine deals that are always available in each state. Presented properly, with a sampling program that knows how to sell -- presto, you have a winning formula for building sales. I'm still in business because of how I talk to our customers and build relationships one at a time, which is how you get repeat sales week after week. If you're going to commit to this, do it with excellent knowledgeable employees who can create the positive experience for your customers.

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