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2016 Hall of Fame Recipients Winter

Specialty Food Association has created a Hall of Fame for the specialty food industry. The Hall’s Mission is to “honor individuals whose accomplishments, impact, contributions, innovations, and successes within the specialty food industry deserve praise and recognition.

The 2016 Class of the Hall of Fame includes 46 individuals who have pioneered and built the specialty food industry. For just a list of the names of this year's inductees click here.

An additional 46 individuals will be inducted into the 2016 Hall of Fame at the Summer Fancy Food Show in June, 2016. To see those inductees click here.

The Specialty Food Association congratulates the following inductees:

A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z

Michael Barefoot & Tim Manale, A Southern Season

In 1975, Barefoot (with a staff of one) founded a 700-square-foot coffee roastery in Chapel Hill, N.C. He was later joined by Duke MBA Tim Manale to nurture what was to become “the Nordstrom of Specialty Foods,” (Specialty Food Magazine, 2003.) After selling the business in 2011, the two launched a new import venture, “Bon Courage Gourmet.” They were married in N.C. in 2014.

Gene Biggi, Beaverton Foods

Biggi is the Owner of Beaverton Foods, a fourth generation manufacturer of gourmet condiments. The son of Italian immigrants, Biggi took over his Mother Rose’s local horseradish company and expanded distribution to all 50 states and dozens of foreign countries. Among his notable product creations, Biggi invented the first shelf-stable horseradish, first wet Chinese Mustard, and the first Honey Mustard.

Jack Cappel, Dorval Trading Co., Ltd.

Cappel began his career in the specialty food industry in 1949, working for English toffee supplier Edward Sharp & Sons, becoming Vice President before moving on to food importer Adolph Goldmark & Sons in 1960. In 1966, Cappel and his wife, Florence, started Dorval Trading Co., Ltd., an importer of fine confectionery products which continues today. Jack currently serves as Chairman of Dorval.

Lindy Chandler, Chandler Food Sales

In 1966, Chandler established his food brokerage company, Chandler Food Sales, continuing today as a third generation family-owned company in business since 1932. He served as an officer of several trade organizations and was honored many times as Broker of the Year from his manufacturers.

Alfred Ciccotelli Sr. (Mr.C), Cento Fine Foods, Inc.

Alfred Ciccotelli Sr. possessed an unbridled passion for Italian specialty foods. Affectionately known as “Mr. C,” he was among the first to pioneer Italian specialty foods into the Delaware Valley market and lived by his motto, “Just treat people right.” He founded ALANRIC Food Distributors in 1962 and built it into Cento Fine Foods, with offices in the U.S. and Italy.

Alfred Ciccotelli Jr., Cento Fine Foods, Inc.

Alfred Ciccotelli Jr., had tremendous drive and energy as he built the Cento brand through his sheer tenacity and keen market insight. His approach to both the market and his life is best captured in his personal philosophy, “Trust your family with our family.” He was one of the first to achieve national distribution of Italian specialty food products by making it an integral part of mainstream supermarkets.

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Sam Cristol, The Cristol Group

Beginning in 1965 while in college with a part-then-full time job at H. Sunshine Distributors in Atlanta, to VP Sales at Estee/Louis Sherry, to now 30 years in the brokerage business, Cristol has attended the Fancy Food Shows in all capacities for 50 years. His major accomplishment is remaining loyal to employees, representatives, vendors, customers, and this exciting industry.

Ariane Daguin, D’Artagnan

Daguin launched D’Artagnan in 1985 as the only supplier of game and foie gras in the U.S. Today, D’Artagnan is a leading purveyor of organic poultry, game, foie gras, pâtés, sausages, smoked delicacies & wild mushrooms. A pioneer in the farm-to-table movement, Daguin is dedicated to procuring from small farms that support humane and sustainable farming practices.

Irving Fien, Fine Distributors

In 1944,Fien and his wife Rose established Food Crafters, a food distribution business. Starting with one truck, Irving built a business that sold kosher products and gourmet foods. When Hagameyer purchased Food Crafters in 1993, the business employed 200+ people. Fien charmed, toiled, and persevered until his goals were realized. He valued hard work and success, but was always prepared for the unforeseen.

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Irving Glassner, Cosmopolitan Importers Ltd.

Following the Holocaust, Irving Glassner settled in Vancouver and started Cosmopolitan Importers, a specialty foods business. He successfully promoted Mott’s Clamato in Canada, marketing the Bloody Caesar as the number 1 popular drink in all of the country.

Erwin Grunhut, Astor Chocolate Corp.

Grunhut is the patriarch of Astor Chocolate. He identified, and in many ways pioneered, the industries that Astor currently services and single-handedly created almost all Astor products. Grunhut’s legacy is marked by a series of “firsts,” including personalized turn down chocolate for the hospitality industry and chocolate as a souvenir for the travel retail market. Grunhut’s commitment to his employees and community are his greatest achievements.

Walter Guerra, ITALFOODS

In 1978, Guerra recognized that the San Francisco Bay Area represented a ripe market for imported Italian specialty foods. With more determination and savvy than money, and the help of his wife Georgette and her family, Walter set up Italfoods, Inc. It was a modest beginning. Italfoods growth is still a team effort, even with today’s 116,000-square-foot warehouse, several hundred suppliers, over 4,000 customers and 90 dedicated employees.

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Bob Gumport, Bloomingdale’s

Bob Gumport started his career at Bloomingdale’s in New York City in 1950. During 30 years there, he traveled globally to import the finest food products to Bloomingdale’s chain of stores. After retiring, he became a consultant and was awarded several prestigious honors, including the French Government’s Chevalier de L’Order du Merite Argricole and the NASFT Silver Spoon Award.

Jacob Hamburger, Jacob Hamburger Co. Inc.

From a porch in Aberdeen, WA in 1938 to a 55,000-square-foot warehouse in Portland, OR, Jacob Hamburger brought specialty foods to retailers in the Northwest. His customers had a saying, “if Jacob doesn’t have it, nobody does.” By creating an “ethnic” section, Hamburger built a destination for his customers. He was also a major community leader on Portland.

Mickey Houston, Houston Foods

Houston founded Houston Foods, a food gift company, in 1953, selling his interest in 1971 when it merged with JM Smucker. He was a food marketing consultant for television’s Home network. Houston served on the 1976 Fancy Food Show steering committee, was named Overseas buyer of the Decade, 1970-1980, Gourmet Food Industry Gift-Packer Man of the Year, 1974, and Fancy Food Industry Man of the Year, 1977.

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David Isenberg, Chex Finer Foods

Isenberg and his father Jay started Chex Finer Foods in a small garage in 1965. Isenberg worked in all aspects of the business, serving as President for 25 years. He believes that the greatest rewards are taking care of customers, valuing what the customer sold rather than what they purchased and providing superior product knowledge. Chex is currently celebrating its 50th year in business with his sons Jeremy and Michael now at the helm.

Jack Kalajian, Near East

Kalajian’s parents, George and Hannah, emigrated from Armenia to Worcester, MA in 1940, bringing a love of the region's food, including rice pilaf, fragrant with currants and cinnamon. The preparation of pilaf is almost an art, and Hannah Kalajian made it so well that she created Near East. Her son Jack served as president.

Don King, Foods of All Nations

King’s passion for exotic foods began with deployment to Russia, North Africa, France and Germany during World War ll. Returning to his hometown of Charlottesville, VA, King started a small neighborhood store called the Seven Day Shopping Center. In 1961, the New York Times Cook Book listed only store one outside New York City as a food resource. King renamed the store Foods of all Nations and it still operates today.

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Larry LaPare, Liberty Richter

LaPare had a passion for specialty food and the people in the industry. Larry brought that passion and vision to his career positions as President of Deblinger Brokerage, President of Liberty Richter and in Senior Management at Tree of Life. LaPare's lasting legacy is International Food Associates, in which he was a founding partner and the driving force in its creation.

Edward Loeb, The Gourmet Retailer

Loeb launched The Gourmet Retailer in 1979 in response to the nation's fascination with everything gourmet. Loeb saw the need to bring retailers expert advice on merchandising, customer service, operations, and running a successful business. During his 30-year tenure as publisher, TGR was the preeminent B2B journal for the industry, with a readership of over 35,000 decision-making retailers.

Sheila Lukins, The Silver Palate

One of America’s most beloved food writers, Lukins combined unusual ingredients and bold flavors in accessible recipes. Her seven popular cookbooks, including The Silver Palate series and The New Basics Cookbook, have sold more than seven million copies. Lukins co-founded the Silver Palate gourmet food shop and specialty food brand, along with Julee Rosso. In 1986, she succeeded Julia Child as food editor for PARADE Magazine.

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John Macy, John Wm. Macy CheeseSticks

Macy opened a tiny store front in Manhattan’s East Village in June 1985 to exploit an appetizer recipe he developed ten years earlier for his small catering business. Macy’s twice-baked, hand-twisted Cheddar CheeseSticks were an instant hit in local specialty stores. Thirty years later, John Wm. Macy’s CheeseSticks produces a nationally recognized line of premium baked cheese snacks.

Tim Macy, John Wm. Macy CheeseSticks

In 1990, Macy left a partnership with Deloitte to join his brother at John Wm. Macy’s CheeseSticks. With John’s focus on product development, manufacturing operations and quality control and Tim’s on administration, sales and marketing, the brothers built the family-owned business from sales to a handful of Manhattan specialty food stores to distribution throughout the U.S. and Canada.

Harry Mains, Steinberg Fine Foods

Mains’ 40-plus years in the specialty food industry began when he purchased Steinberg Fine Foods in 1970. Shortly after, he co-founded VIP Foods (now World Finer Foods), and helped launch the Reese brand. His passion for the industry continued while serving on the Executive Board of Directors of DSDA, and as President of the National Food Distributors Association.

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Sharon Meehan, HAM I AM!

Raising four children in Dallas as a single mother, Meehan decided that she would go into the holiday ham business. She introduced HAM I AM! in 1986, with customers ranging (and still selling to!) from Neiman Marcus to Zingerman’s. After turning the business over to her daughter, Meghan, Meehan joined Tazo Tea and eventually Starbuck’s. As a Director of SFA, she promoted education for members.

Frank Muchel, World Finer Foods

Muchel spent 24 years with World Finer Foods, one of the largest U.S. importers of specialty, health and organic foods. He served 14 years as President, growing the company fivefold during his career. Prior to WFF, Muchel held sales and management roles with Keebler, and now heads the U.S, launch of an Austrian refrigerated product line.

Izzet Ozdogan, Osem USA

Ozdogan started Osem USA, a subsidiary of Osem/Nestle, in 1989 in N.J. and served as its president until he retired in 2014. Under his leadership, Osem USA worked with every specialty food distributor in the U.S. and has become a thriving business, and a major supplier of specialty fine foods from Israel.

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Tom Porter, KeHE Foods

Porter enjoyed a 35-year career at KeHE and was largely responsible for KeHE joining the Specialty Food Association and exhibiting at the Fancy Food Shows. Porter helped build KeHE from a Chicago base into a North American distribution company. Porter had a talent for hiring people; many he hired are still at KeHE today. He was a founding father.

Lynn Portugal, Pinski-Portugal & Associates

Portugal's career in the specialty food industry began as a child, growing up in a candy and homemade ice cream store. Her retail sales experience and love of specialty foods led her to join her father's (Gene Pinski) brokerage company in 1981. With 35 years of perseverance and dedication, her company continues to represent high end award winning lines.

Tom and Mary Ellen Power, The Cheese Shop of Williamsburg

Thomas and Mary Ellen Power opened The Cheese Shop in 1971 with only 600 square feet. With the help of their three children, the business has grown into three popular Williamsburg landmarks employing over 85. In addition to The Cheese Shop and Wine Cellar, the Fat Canary restaurant has been awarded OpenTable's 100 best restaurants and AAA's Four Diamond rating every year since opening in 2003.

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Margrit Reich, Charlotte Charles

Born in 1927 in Germany, Margrit came to the U.S. in 1938. Sponsored by her uncle, Otto Sommers, the family settled in Chicago. After high school, she worked at Sue Ann Foods, a company owned by Max Ries, and later at Reese Finer Foods. In 1965, Margrit and her husband Steve bought Charlotte Charles. She became Executive Vice President of the country's first publicly-held specialty food company.

Bill Renfro, Renfro Foods Inc.

Bill Renfro spent his entire career in the family business, other than two years as a U.S. Army officer. As CEO, Renfro managed the sales, accounting, purchasing and corporate strategy functions of the business. He is a past president of the Texas Food Processors Association and the North Texas Food Sales Association, and a founding board member and past president of the Tarrant Area Food Bank.

Jack Renfro, Renfro Foods Inc.

Jack Renfro grew up in the family business. As COO of Renfro Foods, Inc., Renfro handled the manufacturing, maintenance, shipping and receiving aspects of the business and oversaw the company’s strategic plant expansion. After a half-century of running the company with his brother Bill, he now consults and advises. A classic car enthusiast, Jack participated in the Great Race, driving cross-country in a 1935 Ford.

Glen Rosengarten, Food Emporium

Rosengarten’s imagination and leadership gave rise the Food Emporium. His drive and a refusal to accept mediocrity inspired all. His credo: Be different, be unique and forge the cutting edge. His search for excellence, taught that a peach was not a peach, bananas were yellow and tomatoes red. He inspired merchandising as art, and never accepted less than perfection.

Jay Rosengarten, Food Emporium

Rosengarten’s 40 years of experience in retail and food distribution has shaped his approach to selling and marketing products in today’s retail world. He was part of the team that created the Food Emporium store format, which incorporated the world of specialty foods into the supermarket. Today, he consults with emerging and mature companies, developing and implementing marketing strategies.

Robert Rothschild, Robert Rothschild Farm

In 1977, Rothschild and his wife Sarah moved their family from California to Ohio to be on a farm. In the early years, the family helped with growing the company. As the business succeeded, Rothschild built a team of enthusiastic and empowered employees who kept quality high and provided excellent customer service. In 2005, Rothschild sold the company and formed a family foundation, building libraries in Botswana.

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Ron Rubin, The Republic of Tea, Inc.

Rubin’s life has been dedicated to innovation, stewardship, education, and philanthropy. A successful entrepreneur, Rubin sparked a specialty Tea Revolution when he purchased The Republic of Tea to promote the “Sip by Sip Rather Than Gulp by Gulp” lifestyle. Under his leadership as Minister of Tea, the brand has introduced more than 300 exquisite, award-winning teas and tea-inspired products.

Charlie Scheidt, Roland Foods

In his nearly 50-year career, Charles (Charlie) Scheidt built Roland Foods and the Roland brand to their current prominence. Featuring more than 1,000 specialty foods, the firm imports from nearly 50 countries and supplies retail and foodservice customers nationwide and in 40-plus countries. Charlie brought energy, passion, respect and the ability to nurture and develop a team of talented individuals to the business.

Eli Schlossberg, Castle Consulting Group

For 15 years, Schlossberg served as CEO and President of a family gourmet and specialty food distribution company, before selling the 45-year-old family business in 1987. He then served five years as CEO and then Chairman of the new specialty company. He is currently President of Castle Consulting Group, a consulting company specializing in specialty gourmet and kosher marketing and distribution.

Allen Schnapp, Specialty Food Management Group, LLC

Schnapp began his career interning at Trebor Sharps in England and returned to the states in sales, marketing and eventually management positions with The Schrafft Candy Company, Morris National, and then Shaffer Clarke as Executive Vice President. Since then, Schnapp has imported or consulted for many leading specialty brands, including Bonne Maman, Droste, La Vie, Fazer, Hero, Chupa Chups, McCanns, Wasa, Ryvita, and Panda.

Charles Snitow, Snitow Associates

Charles Snitow was a creator of the modern trade show after World War II. A food, wine and cigar connoisseur, he presented the first Fancy Food Show in 1955 at New York’s Astor Hotel and continued running the show for 25 years. A tough negotiator and conciliator, he brought together competitors, labor, and management--often over fine food, drinks and cigars.

Peter Steiner, Steiner Foods

Steiner, Co-Owner of Steiner Foods, developed this once small regional distribution company based in New York into an innovative and trendsetting supplier. Countless brands that are thriving in the specialty food world today were launched with Steiner Foods as their first distributor partner.

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Winston Stona, Busha Browne’s

Stona was a Co-Founder of the Busha Browne’s Company, an award-winning company widely recognized as introducing jerk seasoning to the U.S. market. With over 40 years of experience in international sales, marketing and distribution, Stona is deeply committed to regional development through export, constantly sharing his passion for Caribbean culture. He currently works as a consultant for Associated Manufacturers Limited.

Mario P. Tribuno, G. B. Raffetto Inc.

During his life-long career at Raffetto, Tribuno expanded the company’s product line from its humble Italian chestnut origins to a vast selection of innovative gourmet offerings sold in specialty food stores globally. Products included Marrons Glaces, Nesselro topping, Chutnut condiment, Melba Sauce, and Peaches Grand Marnier, all to the highest quality standards established by the company’s founder, Giovanni B Raffetto.

Joe Zander, Liberty Richter

Originally from Germany, Zander’s almost 50 years of sales management experience is marked by prowess, peer respect and trust. It started with Holland House Cocktail Mixes, a division of National Distillers, and continued with Sandoz Nutrition and Liberty Richter. Zander currently works with Finn Crisp and Modern Products.

A full list of 2016 Hall of Fame Inductees

Michael Barefoot & Tim Manale, A Southern Season
Gene Biggi, Beaverton Foods
Jack Cappel, Dorval Trading Co., Ltd.
Lindy Chandler, Chandler Food Sales
Alfred Ciccotelli Sr. (Mr.C), Cento Fine Foods, Inc.
Alfred Ciccotelli Jr., Cento Fine Foods, Inc.
Sam Cristol, The Cristol Group
Ariane Daguin, D’Artagnan
Irving Fien, Fine Distributors
Irving Glassner, Cosmopolitan Importers Ltd.
Erwin Grunhut, Astor Chocolate Corp.
Walter Guerra, ITALFOODS
Bob Gumport, Bloomingdale’s
Jacob Hamburger, Jacob Hamburger Co. Inc.
Mickey Houston, Houston Foods
David Isenberg, Chex Finer Foods
Jack Kalajian, Near East
Don King, Foods of All Nations
Larry LaPare, Liberty Richter
Edward Loeb, The Gourmet Retailer
Sheila Lukins, The Silver Palate
John Macy, John Wm. Macy CheeseSticks
Tim Macy, John Wm. Macy CheeseSticks
Harry Mains, Steinberg Fine Foods
Sharon Meehan, HAM I AM!
Frank Muchel, World Finer Foods
Izzet Ozdogan, Osem USA
Tom Porter, KeHE Foods
Lynn Portugal, Pinski-Portugal & Associates
Tom and Mary Ellen Power, The Cheese Shop of Williamsburg
Margrit Reich, Charlotte Charles
Bill Renfro, Renfro Foods Inc.
Jack Renfro, Renfro Foods Inc.
Glen Rosengarten, Food Emporium
Jay Rosengarten, Food Emporium
Robert Rothschild, Robert Rothschild Farm
Ron Rubin, The Republic of Tea, Inc.
Charlie Scheidt, Roland Foods
Eli Schlossberg, Castle Consulting Group
Allen Schnapp, Specialty Food Management Group, LLC
Charles Snitow, Snitow Associates
Peter Steiner, Steiner Foods
Winston Stona, Busha Browne’s
Mario P. Tribuno, G. B. Raffetto Inc.
Joe Zander, Liberty Richter

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