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    NRF Notes…

    Earlier this month, I had the privilege of visiting exhibitors at this year's National Retail Federation event in the company of Independent Grocer Network member Michael Avella.

    Mike owns a restaurant called Love Lane Kitchen in Mattituck, N.Y., and is in the process of building a grocery store in an adjacent building formerly occupied by an A&P. "My restaurant customers, when they are not eating at the restaurant, eat the same kinds of food at home, so I just want to make it convenient for them to buy that food," he told me during dinner the evening before (he invited me to dinner at Maialino, the newest restaurant by the owner of The Gramercy Tavern, where I had the pleasure of meeting his wife as well as his restaurant's newest chef. I enjoyed a wonderful meal there, and watched prosciutto getting sliced on a $25,000 hand-turned slicer).

    Mike also plans to source from local farms and Long Island's more than 40 vineyards. At the show, though, he was all about technology. Now, as a journalist who has covered technology for more than 15 years, I’d like to think I ask some good questions during my booth visits. But I'm always amazed at the depth of the conversation when a retailer enters a vendor's booth -- especially a retailer who is actively looking to invest in new technology.

    And clearly, Mike knows his stuff when it comes to technology, having been a tech executive on Wall Street for 20 years before his retailing days. So, it was a special treat to see the various technologies through his eyes. In coming months, you'll see some of the results of our booth visits when we feature his new store -- and some of the technology he deploys -- in an upcoming issue of PROGRESSIVE GROCER Independent.

    Be sure to keep an eye out for the February issue of PROGRESSIVE GROCER, in which we'll feature additional coverage from the NRF show.

    And for those of you attending the N.G.A. show next month, I'd love to tag along on a couple of booth visits to get your perspectives on the various suppliers’ offerings.

    In the mean time, I'd like to personally thank Mike for all his time at the show!

     

     

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