Specialty Food Magazine

FALL 2017

Specialty Food Magazine is the leading publication for retailers, manufacturers and foodservice professionals in the specialty food trade. It provides news, trends and business-building insights that help readers keep their businesses competitive.

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JERRY SANTUCCI Santucci Associates Jerry Santucci's career in the specialty food business began in the Philadelphia area in 1965 when he co-founded Santucci Associates with his brother Anthony (Tony) Santucci. They set up shop in Tony's basement and grew to represent major brands and become one of the first brokerages to join the Specialty Food Association. Jerry died of cancer in 2016 at the age of 76, still going into the office until almost the end. Inspiration… When he was in his 20s, Santucci was working as a bond trader. His older brother Tony persuaded him to quit, telling him there was an opportunity to make some real money by distribut- ing specialty foods. "Back then there was no specialty food business in grocery stores," says Steve Santucci, Jerry's nephew. "In Philly, we had Gimbels and little cheese shops and gourmet candy stores, and Jerry would go up one side of the street and Tony would go up the other, trying to sell what they had. Then Jerry went on the road a lot, lived out of suitcases for weeks at a time and stayed with customers." "He was very, very competitive, he was wise, he was driven, and he had great instincts," says Stephen DeLeo, vice president at Santucci Associates. "Jerry loved the business, getting to know people, working with vendors and customers, building volume, and building brands. His business took him all over the world, generating wonderful rela- tionships. He found his niche and was comfortable there." Impact… From going door to door in Philadelphia, Santucci helped build his company into a highly successful brokerage that does business up and down the East Coast. Over the years Santucci Associates has represented hundreds of products, including extra vir- gin olive oil, cookies, barbecue sauce, salad dressing, and bulk candy. "Jerry took specialty food to new heights," says DeLeo. "He got his brands into the grocery store arena and was a pioneer selling to distributors. Today, that's the nature of the specialty food industry, but it wasn't back then. He made small companies with a family recipe very successful, deciding pricing and packaging and developing the pitches. He had a knack." The Future… Santucci Associates is carrying on Jerry and Tony's legacy (Tony died in 2011), developing new brands and always trying to expand the business while dealing with changes in the industry. "How people are buying online is just another trend we're going to have to figure out," DeLeo says. "Our take is that the business will continue to evolve to accommodate consumers who are pressed for time and looking for convenience. The days of going to the super- market every Saturday and walking the aisles are over. No road is paved without some bumps." "Jerry took specialty food to new heights. He got his brands into the grocery store arena and was a pioneer selling to distributors. Today, that's the nature of the specialty food industry, but it wasn't back then. He made small companies with a family recipe very successful, deciding pricing and packaging and developing the pitches. He had a knack." PHOTOS: SANTUCCI ASSOCIATES Julie Besonen writes for The New York Times and is a restaurant columnist for nycgo.com. 34 ❘ SPECIALTY FOOD MAGAZINE specialtyfood.com

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