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New Jersey Grocery Veteran Joseph Saker Passes Away At 83

Joseph Saker

The New Jersey grocery industry lost an icon last weekend with the passing of 83-year-old Joseph J. Saker, one of the founding members of the New Jersey Food Council and the first NJFC chairman of the board. A complete obituary can be found here.

NJFC President Linda M. Doherty says:

“Mr. Saker was viewed by many as the driving force behind the creation of the New Jersey Food Council. He was an accomplished entrepreneur and food retail pioneer who recognized the importance of balancing business and good government. As the supermarket industry started to take root more than 45 years ago, Joe Saker understood grocers needed a voice in Trenton to represent their interests before state government leaders. His vision helped create the New Jersey Food Council.

“In the late l960s, an organization known as the New Jersey Grocers Association representing mostly small, independent food stores approached Mr. Saker seeking his help to bring in larger food stores and chains, an idea that was met with great resistance.

“Working with Joe Azzolina of Food Circus Foodtown, Mr. Saker brought together some of the larger food store owners to discuss the concept including Alan Bildner of Kings Super Markets, Patrick Deo of Grand Union, Stanley Kaufelt of Mayfair Supermarkets and Sam Aidekman of Good Deal Supermarkets. Joe Saker hosted a dinner at his home and, at that gathering, a consensus was reached to form the New Jersey Food Council, whose primary purpose would be to represent the retail food industry before state government. All facets of the retail food trade were welcomed as members. The founders believed it was essential to have the largest chains and the smallest independents involved, as well as the heads of the large companies and members of their staffs.

“Mr. Saker was named the first NJFC chairman, and start-up operations were conducted from his place of business. Joe Saker was a man of principle whose commitment and resolve ensured the highest standards for the food council. His focus has guided NJFC to maintain its status as one of the leading state associations in New Jersey and one of the most respected food industry trade associations in the nation.

“In addition to his pivotal role at the food council, Mr. Saker was former founder, president and chairman of the board of Foodarama Supermarkets Inc., VP and member of the board of directors of the Wakefern Food Corp., and chairman of the board of governors of the Academy of Food Marketing at St. Joseph’s University.

“The father of six children, today, the commitment of the Saker family tradition has an impact on the NJFC mission as Joe’s son Richard Saker, president and CEO of Saker ShopRites, serves as an NJFC officer, has a seat on the executive committee and is chair of the Food Council Committee for Good Government PAC.”



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