Krasdale Foods promoted Steve Silver to the role of president in January 2019 as part its succession plan.
Silver, who has been with Krasdale for 37 years, continues to serve as COO and as a member of the board of directors. He does not expect much of his day-to-day responsibilities to change with his new role, Silver told The Griffin Report of the Northeast, a sister publication to The Shelby Report.
“These are challenging days and challenging times but an opportunity I am looking forward to. We will build our talent pool. We cannot have enough good people,” Silver said.
White Plains, New York-based Krasdale is a 110-year-old, privately owned grocery distribution, merchandising and marketing company that provides essential services to supermarket operators. Its store banners include C-Town, Bravo, Aim, Market Fresh, Shop Smart Food Markets and Stop 1 Food Mart.
“Steve is such an important part of our company’s success,” said Charles Krasne, who continues in his role as CEO and chairman of the board of Krasdale Foods. “He is deeply involved in all aspects of the business and has earned the respect of our employees, customers and partners. I know he is eager to continue to drive future growth for the company.”
Working for a company that has been operation for 110 years is impressive. When asked why he thinks Krasdale has been successful for that number of years, Silver said, “We have survived and succeed because we are very good at what we do. We have a niche market by supplying ethnic corner markets that are tailored to the community that they serve.”
Silver listed some of the challenges of an independent grocer: keeping its customer base, growing the base and competing with big-box stores, online ordering sites and convenience stores.
“It seems like everybody today is trying to sell grocery products,” Silver said.
The customers Krasdale services are neighborhood-specific, especially in the metropolitan New York area.
“You can go 10 blocks away from a store, and you can be in a very different ethnic area. What we do very well, along with the retailers we support, is service those particular areas,” Silver said.
“It is a customized program that helps these retailers succeed in the areas that they service,” he said, noting that the markets are “dynamic, always moving. Consumers are always changing. We need to stay ahead of that curve, and that is what we do well. That is what allows these retailers to survive.”
While its headquarters is in White Plains, New York, Krasdale also has a grocery distribution center in the Hunts Point section of the Bronx. It serves more than 300 independent supermarkets, mostly in New York City and New York metro areas, but also has customers in New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Florida.
The Florida outpost
Krasdale does business under the Bravo banner in Florida. The move to the Sunshine State was the result of its Hispanic retailers in New York requesting that its concept be made available to their Florida counterparts, according to Silver. Krasdale now has been in Florida for 14 years. It has strategic alliances with suppliers in Florida to service the stores and has set up corporate offices to provide the same services there as at headquarters.
“The concept worked out so well that we now have 50 Bravo Supermarkets,” Silver said.
Silver expects more stores to open there as well.
“It is a very successful program that we introduced to Florida; very different than a standard supermarket,” Silver said.
Krasdale’s Latin American program can tailor merchandise to a particular neighborhood, he said.
Krasdale offers both products and services
The company’s New York distribution center carries a wide range of products, including dry groceries, shelf-stable beverages, private label, international, health and beauty products, general merchandise and many natural and organic items. Krasdale does not offer perishables. Its affiliate, KoolTemp Foods, offers this for Krasdale.
In addition to being a grocery wholesaler, Krasdale offers marketing and merchandising services to its supermarket customers through its affiliated companies—Alpha 1 Marketing, Beta II Marketing, Consolidated Supermarket Supply (CSS), KoolTemp Foods (as noted) and Waverly—all located in Hunts Point, New York.
Alpha 1 and Beta II are marketing firms that create the merchandising and marketing programs. This includes the items being promoted in the market’s circular as well as the look and design of the store. Waverly is the financial division of the company, providing capital along with lines of credit to help retailers.
“Together with Steve, the executive management team and the entire Krasne family, we will continue to carry out our mission of empowering independent food retailers,” said Thatcher Krasne, a third-generation owner and member of the board of directors who serves as president and CEO of Alpha 1 Marketing.
Silver grew up on Long Island. His first job in junior high school was working for King Kullen. He attended the University of Miami.
Founded in 1908 as A. Krasne Inc., the company became Krasdale Foods in 1972.