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BRdata President Touts Benefits Of ROFDA Membership

John Abbene

ROFDA associate member BRdata offers software solutions to independent grocers and wholesalers. The Melville, New York-based company has been a ROFDA member since 2014, according to John Abbene, president.

“We write software solutions for the independent grocery industry, everything from back office, inventory, sales reporting…an end-to-end enterprise solution, from the wholesaler to the consumers is what we offer,” he said.

Abbene has attended every ROFDA conference since BRdata became an associate member. The company began developing solutions for grocery wholesalers in the early 2000s, which was when he learned about ROFDA and was invited to join by a wholesaler member.

Abbene, who is a member of the ROFDA Advisory Committee, said he always tells new members that his only regret is not joining the organization when he first had the opportunity.

ROFDA’s “amazing” conferences are his favorite to attend.

“They make it more of a real destination and networking event for the spouses,” he said. “It’s not like every other business event that you attend, where it’s kind of business as usual. The ROFDA conferences have always been different.”

Through those conferences, Abbene said he was able to build relationships with the ROFDA wholesalers. Now, seven of the eight are BRdata customers. “That is absolutely based on attending ROFDA conferences, no doubt.”

He noted access to the CEOs of ROFDA members is a key benefit of membership for the associates.

“I can say, with confidence, that all those CEOs know me. I’ve built up relationships with them, and that never would have happened without ROFDA,” he said. “There’s no way you would have access to the CEOs and then be able to build up a relationship with them and their trust…no way you would have this type of access to the CEOs outside of this event.”

According to Abbene, the ROFDA speed-dating meetings are crucial in getting started with building the relationships with the members but added that the follow-up meetings are “where you’re really making the deal and selling your solutions after making the initial contact.”

As a member of the RAC, Abbene said serving in that capacity has been “an incredible experience.”

“We feel like we’ve accomplished a lot in the two-plus years that we’ve been in…there’s a lot of talent on that board – a lot of leaders of companies – and we all came together” and made suggestions to the ROFDA board, he said. Among the current RAC’s initial presentation was the proposal to include retailers at the conferences.

The ROFDA board took the RAC’s suggestions and “ran with it, which was amazing. It’s one of the best conferences that I attend, and now it’s double,” he said of including the retailers. “It really takes the conference to another level.”

One example of BRdata benefiting from being an associate is its relationship with ROFDA member AWG. Abbene recalled that when Jeff Pedersen, current ROFDA president, was working at AWG, he had asked for a meeting.

“It was one of the speed-dating meetings with Jeff, and I was able to get a meeting at his office in Kansas City. Then Jeff got me a meeting in front of his team,” he said. “Now, we’re rolling out our pricing solution to support all of AWG’s stores. They’re using our new solution. That literally never would have happened without ROFDA, no chance.”

Abbene said ROFDA associates are presented opportunities to meet with the leaders of the wholesalers. “It’s really what you make of it. If you could get them interested where you can take the next step, it’s really amazing what you can do with it.”

For more information, visit rofda.com.

To view the full anniversary section presented by The Shelby Report, click here.

About the author

Treva Bennett

Senior Content Creator

After 32 years in the newspaper industry, she is enjoying her new career exploring the world of groceries at The Shelby Report.

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