Food Fella: Fore! ProStart Golf Classic supported foodservice industry

Food and golf … they go together like mac & cheese. So, the 5th Annual NJ ProStart Golf Classic helped support the foodservice industry with a great time … not to mention lots of fun, food and beer!

The event took place earlier this month at Royce Brook Golf Club in Hillsborough.

The proceeds benefited the New Jersey Restaurant Educational Foundation and its ProStart Program for high school students. There are approximately 2,000 ProStart students throughout New Jersey who the foundation works with to develop them into professionals in the foodservice and hospitality industry. The NJREF, the philanthropic foundation of the New Jersey Restaurant and Hospitality Association, exists to enhance the restaurant industry’s service to the public through education, community engagement and promotion of career opportunities.

ProStart is the foundation’s cornerstone program, and it’s a two-year, nationwide program that serves more than 118,000 students at over 1,700 high schools in all 50 states, the territory of Guam and at Department of Defense Education Activity schools in Europe and Asia. ProStart trains students academically in the classroom and experientially on the job. 

Since 1997, the National Restaurant Association Education Fund has awarded more than $18 million in scholarships.

Glad to see the support for ProStart, which helps to attract, develop and retain a career-oriented professional workforce for the restaurant industry. 

The NJREF is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit, and all sponsorships are tax deductible.

Whole Foods making big move into Jersey City

We recently heard the news about Whole Foods Market renewing its commitment to New Jersey, with plans to move its Northeast regional headquarters out of Englewood Cliffs into Jersey City and to open a new store close to the Hudson River waterfront, according to various media sources and Whole Foods Magazine.

The announcement had not been made official by Whole Foods Market/Amazon, but Mack-Cali Realty referred to the new leases in its first-quarter shareholder report. According to the executive vice president of leasing for Mack-Cali, Nick Hilton, Whole Foods will likely move to the new headquarters by the end of the year. 

Hilton added that the opening date for the new store would be set by Whole Foods, but work needs to be done first, including the conversion of part of the attached parking garage into extra supermarket space. 

“It’s a really exciting time for Jersey City,” Hilton said in the North Jersey Record, “and it’s a very exciting time right now for us to announce Whole Foods as an addition, not only to our portfolio, but also to the community.”

A news release from Mack-Cali notes that the two waterfront leases with Whole Foods Market total 94,940 square feet, which includes a 47,542-square-foot retail location in downtown Jersey City and 47,398 square feet for the office lease.

This is great news for New Jersey and the city of Jersey City at a time when there has been an ongoing resurgence of new businesses and retail from the waterfront and beyond.

Whole Foods now has a total of 19 stores here in the Garden State.

Friendship for a good cause

The F.O.F.I. Industry Recognition Award recipient for 2019, Larry Inserra Jr., above left, with Larry Inserra lll, center, both of Inserra Supermarkets, and Brett Wing of ShopRite Supermarkets Inc.

On a beautiful, warm evening, the Friends of the Food Industry organization held what was its most successful, well-attended event to date in its mission to raise money for colleagues and friends working in the retail food industry who have dire financial troubles.

Patrick Sheils, president of the nonprofit organization, addressed guests who donated $300 per person to attend the event at Hackensack Golf & Country Club. In a picturesque setting on the patio with the sun setting, he shared the good news that the cocktail party and dinner event, along with other donations, had raised almost $150, 000 for the cause. He shared that these funds go directly to a variety of recipients whose dire situations have been brought to light by their peers and several metro area food retail employers that they are currently working for.

It was evident by the turnout of so many prominent members of the metro area food retail industry, that this close-knit group really does take care of their own.

Kudos to all who participated and donated generously and made this annual event the success that it was and has been these past seven years. To the members and staff of the Friends of the Food Industry, keep up the great work!

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