Given the significant changes the supermarket industry has been going through since the COVID-19 pandemic, the National Supermarket Association (NSA) is taking the initiative so that the more than 600 stores represented by the organization have the best opportunities to advance their businesses. This was demonstrated at its revamped NSA 2023 trade show in August at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Uniondale, New York.
The association of independent Hispanic supermarkets covers the tri-state region of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. It partnered with Porky Products to host a major trade show this year.
The event moved from its traditional home at the Resort World Casino in Jamaica, New York, to Uniondale’s Nassau Coliseum. It has 60,000 square feet of exhibit floor space. In addition, they extended the show to two days to offer exhibitors and attendees more significant opportunities to conduct business.
“The times we have in front of us precisely merit innovations, new market schemes, and new strategies. That’s why the NSA is providing a great opportunity for manufacturers and distributors, along with service distributors providers can find the right way to place and diversify each of their products within the network of stores that NSA represents,” said Samuel Collado, current president of the National Supermarket Association, in an interview with Abasto.
What happened at the NSA 2023 Trade Show
Another step the NSA took to advance its advocacy agenda and support its members was the appointment of Seny Taveras, J.D., as the association’s executive director.
“Seny Taveras is an extraordinary lady, as well as an administrator who is accompanying us in this new cycle of the NSA to provide the best services to each of our affiliated supermarkets,” Collado said.
As a preamble to the two-day trade show, the NSA held an inaugural ceremony at which it offered a cocktail reception to guests, who also attended a conference presented by a select group of leaders who discussed current issues and trends in the supermarket industry.
Panelists included Donna Zambo, vice president and chief marketing officer of Allegiance Retail Service; Russ Whitman, senior vice president of Urner Barry; Jenny Jorge, owner-partner of Gala Foods; Erica Grundish, senior director of sales for the Northeast region of Frito Lay; and Luis Saenz, director of DSD sales for Goya Foods. Carlos Hernandez, an NSA Florida board of directors member, moderated the conference.
During the trade show, José González was also honored with the NSA International Company of the Year award. He is the founder and president of the Puerto Rican company Pan American Grain.
NSA 2023 Trade Show and Porky Products
At the new NSA trade show venue at Uniondale’s Nassau Coliseum, more than 350 companies were on the show floor. Event director Antony Peña spoke with Abasto about the organization of the trade show and the collaboration with Porky Products.
“The collaboration with Porky has helped us a lot because they have a fairly broad market, so the purpose of our show is for the brand to have a return on its investment and have the most attention from attendees. With Porky, we have been able to achieve that,” said Peña, who owns seven independent supermarkets and is a member of the NSA’s board of directors.
The young entrepreneur emphasized that Hispanic grocery stores are constantly adapting to change, which is the key to the success of independent supermarkets. That is why this year’s NSA show included meat and food service exhibitors, such as delis, and more international products.
PROPANAMA was present with a stand where they presented the products of numerous companies from the Central American country. Companies from the Dominican Republic, Chile, Costa Rica, and Guatemala, among others, were also there.
NSA 2024 is already rolling
Next year’s event is already in the making after the positive results of the renewed 2023 trade show.
“The next step for the show is to keep it a two-day show, include more seminars, more presence of government officials to help us better operate our stores, help distributors how to do their business in New York City better, and how to adapt to the changes in the city. The NSA Show will become a convention of support and help for our supermarket community,” said Peña.
Related Article: NSA Florida Holds its Annual Food Trade Show in Miami
The Story of WILLIAM RODRIGUEZ, THREE-TIME NSA PRESIDENT
William Rodriguez joined the National Supermarket Association in 1990, one year after its founding. At the time, he was not yet 30 years old.
For over thirty years, he has been part of the organization of independent Hispanic grocers. He has grown and shared in good times and bad with this organization. Because of his dedication, the association’s members have elected him president three times.
This Dominican, born in the small town of Villa Trina, came to the U.S. when he was ten years old. His brother, Juan Rodriguez, is one of the pioneers in owning a grocery store in New York. He motivated him to get involved in the world of supermarkets.
In the 1980s, Rodriguez became a store owner. Over the years, he and his family opened more supermarkets.
Working to grow the NSA, in 1997, Rodriguez was first named president of the association. Together with Nelson Eusebio, the executive director at the time, they organized the organization’s first trade show. Rodriguez recounts that ten years passed, and in 2007, the NSA board of directors elected him for the second time as president.
“I had different goals. I wanted to give the association another vision because I thought we had to grow and expand a little more. So, we started with the Florida chapter project. There again, with Nelson Eusebio, we started the Florida chapter of the NSA, which today is working very well with an excellent show,” Rodriguez recalls.
“Much of my life belongs to the association. I say that if they cut my veins in my blood, run the colors of the National Supermarket Association because I think about the interests of the NSA. I fight for them,” reiterates Rodriguez, who was appointed president of the NSA for the third time in 2019.