Change still easy to come by

I took a spin through some of the pages in the margin of the website — our suppliers, who I am — wow, things have changed since this rodeo started.

Even in just the last month.

One of my kitchen staffers caught me during a quiet moment. I didn't know about this photo until it showed up on Facebook.

One of my kitchen staffers caught me during a quiet moment. I didn’t know about this photo until it showed up on Facebook.

Our supply chain has been completely upended in the last year after our primary supplier, the largest foodservice company in the world, let its service lapse, giving us a salesman who doesn’t visit and doesn’t even pick up the phone sometimes.

We now use both the second- and third-largest foodservice companies in the country, US Foods in Clifton Park and Performance Food Service in Springfield, Mass., which generously extended the boundary of its service area. I have appreciated their staff’s attention to customer service, their commitment to making the products affordable and the professionalism of their drivers. Visits with them every week are a highlight of those days.

We also purchase produce from Antonucci’s Produce in Gloversville, milk from Byrne Dairy in Syracuse — both new relationships forged this summer. Restaurant Depot in Colonie, which opened 18 months ago, has been a good resource for some sale items.

Our Snack Shop vendors also had some upheaval, with new drinks like Arizona teas, A&W root beer and Saratoga water coming from Mechanicville-based Decrescente Distributing, and with candy coming all the way from Maine and a company called Pine State Trading, which also services convenience stores like Fastrac. (Our ice cream is, as always, Hershey’s, and we still use some Coca-Cola products.)

Even the personal items have changed. The “tween” daughter is now a very teenage 14. The pet dog, Dito, was put down this year.

I sometimes get jealous of longtime foodservice directors whose camps’ relationships with purveyors predate them. How many camps in Pennsylvania have been with Reinhart for decades? A big Christian resort near us with a $1 million foodservice budget has been with Sysco for more than 20 years.

But that will never be our story. Folders of invoices from the 1990s through early 2000s show orders from Maines in Binghamton, the former Quandt’s in Amsterdam, the also-departed Cousins Seafood somewhere near Albany and a bunch of dairy and produce companies. Since I’ve been here, I’ve abandoned Sysco and Ginsbergs, each without much regret.

Change has always been in the name of the game here. It likely will continue as we lose US Foods sometime in the next few years to their new ownership by Sysco. Will we go back to Sysco? Will we go back to someone else? Will the new company that purchased Quandt’s get our business?

My aim will still be to support the businesses who best support us through their pricing, quality and service. When we begin to purchase from companies out of habit, obligation or just because it’s easier, it’s time for someone else to be doing the buying.


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