BLASDELL, N.Y. -- About 80 members of the frozen food and grocery industry gathered at a dinner here last month to honor Bob Mueller, retired frozen food and dairy director of Tops Friendly Markets, Williamsville, who was recognized in SN's special Nov. 25 issue last year as one of the industry's visionaries.
The program included remarks by Frank Curci, president and chief executive officer of Tops, and by Nevin Montgomery, president of the National Frozen & Refrigerated Foods Association, who flew in from Harrisburg, Pa.
"Bob did a lot. He was on our board, and the award reflected his involvement," Montgomery told SN after the dinner on March 26 at Illio DiPaulo's restaurant.
Dave Bordonaro, director of Tops' corporate brand department and a former director of the frozen food department, presented Mueller with a plaque, with the SN article reprinted on it, given to Mueller by Tops Markets. Montgomery presented Mueller with the very amber penguin statuette that Tops won in 1994. That was the year when the NFRA decided to limit the number of Gold Penguins that could be won in the annual March National Frozen Food Month contest to three in a row, and to give an amber-colored statue for the third. Tops at that point had won 10 consecutive Gold Penguins. Ever since, the so-called "Tops Rule" has been in effect.
"Tops was gracious enough to donate that award for Bob," said John Bari, president of the Dairy and Frozen Food Association of Western New York and a business manager at Acosta Sales & Marketing, Amherst.
"It was a great honor to recognize someone from our local area," said Bari, who added that recognition by SN provided the impetus to hold the dinner.
The dinner honoring Mueller was sponsored by the Grocery Manufacturers Representatives of Western New York and the Dairy and Frozen Food Association of Western New York.