Announcing the

Good Food Merchants' Summit


The Good Food Foundation was thrilled to launch the inaugural Merchants Summit on Tuesday, June 25, 2019. As a critical link in a strong food system, we were delighted to create the chance for independent grocers to connect, learn from and share with each other. Bringing together both new and seasoned retailers in the same building as the Good Food Mercantile, the Summit was designed to be an easy and meaningful addition to a merchant’s New York City Mercantile trip.

This inaugural half day of skill building kicked off with breakfast from Acme Smokehouse, Zucker’s Bagels and Regalis plus coffee from Champion Coffee. Once fortified, attendees learned from the best in the business with sessions designed for both new and seasoned independent retailers. Topics included how to find and use data with VP of Sales & Merchandising John Boyle of Market of Choice to a primer on open book finance from ZingTrain Trainer Elnian Gilbert. Merchants engaged in a taste workshop with Brooklyn’s own affineurs, Crown Finish Caves and propelled sales with an overview on how to run a successful promotion with Hunter Fike of Di Bruno Bros. These topics were designed both for both newer, younger grocers with one location and more established independent retail institutions always eager to learn.

Merchants Alliance Members at all levels received complimentary tickets (Supporter – 1, Sustainer – 2, Collaborative – 3). The Alliance is a nationwide network of independent retailers building a better food system that gather yearly at the Good Food Foundation events (Awards Weekend, 3 Mercantiles and Summit). Interested in joining in time for the next Summit? Peruse the application here and email with any questions.

2019 Schedule

8:30-9 AM
Breakfast & Introductions
Smoked Lox and Whitefish by Acme Smoked Fish, Bagels by Zucker’s Bagels, Smoked Trout Roe by Regalis and Coffee from Champion Coffee

9-9:50 AM
Breakout Track 1: Technology and Data

Online Retail, Delivery and More: What’s On The Horizon for Tech + Grocery?
Mike Lee, Alpha Food Labs

Making Data Work for You: What to Collect, How to Collect It & How to Use It
John Boyle, Market of Choice and Beau Vondra, Look’s Market

10-10:30 AM: Taste the Borough
Taste the Borough: A Cheese Workshop with Crown Finish Caves & Friends
Caroline Hesse (Crown Finish Caves), Bruno Griti (Quattro Portoni) and Debra Dickerson (Tomales Bay Foods/Cowgirl Creamery)

10:40-11:30 AM
Breakout Track 2: Department of People

Engagement Through Open Book Finance: Getting Mini Games Going
Elnian Gilbert, ZingTrain

Is Your Team Running for Maximum Traction and Growth?
Shivani York, Entrepreneurial Operating System Implementer and Founder of BrandPartner Group
This is an interactive presentation that runs from 10:40 AM to 12:30 PM

11:40 AM-12:30 PM
Breakout Track 3: Finance

Building a Successful Financial Relationship: The Right Money, Right People and Right Structure
Eric de Valpine, Foodshed Investors does a Special Interview with Mike Koch, FireFly Farms

A Case Study of the Cheese Case: Deep Dive into Running a Successful Promotion
Hunter Fike, Di Bruno Bros.

2019 Speaker Bios

John Boyle is currently the Executive Vice President of Products and Merchandising for Market of Choice located in Oregon.  He has over 30 years of experience in grocery retail with an emphasis on independent specialty and natural organic grocery. John says, “I love being part of the regional food economy and have a passion for helping craft producers realize their full potential.”

Eric de Valpine is a Partner at Foodshed Investors in Austin, TX, a group dedicated to supporting sustainable food and agriculture entrepreneurs nationwide. He has over 20 years experience working with small to medium sized businesses across a range of industries. Since 2015 Foodshed Investors has enabled over $3,000,000 dollars to companies dedicated to increasing the supply of good clean fair food.

Hunter Fike
serves as Cheese Buyer and Category manager for Di Bruno Bros, a specialty retailer with five stores in Philadelphia. His approach to category management combines gut feel with accepted industry best practices. He has presented his methods of category management at conferences for the Fancy Food Show, Good Food Foundation, and American Cheese Society.

Elnian Gilbert is a Keynote Speaker and Trainer for ZingTrain, part of Zingerman’s Community of Business in Ann Arbor, MI.  Elnian spends her time teaching practical, down-to-earth business systems around customer service, training and open book management using humor and plenty of real-world stories from Zingerman’s and clients alike – a recent workshop participant said, “I was never disinterested or bored!”

Danielle Gould is the founder and CEO of Food+Tech Connect, the site of record and community for the food tech sector. She works with companies of all sizes to understand how technology, collaboration and innovative business and investment models can be used to create a food future that’s better for people, profit and the planet.

Mike Koch co-founded FireFly Farms in 2002. The award winning cheese maker is dedicated to locally sourced dairy, hand made products with no preservatives, sustainable practices, and creating value for the local farming community and the economy of Western Maryland. FireFly Farms is a proud member of the Maryland Cheese Guild and the American Cheese Society.

Mike Lee is the founder of The Future Market, a futurist food lab that explores what our food system could look like in the next 5-25 years, through experiences and concept products. Mike is also co-founder of Alpha Food Labs, a food innovation company that helps companies create strategies and products that are better for people, planet, and profit.

Beau Vondra is the manager/partner and head of product procurement for Look’s Market in Sioux Falls, SD. He is passionate about food, the culture surrounding it, and the quest for knowledge. He strives to continue to grow the food community in Sioux Falls to become more collaborative and forward thinking.

Shivani York has been helping entrepreneurs and their leadership teams succeed for over a decade, with proven successes turning multiple businesses around to growth and scale, as a CEO, COO, CInO and Advisor. In her interactive presentation, Shivani will introduce you to the Six Key Components of successful businesses and arm you with a set of simple, practical tools you and your leadership team can begin using right away to get better results and gain traction.