Hella Cocktail Co-Founder, CEO Elected to SFA’s Board

Julie Gallagher | 1 Jul 2021

Jomaree Pinkard, CEO and co-founder of Hella Cocktail will join the Specialty Food Association’s Board as a director serving a three-year term, announced Board Chairman Charlie Apt, who is president and COO of Sarabeth’s Kitchen, during the SFA’s annual member meeting, Wednesday.

“We have undertaken a lot of work to make our Board more inclusive, and the Governance Committee used a rigorous process to develop the SFA’s Board of Directors including reviewing nomination forms from scores of SFA members, interviewing candidates to ascertain their skills and interests, and presenting a slate that represents all classifications of members, new and established companies, and is a reflection of our diverse membership,” said Apt.

SFA Board officers serve one-year terms. The directors serve for three years with staggered terms. The following Board members will be serving the membership:

Charlie Apt, Sarabeth’s Kitchen (maker) – Chair

Nona Lim, Nona Lim (maker) – Vice Chair

Jon Pruden, TASTE (buyer) – Treasurer

Julie Busha, Slawsa (maker) – Secretary

Pierre Abushacra, Firehook Bakery (maker)

Jill Giacomini Basch, Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese Co. (maker)

Beth Haley, DPI Specialty Foods (distributor)

Sana Javeri Kadri, Diaspora Co. (maker)

Mark Kroencke, KeHE Distributors LLC (distributor)

Tyler Lowell, C.A. Fortune (broker)

Sarah Masoni, Oregon State University Food Innovation Center (affiliate)

Emilio Mignucci, DiBruno Bros. (buyer)

Jomaree Pinkard, Hella Cocktail (maker)

Sarah Wallace, The Good Bean Inc. (maker)

Lee Zalben, Peanut Butter & Co. (maker)

Every year, SFA members will have an opportunity to put their name in for a Board position and/or vote on the slate of candidates, given the staggered Board terms and term limits, said Apt.

The SFA has other volunteer opportunities that focus on specific areas of the business, said Laura Lozada, SFA’s vice president of membership. They include the Distributor, Governance, Investment, and Membership Committees. There are also Industry Working Groups focused on Preparedness, Community, Events, Digital Strategy, and Member Recognition.

“As we move all of this exciting volunteer work forward, we will create opportunities for even more members to engage with these groups to not only learn more about how the work is progressing, but to also have a say in that work by providing feedback to ensure that the outcomes reflect what the members need,” said Lozada.

SFA President Bill Lynch spoke about Fancy Food Show 2021, which will take place September 27-29 at the Javits Center in New York City and announced dates for the Winter Fancy Food Show which will take place January 16-18, 2022 at the Moscone Center in San Francisco. The Summer Fancy Food Show will return to its typical June pattern next year.

“Not only do we as staff and Board miss the shows, but we have also heard from so many of you about how anxious you are to get back to face-to-face at the Fancy Food Shows,” Lynch said. 

The Javits Center has achieved the highest level of health safety with a GBAC certification, which is only granted to a handful of convention centers by the Global Biorisk Advisory Council, according to Lynch.

The convention center is now operating at full capacity and vaccinated individuals will not have to a wear a mask inside, while unvaccinated individuals are still asked to wear a mask. Product sampling will be permitted at the show but there are some guidelines listed on specialtyfood.com that exhibitors should follow, he said.

“The beauty of getting back to in-person events is the engagement between makers and buyers and an important component of that is being able to sample products,” said Lynch.

Taking place alongside the Fancy Food Show in September will be a digital component called Fancy Food 24/7. Running September 27-October 8, the digital component of Fancy Food Show 2021 provides access to exhibitors from around the world; education programming, and Main Stage educational events, October 4-8.

Lynch said that since the start of the pandemic, the SFA has provided its member community with new ways to engage and make new connections for their business.

“We launched the virtual event series called Specialty Food LIVE! and at over three events so far, have had over 1,000 maker members participate, over 5,000 buyers attended, and we made over 32,000 connections between makers and buyers,” said Lynch. “Not to mention the tasting programs we ran alongside some of those events that created additional focused engagement in a private setting between makers and buyers.”

Over the last year, the SFA has also produced more than 70 webinars and had over 9,000 interactions from community engaged in that content.

In addition, it has launched Infinite Aisle. “Over 600 of our maker members are on the platform and we just surpassed 2,500 products on the platform for buyers to purchase,” he said. “We added this program to your membership at no additional costs other than some time for you to upload your products.”

When a retail buyer purchases maker products through a distributor on Infinite Aisle, the products are shipped directly from the maker to the retailer at no cost to the maker. Because distributors don’t have to warehouse these items, there’s no limit to how many Infinite Aisle products they can offer to their retail customers.

More than 8,000 retailers have connected to the platform, including 4,000 retailers from Associated Grocers, 1,000 from Chex Finer Foods, and 3,500 from C&S Davidson, Lynch said.

Related: Specialty Food Makers ‘Stock’ SFA’s Infinite Aisle; SFA Adds Digital Component to Fancy Food Show.

Image: Hella Cocktail Co.