I believe a person ought to be honored for the assistance and ideology they offer our industry. Trade Associations often give out such awards. Our magazine recognizes these people as well every December in our “People of the Year Issue.” One man I didn’t get a chance to honor was Bob San Filippo, who suddenly and peacefully died the day after Thanksgiving. Bob was an icon who helped numerous people enter the coffee and tea industry in all segments of the market such as foodservice, OCS, and convenience stores. His knowledge and understanding of the coffee and tea industries could fill book volumes. Bob was well known throughout the coffee industry for his feisty spirit and for his unwavering sense of independence.
He was a past president of the New York Coffee Roasters Association and served for decades on the board of directors for the U.S. Tea Association and National Coffee Association of the USA. He was a fair man to his clients, competitors and suppliers.
Bob was widely respected as a strong believer in the sales potential of iced coffee and he blamed the Coffee Bureau for its failure to promote it properly.
“Everyone loves a good cup of coffee,” he contended, “so there must be something wrong with a salesman who can’t sell it.”
When I was a youngster at this magazine, barely out of college and trying to appear professional and savvy in my 4-inch acrylic heels at an industry cocktail party, Bob would bellow out to the crowd of chief executive officers and company presidents “Here’s Janeeeeeeeeeeee!” He answered my industry questions deliberately and truthfully and never minced words.
My condolences to his family. For more obituary information, see page 100.
On a much happier note, I’d like to thank Howard Schultz for the time he took to be interviewed in this issue and update us on Starbucks’ global plans. Howard, you made very happy by telling us that you “have found the Tea & Coffee Trade Journal to be a valuable resource on the industry over the years.” Can I trade you a subscription for a few shares of stock?
Editor & Co-Publisher