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October 2000
By The Editors

SPECIAL REPORT: 3rd Annual Supplies Awards
Sixty truly new supplies items made the first cut to become finalists. When the scores were in, 17 winners emerged. Here, the winners and notables in our third annual competition.

Americans love competition, and we love winners. (Who but an American—or maybe an East German swim team—would put up with Bobby Knight so long?) So when we put out the invitations for our Third Annual Supplies Competition, the responses began coming almost immediately.

btrge Judges
Sue Becker, regional food manager in Chicago for the Seattle-based Briazz chain, was trained as a chef at the Culinary Institute of America. Becker has had a 20-year career working for hotels, clubs, gourmet retail stores and a major Chicago supermarket chain. At the 38-unit Briazz, Becker is responsible for new product development and cost improvements.
Doug Hawthorne, v.p. of corporate dining services for Bank One Corp., Chicago, is responsible for the contractual relationships for 31 employee cafes and 13 c-stores throughout 13 states. A hotel and restaurant management grad, Hawthorne’s previous experience includes 10 years with Saga Corp., three years with the self-operated foodservice of S&C Electric Co. and three years with Aramark.
Anne McCabe, CFSP, is a 13-year veteran of the Milwaukee-based Boelter Cos. As manager of new customer development, McCabe establishes new territories in the Chicago market, preparing them for a full year before handing them off to new sales reps. McCabe sells Boelter’s full line of equipment, supplies, paper goods and smallwares. She has won several tabletop design awards.
Richard Suwanski has been Edward Don & Co.’s national account manager for the past eight years. A career smallwares and equipment specialist, Suwanski has been with the North Riverside, Ill., distributor for 34 years. Prior to his current position overseeing national chain accounts, Suwanski headed up all operations and distribution functions, then became a regional sales manager.
John Sweeney’s an indisputable smallwares expert, having served since 1979 with a regional smallwares division of The Wasser-strom Co. He is currently an account manager in charge of smallwares sales in the Columbus, Ohio, region. Sweeney’s clients include independents, hotels, country clubs, healthcare and school accounts and Ohio State University foodservices.
Rules were simple. Like 1999’s event, last year's was set up for two categories: First, smallwares, which we defined as back-of-house tools, mainly hand-held, possibly battery powered but without motors. And second, the tabletop/servingware group, which seemed straightforward enough. Neither category included disposables/consumables. Everything had to be reusable.

Beyond that, eligibility was simple. Any product meeting the category definitions and introduced to the market after the May 1999 National Restaurant Association Show was eligible. That kept everything pretty new, less than about 14 months on the market.

Let The Festivities Begin
And so the packages began coming. In what’s become the annual dance around here, the UPS and FedEx guys were bumping into each other coming and going as the boxes stacked higher and higher. Our reception area became a receiving area. The Gill Ashton Publishing office—a comfy yet functional pad most of the time—was stuffed.

By the time the delivery trucks stopped, upwards of 70 entries had arrived for the two categories. The editors analyzed the lot and pared the group to 60.

Meanwhile, we set about assembling our judging panel. As always, we sought a balance of multiunit operators with hands-on experience and dealer/distributor folks with a special focus on smallwares and tabletop/servingware.

Say, Is That A Powdered Wig?
On the operator side, we enticed two experienced hands—Sue Becker, C.I.A.-trained chef and regional food manager in Chicago for the Seattle-based Briazz chain, and multiunit business and industry guru Doug Hawthorne of Bank One Dining Services. Representing the dealers, three seasoned smallwares and tabletop pros answered the call: Award-winning tabletop designer Anne McCabe of The Boelter Cos., national accounts manager Richard Suwanski of Edward Don & Co., and smallwares specialist John Sweeney of The Wasserstrom Co. (Their brief yet substantial bios appear below.)

On Aug. 29, 2000, judging commenced in the main conference room at Edward Don & Co. in North Riverside, Ill. The stories that follow detail the 17 big winners and 43 others that made it to the finalist round….

Fresh Thinking Marks Smallwares Winners

New Shapes, Cool Colors Woo The Judges

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