Specialty Food Magazine

JAN-FEB 2012

Specialty Food Magazine is the leading publication for retailers, manufacturers and foodservice professionals in the specialty food trade. It provides news, trends and business-building insights that help readers keep their businesses competitive.

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Page 6 of 159

FROM THE PUBLISHER A Short Life but an Enduring Legacy L ike many of you, I was shocked to hear of the car accident that resulted in the death of Taylor Griffin and the serious injuries of Carrie Davenport, both of importer Rogers International. I will not pre- tend that I knew Taylor well, but as a member of the specialty food com- munity, his death hit close to home. In my case, it was physically close to home as well; Taylor, Carrie and I all live within about 20 miles of each other in Maine. Despite the close proximity of our homes, I saw Taylor most often at Fancy Food Shows where he would be standing in his booth with a big you've-got-to-try-this grin on his face as he held out some interesting new product. Though Taylor arrived in spe- cialty foods by way of stints at KPMG and AIG, he had an affin- ity for the unique and a true storyteller's gift of putting your mind in the place, and with the people, that created the product you were about to taste. Other trades often have enough redundancy built into the structure that if someone departs or passes away you Taylor had a true storyteller's gift of putting your mind in the place, and with the people, that created the product you were about to taste. recognize the loss, but it's not long before you are picking up right where you left off with the new guy. Business goes on as usual, but the human element behind the initiatives is lost. In our industry, however, that human component is our greatest strength: So much of our business is based on our faith in the people behind the products. And at Rogers, Taylor's legacy lives on. Carrie Davenport, the company's general manager who is still recovering from the injuries she suffered in the ac- cident, talked to me about that legacy. "For us, the product has to be fabulous, the highest quality, but what is also important is what makes it special beyond the taste," Carrie says. "A lot of the producers we work with are family companies and the recipes and techniques have been passed down through generations. It is these stories that are embedded in the products and make them so unique. For example, we import a prosciutto from Parma that's cured in a building that was specially designed to capture the breeze that blows from the mountains down to the plains. Why? Because the present-day owner learned from his father, and his father from his grandfather, that this breeze and the distinct microclimate is what make Prosciutto di Parma special. We try to convey these stories to our customers so they understand the specialness of what we're offering." We all sometimes wonder what we will leave behind when we pass. From a business perspective, there's no more fitting tribute to Taylor than Carrie's words. He won't be at the booth in San Francisco, but he's still there. |SFM| By Matt Tomas HAVE A COMMENT? Go to specialtyfood.com/mthomas/taylorgriffin Publisher, Specialty Food Magazine mthomas@nasft.org facebook.com/specialtyfoodmedia JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2012 5

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