Mark Kassa | Heartland Marketplace/ Slight Return Band
“Auday is a great guy, who listens to suggestions and is very open.  AFPD hears people, which is key.  If you have a question or suggestion, they listen and try to do something about it.”
Dave Hilderbrand | Sterling One Stop & Sterling Crossing
“ It’s unbelievable what AFPD has been able to do.  They’ve done a lot for us but just the CATax alone is the difference between making money and losing money.  And now, with what they’re trying to do for us with the cigarette and tobacco tax is another battle we’re fighting to try to keep it down  where things are semi-affordable for the normal wiring Joe!”
George Sorisho | Mini Mart Specialty Meats
“I strongly recumbent AFPD to anyone whose business fits the AFPD criteria.  They are our eyes and ears in Lansing. They keep us current with laws and legislation.  Many rebate programs for members can add up quickly.”
Mike Sarafa | Bank of Michigan
“We have a very strong working relationship and alliance with AFPD.  We serve many of the same customers/members, and we’re working very closely together to make sure Money Service Businesses have fair access to financial services.”
Jake Mio | Park Place Fine Wine & Spirits
"I believe in supporting AFPD.  I love to read the Bottom Line and find out what’s going on in the industry and what new products are available.  The rebate programs are also beneficial.”
Carl Hakim | Market Basket
"Since we had our stores in Detroit, it was the thing to do. All store owners understood the value AFPD brought for a grocery store. Today at Market Basket of Franklin, the Nestle rebate program is great for us. Also, the DTE program is our best saver – we receive free pull-down shields to cover our dairy and produce – it, has helped our refrigeration and, has allowed us to save money on electricity costs.”
Mario Shoman | Hayden Food Plus
“We get better deals thanks to AFPD. We get the rebates with the coupons, and we can send them directly to them instead of sending to each manufacturer. It’s easy to send them to one place, and that is it. That really helps us save a lot of time.  They also help us with the Dairymens Milk Company, and we get the special price, too. That is very nice.”
Tracy Stanton | Former gas station owner
"It's important to have oil lobbyists on your side, and AFPD provides that.  If you have a problem, there was always something that AFPD could do.  They gave us strength in numbers when dealing with oil companies."
Sam Shina | Banner Supermarket
"We take advantage of a lot of the beverage and meat programs AFPD provides.  They make us stronger.  Without these programs, as a single operator, you have no voice, but when AFPD negotiates for you, now you're a voice of thousands."
Rich Eid | Rich's Mini Mart
"AFPD keeps me informed of all the latest news and updates with the government issues and we get rebates from all the vendors.  They keep us up to speed on the latest regulations and keep us informed with just about everything.  And if we have any issues we call them and they are right there to answer us right away.  That's is what is good about it."
David Fienman | E&L Supermercado
"As a member, we receive better prices on wholesale pricing.  AFPD allows me to buy more and sell more product every quarter.  I also receive a rebate check from AFPD each quarter."
Terry Burns | Michigan Auto Dealers Association, Executive Director
"There is a need for everyone in a specific industry to work together for a common goal to implement change in the common scheme.  It's much easier to do this in a group, as opposed to sitting on the sidelines and allowing one peorson to take the lead while you reap the benefits.  It's very important for you to be a part of the group, be a team player, and be a member of that organization – especially in this industry.  Membership in the association provides networking opportunities."
Terry Farida | Value Center Market(s)
"AFPD is constantly fighting for retailer rights.  They have a voice in Lansing and are there for any questions or peoblems retailers might have."
Frank Ayar | Walters Shopping Place
"It's very important to be part of the industry you serve.  AFPD is an important organization, and being part of a great team gives us the voice to fight for what we believe in, and the power to know we are being treated fairly.  Unity is strength, and the more members we have, the stronger we become."
Hessam Lahoud | Airport Convenience Food Mart
"AFPD is a good organization, I've been with them for 8 years.  They have a lot of programs for many businesses, and we're able to use the coupon program and get discounts from various vendors.  Most people who take advantage of the programs end up coming back and using them for different things."
Jacob Garm | Lavish Vodka Cocktail
"My dad has been a member of AFPD for a very long time.  All of his stores are members, and it's a great organization.  I feel its programs will be very helpful to its members as the organization keeps growing."
Mark Garmo | Village Food Market
"I don't think people take enough advantage of the new programs AFPD offers.  The organization is all about the people now, which is different than it was many years ago."
Nash Pattah | Savon Foods Supermarket
"Before, AFPD was all about donations.  After Auday (arabo) took over (as President) though, the programs and organization improved tremendously.  It's all about helping the people and not just asking your members for donations."
Eirmyas Tesfamariam | Blue Whale (Formerly Morse and Cleveland Shell)
"We have benefited a lot from AFPD, they have helped us out in many ways.  We use the coupon program a lot, and we use the insurance program"
Basil Konja | Easy Pick Market
"I had heard a lot of great things about them and decided to get involved.  I am glad I did, and I plan to continue supporting them.  I think AFPD is an excellent organization.  They've not only helped me through their programs, but they've also helped me with some legal issues.  These are just some of the reasons why i'll continue supporting them."
Nick Kizi | Family Fair Supermarket
"The programs they have right now with the rebates and the different things you can get from many vendors help us out a lot. We're getting rebates from Sherwood, D&B Grocers, and others; there's quite a few companies we are getting rebates from that we never did before, and we're dealing with them now because of the rebates."
Jim Cicorelli | Frank's Food Mart, Potterville MI
"AFPD is very instrumental in trying to partner with vendors in trying to get better protection on pricing in as many ways as they can."
Johnny Karmo | Market Square, Birmingham MI
"AFPD is a great association; if you need health insurance you can get it from them.  They also do a lot of networking and I have found business that I can deal with through them.  I suggest that every small business join them.  They help more that other associations; joining definitely wouldn't hurt."
Mike George | George Enterprises
"AFPD truly represents its members well.  Auday does a magnificent job in following through with all the needs of retailers and having created a highly respected organization, and one of the most active.  They are working hard and they they involve their members."
Shirad Thakar | Pro Sam Unlimited, Lodi OH
"We always call AFPD with whatever problems we may have and they always solve it.  They work very hard.  They always call me and let me know what's going on and what changes are coming, so it's very helpful."
Dennis Pohl | Pohl's MArket, Farwell MI
"The AFPD Bottom Line magazine is a great publication to see whats going on in the industry.  We try to keep up with all the trends."
Steve Ali | Xtreme Proformance, Cleveland OH
"AFPD is a great organization - no doubt about it.  It's worth every penny.  Even if you don't participate in every program that they have - and they have a ton of them  - you're going to get your money's worth.  It's a great value."
Sam Jabro | Food Town Supermarket MI/OH
"I think AFPD is doing a great job in representing the small retailers that don't have a voice out there.  They're always a step ahead working on ventures to bring discounts to retailers and informing them of all the things that are going on in the marketplace."
Haitham Sitto | Sitto Signs
"We would like to continue to grow with AFPD.  I can't imagine any business not needing a sign, and AFPD represents businesses.  They are an amazing organization and they're good to work with."
John Busch | Busch's Fresh Food Markets
"AFPD is a valuable resource for retail businesses.  As a member, we have been kept abreast of government and industry relations that impact our business, both now and in the future.  AFPD also serves by answering our questions and educating our team on new regulations and guidelines."
Namir Garmo | Shoppers Valley Market, Wyandotte MI
"AFPD has been there to help us in many ways, They were instrumental in leveling the playing field as a number of gas stations started opening up nearby.  Now you have the dollar stores carrying eggs and milk, so it's been a difficult time, but AFPD has been there to help us through all of it.  They also provide legal representation for stores that can't afford it, and they keep us informed on what's going on in the industry and what to look for in the future."
Ken Hebert | Coca-Cola
"I look forward to building my relationship with Auday and the other board members and being part of such an important association that gives back to the community we serve."
Clifton Denha | Wine Palace, Livonia MI
"There are a lot of cynics out there that say AFPD doesn't do much for the average member, and I'm here to tell them that they do.  I am on the inside, I know what they do.  People don't realize what goes on behind the scenes, so I tell a lot of people about the work AFPD is doing and what a fantastic job Auday Arabo is doing as President & CEO."
Earl Ishbia | Sherwood Food Distributors
"I feel that the AFPD organization is a great way to bring together people in the industry for exchanges of ideas and concepts, and it's a great way to meet people through AFPD's various functions and events."
Scott Trudeau | AFPD Foundation scholarship winner
"The scholarship very definitely was welcome.  It was of great assistance for geting me through my undergraduate years.  It helped me get off to a good start!"
Nabby Yono | ACC
"I still serve with AFPD on the Foundation Board, so I can bring my connections with the outside world to build a better connection with AFPD, and all of those dealings with corporate America in my time with AFPD have helped me in my role today at ACC."
Nick Sulaka | Nick's Chips
"We were able to pick up some stores at the AFPD show in April, and it's just a good thing to be out there with people who are related to our business and for the people to get more familiar with our brand.  AFPD has been a great help to market our brand."
Calvin Pattah | Food Pride, Detroit MI
"AFPD helps us have a larger voice in the government as it relates to the food industry.  We have connections with many city leaders and hopefully that helps us compete with the big businesses that are moving into Detroit because of tax incentives."
Sam Taha | Mini Mart, Cleveland OH
"According to AFPD we are their biggest member on the Dairymens rebate program.  The coupon program is also a big help to us, and the rebate for a preferred wholesaler company makes a big difference to us because, as a small independent store competing with other chains, it puts us on the same level playing field."
Jeff Anusbigian | Westborn Market
“Quite honestly, AFPD does such a fine job meeting our needs. What I love the most is that when we have a question, they are always ready to answer it or get back to us very quickly.”
Thom Lipari | Lipari Foods
“AFPD membership continues to be valuable as a way to stay in tune with the needs of our customers. My father’s big thing was ‘always take care of the customer.’ Membership in a strong association is important because of the strength in numbers it offers to its members.”
Ed Rutowski | Walker Street Pharmacy
Rutowski was happy that Michigan’s bottle bill is on AFPD’s 2013 focus list. “We’ve recycled bottles for so long, it’s worked into our system, but it’s a nightmare I’d rather not deal with,” “I’d love to see it replaced with a recycling program outside the stores.”
Jim Nader | Plumb's Inc.
“I like what AFPD is doing,” “They are very strong in helping the community and working on retailers’ issues."
Clarence Cardwell: IGA Express Stores
Cardwell says the Ohio CAT tax is the biggest issue facing gasoline retailers. “This tax must be moved to the rack to create an even playing field,” “I credit AFPD with working tirelessly to make state government aware of this issue.”
Ron Baxter | Great North Foods
“AFPD sources things we don’t, like insurance, and that gives us an opportunity to present those resources and services to new customers.”
Bill Hillman | HT Hackney
“Taking part in AFPD events like the trade show and annual dinner gives us opportunities to contact both current and potential customers, and most importantly – thank them for their valuable business”.
Gary Gerlach | Orchard Markets
“AFPD is a good organization, very community focused,”  “The biggest benefit is the government relations interface. They lobby for all of us and work for our rights on issues like federal and state taxes,” “AFPD was behind the initiative to spread food stamps out across the month, which has been very helpful, and they are working hard on the bottle recycling issue, which is painful and expensive for retailers to maintain. We couldn’t do it alone.”
Ed Bahoura | Save-A-Lot
“AFPD does a really good job at keeping us abreast of big issues for retailers. Item pricing, for example, saved us a ton of money, and AFPD also helped get rid of Michigan’s MBT tax,” “AFPD is truly the voice of our industry!”
Mike Ensing | Van Ball's Prime Beef
“Even though we’re not affected by the meat labeling law because we’re small and everything comes directly from the farmer, we rely on the information AFPD provides and how much they try to help small businesses,” “We appreciate the programs, too, but the way they work to keep us updated and protect us from taxes and regulations is the most important.”
Roger Newberry | Monster Energy
Newberry especially likes working with independent retailers, he says, because that’s where you can build your brand quickly and effectively. “Working through AFPD makes that even more effective, because independents are especially strong in Michigan and Ohio.”
Scott Ellis | Nestle DSD
“First, the AFPD program provides a great link to bringing together Nestle Direct Store Delivery with potential new retailers and customers who would like to sell Nestle frozen food that otherwise we may never have come in contact with. Second, the AFPD program allows Nestle to develop specific promotions for AFPD retailers to help drive business.  Best of all, This is accomplished while developing great relationships with both the staff and members of AFPD."
Justin Hiller | Hiller's Markets, MI
“AFPD has been a wonderful resource for Hiller's by ensuring we stay current with industry relevant legislation."

"AFPD has also connected us with other wholesalers outside of our normal channels, helping us to streamline services and goods we offer to consumers."

Jim Wall | Johnson Oil, Gaylord MI
“AFPD is really good about mailing us promotional posters and other helpful information.  The coupon redemption program has been especially good for our stores."

Cindi Quinn-Ventura | DTE Energy Supply
“Our partnership with AFPD has been vey intimate and very beneficial for both of us.  It's a true partnership."

"We piggyback on new members, AFPD sells our product, and we sell theirs.  There's a lot of team selling there, if you will. I didn't expect that, to be honest. It's quite unusual to have an association work that hard for a supplier."

Elizabeth Kaczan | Waters Edge Market, Kewadin MI
“AFPD helps me. I was initially attracted by the Chase Paymentech program, but truly appreciate the association's expertise and information. I've found so much info in the Bottom Line publication that is useful, or helpful, and that has taught us something to pay attention to."  "The magazine has been fabulous; it's totally saved me a few times."

Joe Bellino, Jr. | Broadway Market, Monroe MI
“If we work together as one voice, we are a lot louder than we are alone.”

Pat LaVecchia | Pat's Auto Service, Rocky River OH
“There is strength in numbers and higher membership makes a good impression. Legislators and lobbyists will listen to an organization with 4,000 members.”

John Denha | 8 Mile Foodland, Southfield MI
“This is my industry and AFPD serves this industry. I like being part of a successful organization and being involved in change and influencing new laws.” 

“Without AFPD, who will fight for the retailer in Michigan and Ohio? AFPD is the voice for all retailers, and more numbers means a stronger voice. If more of us support AFPD and keep it successful, we will be able to fight more effectively.”

Paul Elhindi | Lyndhurst Valero, Lyndhurst OH
“I believe in the effectiveness and spirit of the staff and members of this organization. I recommend that all members read the AFPD mission statement to get a sense of how important it is for everyone to promote membership.”

Al Chittaro | Faygo Beverages, Detroit MI
“AFPD is the voice of the food and beverage industry, and by working together, we can continue to promote food and beverage initiatives.”

Bobby Hesano | D&B Grocers Wholesale, Livonia MI
“AFPD did a great job on the food stamp initiative in 2010, and I’m grateful for that. However, we’re not done, and more than the next couple of years, I want to see payments released to food stamp recipients bimonthly.”

“As one strong voice, we can support initiatives that will enable us to compete with national chains such as Walmart, Kroger, and 7-Eleven or fight legislation that will hurt us.”

Najib Atisha | Indian Village Market, Detroit MI
“There is strength in numbers, and the more members AFPD has, the more we can get accomplished.”

Jerry Crete | Ideal Party Store, Bay City MI
“I volunteer because the association helps shape the direction of the industry and also benefits my business.”

“We should continue to educate our members on the benefits of membership so that they take advantage of our programs. We are all small business owners with common goals and we all compete against the bigger businesses. Binding together in AFPD makes us more competitive against them.”

Phil Kassa | Hearland Marketplace, Farmington Hills MI
“It’s rewarding to be part of an organization that is trying to pool resources to compete with the chain stores, such as the programs that have been endorsed by our committees. They help bring in savings with companies that otherwise would never have been presented.” “With more voices comes more success, because the stronger in numbers and participation in our organization, the more viable we become with politicians in our states to bring about positive legislation for our industry, as well as having more leverage in the vendor community to help make us more competitive and profitable.”

Frank Ayar | Walter's Shopping Place, Hamtramck MI
“It’s very important to be part of the industry you serve. AFPD is an important organization and being part of a great team gives us the voice to fight for what we believe in and the power to know we are being treated fairly.”

“Unity is our strength, and the more members we have, the stronger we become.”

Jim Garmo | Shoppers Valley Market
“This industry is in my blood, and I want to serve it to give back what it has brought me.”

“I learned the business from others who were successful and being on the board gives me a chance to communicate how to better serve the industry—as well as make more money—to those who don’t yet know how. It’s important to hand our knowledge over to those who are new or are taking over a family business.  We need to ask them what their most important issues are and help them understand the return on investment they can realize through AFPD’s programs, which save them money through better group pricing on everything they buy and all of their business expenses.”  “If people know what AFPD is fighting for, they will want to be part of it. And if we work together, we can raise our industry to the next level.”

Gary Davis | Prairie Farms Dairy, Oak Park MI
“It is important to give back to our great industry by doing everything possible to improve the overall well-being of AFPD members.”

“There is strength in numbers. In 2011, the retail environment will change very quickly, and it is critical that AFPD grows stronger in every aspect of our businesses.”

Dave Freitag | Yorkshire Tire & Auto, Bellevue OH
“The industry has been good to me, and I want to help others have the same success.” “United we stand, divided we fall. Our industry is only as good as the weakest link, so stronger members mean a stronger industry.”

Mike Koza | High Pointe Oil, Novi MI
“As AFPD gains more members, we become stronger, and this results in more legislators listening to our voice regarding issues that affect our businesses.”

Jim Mandas | Broadway Markey & Cafe, Columbus OH
“It’s important, especially for new people, to become members even though it may initially be hard for them to see that the advantages outweigh the fee. I’m very glad I joined because I’m saving money and getting good ideas for my business.”

Bill Michailidis | Delaware Market & Cafe, Delaware OH
“I encourage AFPD members to aggressively promote membership to make a greater impact on local and national political leaders. With more PAC money, we can achieve more favorable legislation for our members.”

Joe Nashar | Grand River & Halstead Shell, Farmington MI
“I serve on the board to help out where I can, stay involved, and be a part of the success of our industry.”

“We need to promote membership so that the AFPD can prosper, and so that retailers are on the same page. Membership makes us stronger.”

Brian Yaldoo | Hills Fine Wine & Spirits, West Bloomfield MI
“The community needs people with retail experience who can bring good ideas forward and keep retailers apprised of what’s going on in the marketplace.”

“More members will make us stronger as a group. That will increase our buying power to offer more discounts and will give us a stronger voice in Lansing, Columbus, and Washington.”

“AFPD membership comes at a minimal cost for benefits that can help your business achieve greater goals.”

Marvin Yono | Alpine Marketplace, Linden MI
“AFPD is the strongest organization we have in the area to help independent food retailers compete and level the playing field against our corporate competitors as well as having our voices heard in government.”

“Promoting membership to AFPD makes the organization stronger, which generates more influence in the marketplace as well as with the government. As retailers, we can accomplish a great deal more as a team than as individuals.”

Percy Wells, II  | Coca-Cola Refreshments, Belleville MI
“It is vitally important for everyone to promote membership to AFPD so that the association can continue to provide great services to its members. This will enable them to serve as a cornerstone within their communities.”

Harold McGovern | National Wine & Spirits, Brownstown MI
“With size, comes scale, and scale can drive impact both commercially and politically. That’s why membership is so important.”

Vickie Hobbs | Whitehall Shell, Columbbus OH
“It is important to be involved in what is happening in the gasoline and convenience store industry. AFPD is always on the cutting edge of what is going on, as well as the issues that arrive daily.”

“It’s important to promote AFPD because it is such a wonderful organization for people in our industry to become a part of so they can receive all the benefits that are available to them.”

Jim Hooks | Metro Foodland, Detroit MI
“By increasing membership, AFPD can improve the perception of supermarkets in the area. Metro-Detroit is perceived as a food desert, but we have some of the best supermarkets anywhere.”

Fred Dally | Medicine Chest, Detroit MI
“Especially in this difficult economy and with so many regulations, we need to have people who can speak for our industry and fight for our causes.”

“I want AFPD’s base to be wider because new members mean a larger organization and a stronger voice - which enables organizations like AFPD to affect what happens in local, state, and federal government - and a strong voice depends on building a good, solid base.

Ronnie Jamil | Bella Vino Wine, Farmington Hills MI
“Not everyone realizes how important AFPD is or how it benefits their business.”

“There are many intangible assets for each member’s business from work AFPD does behind the scenes in Lansing, Columbus, and Washington on issues that affect all of us. As we gain more members, our voice becomes stronger.”

Chris Zebari | Lipari Foods, Warren MI
“My father said, ‘You have no right to complain unless you are involved in making it better.’ It’s been important to me to continue to make things better for people coming behind us.”

“Continued growth will make our membership programs stronger. Without membership in organizations like AFPD, small business does not have a voice. There is strength in numbers, and when we are strong we can successfully work for the common good.”

Sam Shoukri | Showerman's Fine wine & Liquor, Livonia MI
“The strength and success of any organization, whether it is for profit or non-profit, can be measured and judged by its accomplishments and the number of members it serves.”

“AFPD has worked tirelessly over the years to protect the rights and interests of independent retailers. “These accomplishments have made a positive impact on many business owners, whether or not they are members and, by encouraging and promoting membership, AFPD will be a stronger and more powerful organization.”

Thomas Welch | Hollywood Super Markets, Troy MI
“AFPD has a large impact on the industry and on my family business. Having input on decision making in Lansing and Washington is essential. We need to be a strong voice of the industry to survive.”

Clifton Pattah | Food Pride Super Market, Detroit MI
“I want to see AFPD grow its membership so that we have more clout in lobbying for favorable legislation. We need to promote membership so that the AFPD can be a strong voice in speaking for independent retailers.”

Mike Quinn | Pepsi Beverages, Howell MI
“AFPD, as an organization is a good corporate citizen that gives back to the people of this community.”

“I expect AFPD to continue to lead the political fight for issues that involve building a stronger business climate and hope everyone promotes membership because AFPD’s consolidated voice for the group is stronger that it would be for each member.”

Richard Fiato | North Pointe Insurance Company, Southfield MI
“Because AFPD is flourishing while other associations are floundering, I would like to see us broaden the membership base to include other areas such as restaurants and bars.”

“It’s vital to have a strong member base capable of presenting a stronger voice to legislators. Government has failed us during these difficult economic times, and we must do more to promote ourselves and our industry so that we have more control more than our own destiny.

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