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Four Seasons bidding farewell to two industry veterans

Four Seasons Produce, a full-service wholesale distributor of organic, local and conventional fresh fruits and vegetables based in Ephrata, PA, has announced that two longtime produce industry veterans, Wendell Hahn and Ray Taglialatela, will retire from the company at the end of 2017.

Hahn started his career with Four Seasons Produce in 1992 following successful stretches in produce leadership at supermarket chains Grand Union and Food-a-Rama in the Baltimore-Washington, DC, area.Wendell-HahnWendell Hahn

Upon joining Four Seasons Produce, Hahn was instrumental in helping the full-service wholesaler build a formal program to serve independent retailers and regional chain stores, including the creation of a highly capable produce merchandising team to serve customers in the field. During his 25 years the organization has experienced tremendous growth. He has served in numerous roles, including retail services manager, director of sales, general manager and vice president of business development. He also served actively on the board of the Eastern Produce Council for many years.

“Wendell’s retail background and industry connections, combined with his confident personality, has always allowed him to approach opportunities and challenges with a positive outlook,” said David Hollinger, founder and chairman of Four Seasons Produce. “No responsibility has been too daunting for him.

Hollinger continued, “When Wendell joined, not only did we gain a hardworking associate, but he brought his extensive knowledge as a true ‘produce guy.’ I could count on him to take care of whatever needed done, especially for our retailers and to build our business. He is reliable, optimistic and never complains about anything. He has represented our company well.”Ray-TaglialatelaRay Taglialatela

Hahn has been influential in cultivating and mentoring the next generation of leaders at Four Seasons Produce. He truly enjoys introducing customers and associates more broadly to the produce industry. This is most evident in the educational growing region tours he organizes each year to the San Joaquin and Salinas valleys of California, which can have a career-changing impact on engaged attendees.

Known as one who builds and keeps strong relationships, Hahn is both generous and intentional about sharing those connections with customers and associates. Ron Carkoski, president and chief executive officer of the Four Seasons Family of Cos., said, “Wendell is a bridge builder and has paved the way for many people to succeed.

“One thing that you’ll notice right away about Wendell is his warmth,” Carkoski added. “I’ve enjoyed developing a strong friendship and professional relationship with Wendell. He’s known for his ability to empathize with customers, associates, and suppliers because he understands all the things that they are going through. He also has a great sense of humor!”

Another lasting mark of Wendell’s is the annual Four Seasons Customer Appreciation Golf Outing. The event is renowned for fun, food, great prizes and raising money for the Make-a-Wish Foundation.

In retirement, Hahn plans to enjoy international travel with his wife, Susan, plus spend lots of time with his three grandchildren.

Taglialatela joined Four Seasons Produce as retail services manager in 2004, after exceling in produce leadership positions at Acme Markets, Genuardi’s Family Markets and Super Fresh.

Taglialatela, affectionately known to many as Ray-Tag, brought his retailer experience to the leadership of the produce merchandising team at Four Seasons Produce. His efforts were significant in guiding the team through a transition of being solely focused on merchandising support to traditional independent supermarkets to helping natural food stores and food co-ops being even more effective in their produce operations. During his tenure, merchandising coverage has spread beyond the mid-Atlantic area to reach customers in the New York metropolitan area and within parts of New England.

“Ray cares deeply about individuals and the success of our retailers,” said Carkoski. “He has built a strong respect with retailers because of his direct experience and his ability to teach what he knows.”

His passion for people and for produce has put Taglialatela in a unique position to mentor and coach up-and-coming professionals within Four Seasons Produce, plus amongst its customers.

“Ray’s many years of retail experience has provided invaluable leadership to our merchandising team since he first joined our company,” said Hollinger. “He has often commented that he wished he was younger so that he could have had the opportunity to work with the up-and-coming leaders here at Four Seasons.”

During retirement, Taglialatela intends to travel with his wife, Tina, enjoy their two grandchildren, and play music with his friends.