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Entrepreneur Joseph Fedele (usually known as Joe Fedele) and investment banker Jason Ackerman founded New York based - Online Specialty Grocery FreshDirect.com in 1998. Joe Fedele was CEO and Co-Chairman from 1998-2004. FreshDirect.com became an Iconic Consumer brand for at home Food Gratification immediately after opening to the public in September 2002. FreshDirect.com created new processes of the retail business model (Slogan: Disintermediation of the Supply Chain), other processes such as JIT (just in time inventory stocking) and "made to order" rather than "made to stock" production. The processes created sustainable competitive and differential advantages over competitors in product, quality and price. Mr. Fedele and Jason Ackerman won the E+Y Entrepreneur of the Year award for 2003 for the Metropolitan New York Area.
Joe Fedele is the Founder and was CEO and President of Fairway Market ("Like No Other Market") on West 132nd street in Manhattan from 1993- 1998. The Fairway on West 132nd street was the start of redefining Fairway Market's business process: expanding into a complete array of the most discriminant perishable assortments at the best value proposition in New York. The business totally disintermediated the supply chain for its perishable and specialty products. The store became a regional Iconic Consumer brand. Mr. Fedele and his partners won the E+Y Entrepreneur of the Year Award in New York City in 1996.
Since selling his interest in Fairway (to Mr. Glickberg and his partners) to start FreshDirect in 1998, Fedele has been embroiled in a series of disputes with Fairway owners. Fairway's management accuses Fedele of over-representing his role in the creation of Fairway's Harlem branch. Fedele says that his description of himself as the branch's "co-founder" is an understatement. Fedele also states that "Fairway was a single store doing their business in the traditional retail manner (purchasing their products through the traditional supply chains) for 18 years. When they met me they stumbled on this epiphany of curtailing the supply chain and creating a sustainable competitive and differential product advantage. Let's be serious".
In response to Fedele's claims, Fairway began hanging signs in its aisles attacking Fedele's credibility and the quality of FreshDirect's produce. Chris Smith of New York Magazine wrote (May 17, 2004):
The FreshDirect posters blaring that the company was BROUGHT TO YOU BY A CO-FOUNDER OF FAIRWAY UPTOWN and featuring a photo of Fedele made [Fairway owner Howie] Glickberg furious. He posted signs inside the West 74th Street store reading FAIRWAY IS IN NO WAY AFFILIATED WITH FRESHDIRECT. FreshDirect jabbed back by sending staffers dressed as giant fruits and vegetables to pass out fliers in front of Fairway. Then the FreshDirect Website added a lengthy description of Fedele's role in the uptown Fairway, headlined: HEY FAIRWAY, WHAT ARE YOU AFRAID OF? Fairway threatened to sue.
- Frank Kammel (1996), Supermarket Business, May 1996, pg. 179
- Michael Carry (1996), Progressive Grocer, April 1996, pg. 39
- Smith, Chris (2004). New York Magazine, May 24, 2004.