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VM Pioneer Edward D. Spitaletta Dies at 91

The food retailing veteran left a mark on his industry as both an executive and entrepreneur

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Edward D. Spitaletta

Edward D. Spitaletta

(PRESS RELEASE) Edward D Spitaletta, 91, a pioneer in the Housewares and POP industries passed on Wednesday, Jan 12, 2021. He is survived by his beloved wife Mary and 6 children: Edward (Nancy), Debra (Al), Richard (Mary Ann), Robert (Linda), John (Rachel) and Charles (Traci) plus 14 grandchildren.

Edward was born on January 28, 1930, in Jersey City, NJ. He was a long-time resident of Rutherford, Saddle River NJ and Palm Beach, Florida. Edward was an Air Force veteran who served in the Korean War where he was also a saxophone player in the band. In 1954, after Edward returned from the War, he married the love of his life, Mary. Their lifetime love affair lasted 67 years.

Edward’s career started in 1955 as a route driver for a wholesale rack jobber in Jersey City, New Jersey. After a few years, Edward joined Supermarc Inc. located in Linden, NJ, as a sales manager. After an industry consolidation, Edward was first made Vice President of Sales & Merchandising and then promoted to Senior Vice President of Supermarket Services Inc. In a ten-year period from 1957 to 1967, Ed was instrumental in increasing the sales of “housewares” in supermarkets from $1MM per year to $52MM per year. During this period, Edward was recognized throughout the industry as one of the leading experts of this growing new field and received many trade awards.

In 1969, Edward became an entrepreneur by founding Enterprise Marketing Associates, a manufacturer’s representative firm that specialized in representing “housewares” manufacturers to wholesalers and retail chains in the NYC metropolitan area. Edward and his partner were also responsible for the national sales and marketing for both Quickie Manufacturing and Lola Products, two pioneering firms in the cleaning category.

As a result of Edwards longtime experience within the supermarket industry, he saw a glaring need at store level to merchandise product into “dead” spaces, which would provide many additional marketing and merchandising opportunities for both suppliers and retailers. It was in 1980 that Edward, along with several partners, invented, patented, and trademarked the “Clip Strip” merchandising strip, and an entire industry was born.

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Edward had one more goal to meet, to become a supplier within the Housewares Industry. Over the years, Ed developed a passion for the cleaning category by working closely with many of the category’s top suppliers. In 2001, Ed got the opportunity to purchase the assets of a struggling Lola Products, and with the help of his sons, revitalized the company to become a viable full line supplier within the household cleaning category. His legacy carries on today through his family owned and operated companies, Lola Products and Clip Strip.

Edward was respected and revered in a unique and special way by his employees, colleagues, and associates, and was always known for his capability, honesty, professionalism, and strong sense of fairness. He has served on the IHA Government Affairs Committee and was inducted into the IHA Hall of Fame. He was also a long-time member of The Columbians, an Italian American Philanthropic Organization. Edward D. Spitaletta, will be remembered as a family-oriented person, business leader, innovator, and impeccable dresser where he was always known to wear a jacket, tie, and silk pocket square.

A funeral mass was held on Jan. 15 at Saint Gabriel’s Church in Saddle River, which preceded his burial at Maryrest Cemetery Mahwah. Due to Covid, there will be a celebration of Edward’s life at a later date. In lieu of flowers, donate on his behalf the Disabled Veterans of America (www.dav.org).

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