Brian Sharoff should probably have been selected to the very first class entered into the Private Label Hall of Fame back in 2006.
But the longtime president of the Private Label Manufacturers Association would never have let that happen. Sharoff, who passed away last May after a short illness, was never one to steal the limelight, while, at the same time, always being the one who knew exactly what to do in virtually every situation.
This year, the entire private label industry honored Sharoff and his many, many accomplishments that greatly helped the industry by selecting him as the only entry into the Private Label Hall of Fame for 2021.
I knew Brian for about 30 years and I have no doubt that if he was still with us, he would put up a big fuss about being selected to the hall, let alone being the only person so honored. He would shake his head in that special way and make it clear to anyone and everyone that there were other candidates more qualified than him for this honor. He would stress over and over again that he was just doing his job, running a trade organization and helping to make retailers more aware of the many benefits of private label and store brand products.
He would be right on one count. There are many qualified candidates for the Hall of Fame. But, they will have to wait another year to gain entry into this elite group of about 70 people. It is altogether fitting and proper that Sharoff stand apart as this year’s only entrant.
We, as an industry, owe it to him for all that he has done, over a nearly 40-year career, for private label and store brands. We owe it to him for the advice he gave to retailers, suppliers and, yes, even the trade press that resulted in more sales, more profits and more exposure for this category.
To honor Brian in our annual Hall of Fame issue, Store Brands asked many of his closest friends, co-workers and key industry officials to tell us a little about their interaction with him. It was probably the easiest story we’ve ever commissioned. Everyone rushed to tell a tale about Brian and how he impacted their lives, personally and professionally.
I also remind you of the amazing words shared about Brian during our comprehensive June 2020 issue coverage of his passing. Both articles are worthy of revisiting over and over.
We wish we had more room to feature additional industry officials about their adventures with Brian. More importantly, we wish he was here with us to share these tales, if only because he would end up telling us more. He is still very much missed by all of us.