He was more than the president of the Private Label Manufacturers Association. He was the face of private label.
For nearly four decades, Brian Sharoff led the PLMA organization, growing it to its bedrock status today, a cornerstone of the industry for networking, education and, even, television news. Sharoff died May 23 after a brief illness.
CLAY DOCKERY, DIVISION VICE PRESIDENT OF CORPORATE BRANDS, MASSIMO ZANETTI
Like so many in this industry, I began my career selling brands. As my career moved toward private brands, I quickly realized that this is the area of our industry where I wanted to spend the balance of my career. One of the key reasons that I developed such an appreciation for private brands was PLMA. And there is no question that PLMA was Brian Sharoff. As my career advanced, and I became involved on the board of directors, I was always amazed at his insight, vision and quick wit. The dedication of the PLMA staff to his leadership was a testament to his genuine value of people. He has left a legacy that is immeasurable.
DEAN ERSTAD, SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT OF SALES, SENECA FOODS
Brian’s passing was quite a shock to all of us that knew him personally. What he accomplished at PLMA is nothing short of amazing. He took a small trade organization 40 years ago and built it into one of the largest trade organizations in our industry spanning across three continents. As Brian built PLMA, he created a true family of employees and vendor partners along the way. Over the last few days I have heard much praise, admiration and kind words towards Brian.
Even with all these things said, it really does not capture the true essences of what Brian truly meant to us. Maybe if we put them all together we come close? For me, I will always be grateful to Brian. He was a tremendous mentor and also a good friend. Rest in peace, Brian.
EVAN DOBKINS, DIRECTOR OF SALES, OLD DUTCH MUSTARD
I have had the pleasure of being associated with PLMA for more than 25 years, working on committees and for the past three years as a member of the board of directors. I have to thank Brian Sharoff for recognizing and respecting me as a contributor to PLMA. I will remember Brian as a true renaissance man whose skill set allowed him to build a truly dynamic organization.
He had a world view. His larger-than-life presence could captivate any room, anywhere. He passionately spoke about store brands and delivered a consistent message on product quality and innovation that provided audiences with tremendous knowledge and inspiration and helped ignite an entire industry.
Over the years, he brought private label to every conceivable market with trade shows in Chicago, Amsterdam and
Shanghai as well as Paris, London, Frankfurt, Brussels, Hong Kong and Japan. Brian created trade missions and programs promoting private label in countries such as Australia, Turkey, India, South Africa, Argentina and Russia, just to name a few.
Retailers in countries near and far responded and welcomed private label to their store shelves. Consumers did the same.
This year marks PLMA’s 40th trade show anniversary. In honor of our dear friend and his gregarious personality that has left us with uncountable lasting memories, the celebration will surely be energetic, loud and colorful. Write it down now, Brian Sharoff’s private label empire will endure 40 more years and beyond.