thomas catanese gift baskets©



Chairman of the Board
Peacock Chair



Harold Anderson, President of Haddon House Foods, told Tom he would sponsor him in the show. Thomas Catanese finally became a member of NASFT. Membership was only 200 then (today, the membership is 2200). We were in the New York Coliseum, 1st floor corner booth. We were so mobbed at our first show that the other exhibitors complained about the aisles being blocked. Tom was throwing 25 pound fruit baskets up in the air and catching them. People could not believe their eyes. In 1972, Tom's little business was really flying. Basket people had never seen shrink film in action before.
Tom was now working 40+ hours for my parents and 25 hours a week for myself in the evenings.

You may be too young to remember the gas crisis of 1974. It almost put me tom of business. That year was very difficult. All plastics are a byproduct of oil.

Gourmet Retailer Magazine was established.

Tim Murphy, Editor of Telefood Magazine, had been watching Tom over the years. Tim told him that he had seen a lot of baskets, but mine were unique. He invited Tom to present the first gift basket seminar to the International Fancy Food and Confection attendees. It was the first time the show had ever left New York for Chicago. It was great! We had 250 people in the audience. To my knowledge, it was the first official gift basket seminar for the International Fancy Food Show. Tom was making Gift Basket History.

Telefood Magazine presented a 2-page story on Catanese’s creativity. Tom exhibited in San Francisco at the Food and Wine Show which was my first West Coast Show!

Neiman Marcus invited him to present a gift basket seminar to their Epicure Workroom Staff. While he was throwing baskets up in the air, the cosmetic buyer walked by. She came into the room and watched what he was doing. She asked if he could do the same with her perfume and fragrances. So, he packed the first perfume & fragrance gift in Dallas for Neiman Marcus.
Gourmet Retailer prints my first article “Gift Basket Magic” . tom started thinking about presenting a gift basket seminar for a fee. He then attended 4 seminars outside the Fancy Food & Gift Basket Industry. Their fee was $125 per person for 7 hours. On 9/30/79, Catanese presented a 7-hour gift basket seminar for $39.50. He had created 40 gifts on display. 97 people attended from across the country. He'd done it and it was a success.
Tom Catanese did 2 seminars - Houston, TX & Chicago, IL. Again, very successful - over 150 people attended each one.
In 1981, Tom presented the first gift basket seminar in San Francisco, the day before the International Fancy Food Show. From that time on, all of his seminars were successful - 125 people attended from around the country.
Catanese introduced the first shrink bag to the industry & the pull bow. He also presented a gourmet cookware seminar to the International Gourmet Show in San Francisco. Telefood article, “Gift of Fruit” - 3-page article on design, creation and construction.

Fancy Food Magazine publishes first issue.
The world’s most prestigious group of wine & spirit retailers invited me to Pebble Beach, CA to present his program. Tom did the first Peacock Chair for the Wine & Spirit Guild of America. Telefood article, “Gift Pack Sales and Profits”. He also wrote his first article on Sales and Marketing.
Catanese designed a $1300 theme gift for Steven Spielberg in Hollywood for the movie, Raiders of the Lost Ark. That led me to create more gifts such as ET, Dynasty, Dallas, Love Boat, Falcon Crest, Hotel, Magnum PI, and all the TV soap operas. which were exhibited at the Fancy Food Show in Los Angeles.

May: Gifts & Decorative Accessories article ~ “Food Fashion Gifts”

June: Fancy Foods Article ~ “International Gifts of Wine & Spirits”

Seminar at the New York Omni Hotel and at the New York Gift Show

December: Florist magazine article ~ “The Fruits of Success” - 3-page article for FTD magazine which was the first of 3 articles.
Catanese presented gift basket seminars at the Dallas World Trade Mart, the Atlanta Merchandise Mart & the Denver Mart. The business was really growing. Designed 50 Gifts for this seminar to be placed on display at each Mart.

February: 3rd seminar for International Fancy Food Show at California Convention Center in Los Angeles ~ 550 attendees

June: Seminar at the Dallas Gift Mart June: Showcase NASFT article, “Fancy Food & Gift Baskets” ~ Profit & the bottom line

July: Seminar at the Hyatt Hotel in Washington, DC immediately before opening of the Fancy Foods Show

September: Telefood Magazine article, “Gift Packaging for the Holidays”



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