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A new editorial director, and a new editor emeritus

Denise Leathers is being promoted to editorial director of Frozen & Refrigerated Buyer on January 1.

Warren Thayer

It pleases me — and calms me — to have the magazine put in such capable hands. I first worked with Denise at the former Private Label News more than 20 years ago.


From the start, I was impressed with her professionalism, market knowledge and easy-going personality. She has won prestigious national awards for her insightful writing, and earned the trust, respect and friendship of our industry. Over the years, Denise and I have learned from each other, and become solid friends.

When Paul Chapa and I founded this magazine in 2009, we couldn’t have asked for better. As I step back to editor emeritus (I like the ring of that), I hope you and other readers will join Paul and me in congratulating Denise (denise@frbuyer.com) for her well-earned promotion.

Anybody who has ever owned (or co-owned) a business knows how hard it is to put “your baby” into someone else’s hands. You’re afraid things won’t be done “your” way, or that mistakes will be made.

There are several reasons why those fears do not resonate with me. For several years, Denise has quietly taken on more responsibility and risen to the occasion. I could not have done any better. This transition brings me calm. Few are lucky enough to enjoy the sense of peace I feel about it.

As for me, “editor emeritus” won’t be an entirely honorary title. I plan on continuing to write, to work on our website and involve myself in special projects. And I’m still a partner in the business.

But to my continued astonishment, I’m turning 74 in March. I still feel young mentally, although I’ve become less of a sarcastic wise-ass. (Some of you may have noticed.) However, my grandkids are growing up, I’ve beat cancer twice and if I have any regrets it’s that I didn’t always keep a good work-life balance. Unfortunately, my family suffered as a consequence. As that famous quote goes, “No one ever said, on his deathbed, ‘I wish I had spent more time at the office.’”

Yet, having said that, my years of work were also joyful. What a pleasure it was knowing and spending time with Rose Totino, Murray Lender, Al Rosenfeld, Frank Cassata, Jerry Carter and so many other wonderful people, all of them gone now. Sadly, just this past month, we lost Johnny Harris. I learned from so many, and I miss them.


I’m not going away after 33+ years in the industry. But much of my work will now be behind the scenes. And I’ll definitely be taking the time to smell more roses. Thank you all for being so consistently helpful and good to me. And for crying out loud, please send a congratulatory note to Denise. She’s earned it.

Warren Thayer

Warren Thayer

Warren is the Editor Emeritus, Managing Partner for Frozen & Refrigerated Buyer.

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Or reach us directly:

Paul Chapa, Co-Founder & Managing Partner
913-481-5060 or paul@frbuyer.com

Warren Thayer, Co-Founder & Managing Partner
603-252-0507 or warren@frbuyer.com