Q&A

CREATIVE CONVERSATIONS: Steve Druckman, President, Midwest Gourmet Food Group

By Anthony Myers contact

- Last updated on GMT

CREATIVE CONVERSATIONS: Steve Druckman, President, Midwest Gourmet Food Group

Related tags: Creative Conversations


Former Fannie May executive Steve Druckman provides strategic leadership across 1-800-FLOWERS.COM, Inc, Simply Chocolate and Cheryl’s Cookies, bringing his vast experience in the confectionery industry to launch new products and innovative offerings to the market and engage consumers in a different way.

Name​: Steve Druckman

Job title:​ President, Midwest Gourmet Food Group (Simply Chocolate, Cheryl’s Cookies, The Popcorn Factory, 1-800-Baskets.com, DesignPac) at 1-800-FLOWERS.COM, Inc.

Company:​ 1-800-FLOWERS.COM, Inc.

Website:​  https://investor.1800flowers.com/​  www.simplychocolate.com

Twitter url:@​SmplyChocolate

LinkedIn url:https://www.linkedin.com/in/steve-druckman-500437

Tell us about your job/company/role?

President, Midwest Gourmet Food Group at 1-800-FLOWERS.COM, Inc. – working across the following brands: Simply Chocolate, Cheryl’s Cookies, The Popcorn Factory, 1-800-Baskets.com and DesignPac. I provide strategic and operational leadership for each of these brands. 1-800-FLOWERS.COM, Inc. is a leading provider of gifts designed to help customers express, connect and celebrate. The Company’s Celebrations Ecosystem features our all-star family of brands, including: 1-800-Flowers.com, 1-800-Baskets.com, Cheryl’s Cookies, FruitBouquets.com, Harry & David, Moose Munch, The Popcorn Factory, Wolferman’s, Personalization Universe, Simply Chocolate, and Goodsey.

What drew you to working in the confectionery industry? (Apart from the free chocolate!)

I previously served as President, Fannie May until the business was sold in Spring 2017. From here, I knew that I wanted to continue working in the confectionery industry.

What do you love most about your job?

Our employees are our biggest brand advocates and what makes the job most enjoyable. We are committed to employing individuals who are passionate about the products we create and sell. We have built a strong culture here and I am pleased to be working with such an enthusiastic group of people. Additionally, I love working with the teams to expand our product offerings with innovative items, especially our Simply Chocolate signature products and growing our lineup of talented chocolatiers.

What do you dislike most about your job?

We have a very enthusiastic team and there are so many great ideas for implementing new programs to benefit our customers. Our biggest challenge is deciding which enhancements to prioritize.

If you are looking to get into the confectionery industry, only do so if you have a real passion and drive for it.

What is your biggest creative achievement so far?

Since I have been at 1-800-FLOWERS.COM, Inc. my biggest accomplishment, and what I am most proud of, is the creation and introduction of Simply Chocolate, which launched in November 2017. Simply Chocolate is a destination to discover quality gifts and join a passionate community celebrating the love of chocolate. The site features more than 30 brands, including iconic chocolatiers, as well as up-and-coming innovative artisans, along with exclusive product offerings for all preferences and palates. In addition to our own exclusive Simply Chocolate branded collection, the site features top brands such as Chuao Chocolatier, Ferrero Rocher, Ghirardelli, Godiva, Grove Confectionary, Max Brenner and more. 

Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?

I hope to see myself still in the confectionary industry; continuing to bring new products and innovative offerings to the market, delivering experiential content and other initiatives that will engage customers in new ways.

Describe a typical work day

One of the best parts of my job is that there isn’t a typical work day. In providing leadership for several different brands, there are always many different projects and challenges to tackle, so the day-to-day changes constantly. The one that’s consistent is that everyone on the team is working hard to deliver smiles to our customers every day. Some of the best days are when our tasting panel gets together, and we sample products from artisanal chocolate brands for consideration on the Simply Chocolate site.

What do you do enjoy doing outside of work?

I have four kids and I am happily married so I love spending time with my family, we travel often which I enjoy as well. I also coach many of my kids’ sports teams.

What do you think will be the next big thing in the confectionery world?

There is lots of innovation in the confectionery industry. We’ve only scratched the surface on all the unique flavor pairing potentials. Customers are loving them, so we think this trend will continue and are excited for the possibilities to come.

Apple or Android?

Apple

What is your favourite book or podcast?

My favourite podcast is The Daily - a daily news podcast and radio show by the American newspaper The New York Times. I listen to this consistently.

Where do you stand on social media – can’t live without it, or an evil necessity?

I’m highly addicted to all social media platforms.

If you could change one thing in the confectionery industry, what would it be?

We’ve all seen the decline of brick and mortar confectionery stores. The development of an interesting store model, including an experimental element would help strengthen the industry.

What’s the biggest misconception about working in confectionery?

The biggest misconception is that people think we eat chocolate all day long - it’s only part of the day… 

What advice would you give to other people looking to get into the confectionery industry?

If you are looking to get into the confectionery industry, only do so if you have a real passion and drive for it. There are so many possibilities as it pertains to creativity and inventiveness. Someone with an appetite, (no pun intended), could really strive in this business.

Time’s up! Thank you Steve.

  • CREATIVE CONVERSATIONS is Confectionery News’s new online series profiling influential people working in the confectionery industry. We want to discover what makes you tick and to inspire others to follow your path.
  • Please contact CN editor Anthony Myers​ to put yourself or a colleague forward.

Related topics: Editor's Blog, Industry Voices, Chocolate

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