Duty free and travel retail agency Alfa Brands has announced the departure of Operations Manager Amy Hildreth.
Hildreth, a well-liked and respected industry executive and regular on the trade show circuit in the Americas, left the business at the end of August after 22 years’ service.
She joined the company headed by industry veteran Franco Gabriele in 1998 as Planning Manager and took on the role of Operations Manager in 1999.
Her responsibilities included planning, organising and bookkeeping for the industry trade shows; sourcing new brands and managing existing accounts; processing orders; implementing marketing campaigns; and updating the company’s website.
Covering North America (US and Canada) primarily, Hildreth handled a number of clients ranging from those in wines, liquors, perfume and jewellery to confectionery & food, tobacco, travel accessories and leathergoods across inflight, airport, cruise line, diplomatic store, border shop and ship chandler channels.
‘TRUSTED COLLEAGUE, COLLABORATOR AND FRIEND’
Established in 1993, Alfa Brands represents manufacturers and distributors in global duty free with a particular focus on North America.
According to its website, the company’s client portfolio includes Marie Brizard Wine & Spirits Americas, Pillitteri Estates Winery, Butlers, Pretzel Pete, Cloudz and others.
Hildreth told TRBusiness: “I am privileged to have worked for Franco Gabriele at Alfa Brands these past 22 years. He is one of the most respected men in the industry and I am proud to call him my friend.
“I grew up in Upstate New York so I was familiar with shopping at the Peace Bridge and Niagara Duty Free stores but that was all I knew about the industry when he took a chance on me in 1998.
“Alfa Brands started as the exclusive agent for one product and we grew the portfolio to a larger number of categories, with a focus primarily in North America.
“Franco and I share the same philosophy – work hard, be people of integrity and do our very best to represent our suppliers and assist our customers. All we had was our business card and our name, which was our most valuable asset, so we did our upmost to protect it.”
Announcing the news in a circular to the industry, Franco Gabriele, Founder and President of Alfa Brands spoke of Hildreth as a ‘trusted colleague, collaborator and friend’ and ‘pillar of strength and support’ on a personal and professional level.
“After 22 years of loyal, trusted, and diligent service, Amy’s commitment as well as all our efforts, were not sufficient to avoid the present global economic catastrophe that continues to devastate and challenge our industry,” explained Gabriele.
“During her long tenure at Alfa Brands, Amy has been part of all the business, economic, global and personal crises and tragedies that we had to contend with but with the help of her faith and strong work ethics, she survived and marched on with courage and determination.
“We are full of gratitude and appreciation for all her hard work and dedication to the company, customers and suppliers. Please join me in wishing Amy well going forward, in good health and safety, for her and her family, while this unprecedented global pandemic continues.”
Hildreth added: “Like most of my colleagues, we have gone through many challenges in our industry from abolishing duty free sales for travellers within the EU, the September 11th attacks, BSE (Mad Cow disease), SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome), hurricanes and now Covid-19, which unfortunately has led to my departure.
“I have so much respect for this industry and how we support each other. We will come out of this together stronger than before. In the meantime, I will take a breath, count my blessings, and look for the rainbow.”
Those wishing to stay in touch with Amy can do so here: [email protected].