Mr. Albert P. Radis
Albert grew up in Cleveland with food service in his genes. He was the son of Louigi Paolo and Jemma Toss Radice, who immigrated to America from Northern Italy in 1904. His father, called Louis in America, was a renowned chef at the University Club for 30 years and had the first television cooking show in the country (on Channel 5 in Cleveland) during the 1950's. Albert spent much of his youth learning the art of food preparation and cooking.
He got his start in the meat business in 1936, working for various meat companies as a cutter. In 1945, after returning from four years of decorated service overseas in World War II, he took a job with Meyers Meats in Cleveland. His first year at Meyers was life changing because of the people he met.
First and foremost, he met his wife Betty. They were married in 1947, and raised twelve children in Orange Village. Without her by his side, Albert never would have been able to balance his business and family life. Nearly all his free time was spent with the family. He was, above all things, a family man.
Second, while working at Meyers, he and three other coworkers talked of setting out on their own. In 1948, the four partners fulfilled their dream by acquiring Red Ribbon Meats. The business was located in the Northern Ohio Food Terminal. Each of the four partners had his own area of expertise. Albert was responsible for the meat cutting operations, while the other partners ran the sausage kitchen, the office and outside sales, respectively. Initially they named the company Master Meats. After several years, they renamed the company Blue Ribbon Meats.
At the time Blue Ribbon was formed, there were over 50 different meat companies in Cleveland serving the food service industry. From their inception, Blue Ribbon focussed on quality and customer service. From the late 1960's through the 1970's, most Cleveland meat companies went out of business. The invention of vacuum packaging enabled large national companies to centralize their operations and ship "boxed beef" throughout the country. Seemingly overnight, local butcher shops were an endangered business.
Faced with many of the same problems that caused other companies to go out of business, Albert took a risk. In 1978, against the advice of the company lawyer and accountant who advised selling Blue Ribbon, he bought out his partners and acquired 100% of Blue Ribbon. As part of the deal, he brought two of his sons on board and let them run the sales and operations of the company. His ideas where "the old way", and he felt that his sons would develop a "new way" which would insure the future of the company. As years passed, three more of his sons joined the business. From 1978 to 1994, when Blue Ribbon moved from the Northern Food Terminal to its current location, Albert continued overseeing the meat cutting operations from his own cutting block.
In July 2003, Albert passed away. he was always very proud that Blue Ribbon Meats grew into the established business that it is today. His lasting legacy is that Blue Ribbon's initial focus on quality and service remains the focal point of the company to this day.