Main Event Caterers, a premier kosher catering firm owned by Eddie Izso of Englewood, Joey Bodner of Teaneck, and Marty Bodner of West Hempstead, has merged with Mauzone Kosher Products LLC to become Main Event-Mauzone Caterers. The merger took effect November 1.
Izso, a vice president of Main Event Caterers, said the merger will allow both companies to become stronger and more competitive. “The combined company has the best of us and the best of them. They’re [Mauzone] strong in Queens and Long Island; we’re [Main Event] strong in New Jersey, Westchester and New York City. Combining resources will make us a top-tier culinary team so we can provide excellent service for all our clients.”
Izso said long-time clients of Main Event will not notice any difference. “I want to assure everyone that the quality of our food will be even better. We have upgraded, new buffet equipment and multiple sets of china so visually our presentation will be enhanced. Now we can focus even more on producing a superior product.”
The company has been running smoothly since the merger went into effect, said Izso. “Every day is better and better; we’re receiving tremendous compliments,” he said. “All mergers take a little time to integrate into a well-oiled machine.”
The partners are not strangers and in fact have been co-workers, as well as rivals, over the years. Main Event was born in August 1988 when Eddie Izso and Joey Bodner, friends since their college days at Yeshiva University, opened a pizza store in Riverdale. Four years later they brought in Joey’s brother Marty, who had been working at many of the top New York City caterers including Mauzone, to develop their fledgling catering business. Over the next several decades, Main Event grew into a full-fledged catering operation, with Izso and the Bodner brothers three-way partners.
Mauzone Kosher Products LLC was founded in the late 1970s by partners Alan Shulman and David Itzkowitz, with catering, wholesale and foodservice divisions. When Marty Bodner was there, so was a young man named Moshe David, who began at age 14 and left at 21 to form his own company, Mark David Catering. Two years ago, he brought his business into the Mauzone fold. Now he is the CEO of the entire company.
Izso met David just a few months ago, but he has known Itzkowitz and Shulman of Mauzone for over 30 years. They began talking about how to grow their companies while keeping costs down, and decided a merger would let them both realize that goal. The merger lets the company combine back office functions and pay one rent and one insurance premium. Izso said Main Event’s longtime chefs, Evory Nicholson, Vernil Dyer, Conrado Fuentes and Rohan Leach, have joined Marty Levin of Mauzone in Mauzone’s Woodside, Queens, kitchen. David said 85 percent of the Main Event culinary staff has been retained. Sales are being handled from a New Jersey office, which will shortly relocate from Englewood to Hackensack, and a New York office where Izso is now based.
David said that while he is still in charge of Mark David Catering, a high-end boutique brand with a niche in destination weddings and events, he will now be running the combined company with responsibility for its overall vision and product development. He sees Mark David and Main Event-Mauzone as two brands under the same parent company. “I’m making sure we are moving in the right direction. With Main Event-Mauzone, we merged the best of both brands into one seamless operation. We can have multiple events sharing resources when they are within a half-hour proximity from the commissary in Queens. We have an executive-level brain trust guiding the brands and strong financial investment to give them support.”
While Main Event-Mauzone continues to expand at home, plans call for growing their destination wedding and events business. The company has catered events in Florida and California and is gaining access to facilities throughout the country.
Izso quickly dispels the notion that merging is a step towards retirement–the opposite is more accurate. “Eddie Izso, Joey Bodner and Marty Bodner are still part of the team,” Izso said. “We’re working to be smarter and better; to be more about quality with less overhead, and to deliver the best event management and culinary service in the tri-state area and around the country.”
David has an even more ambitious vision for the company: “We want to be the strongest, largest, kosher caterer within the next seven years.”
By Bracha Schwartz