About Us

For over 50 years, we have partnered with our clients to provide white glove service for most every brand of commercial kitchen equipment.  Our highly trained, factory-authorized technicians pride themselves on keeping your businesses and institutions up and running so you can service your customers.

Integrity & Trust , the Lobalzo & Sons way

Our History

In 1950, at the age of 31, Harry Lobalzo was working as a machinist for Oliver Iron and Steel in Pennsylvania. He and his wife Mary had a 6-year-old son Michael, and another son Richard on the way. Realizing the cost of raising a growing family, he began a second job working part time for a Gulf gas station near their home in Bethel Park, PA. Gulf Oil had a promotion of paying its attendants 50 cents for each tire that they sold. That spring, a salesman stopped for gas, and Harry noticed that his tires were badly worn. He asked, “what do you do for a living?” The salesman responded that he was in sales for Hobart Food Machines. Harry said, “you must drive a lot.” The salesman responded, “you bet!” Harry told the Hobart salesman that he should have a good set of tires, and sold him four tires on the spot. The Hobart salesman told Harry that he should be selling something other than tires and that he could really do much better financially. And so the story begins.

Harry took a week’s vacation and rode with the owner of the Hobart office in Pittsburgh to learn the business of selling food-processing equipment. After three days, Harry asked if he could venture out on his own and was given the green light. On his first day he sold two pieces of Hobart equipment: a cube steak tenderizer and a meat slicer. Making those sales were not easy to do during those days due to the weak economy. With Harry’s newest success, his family celebrated with cherry pop and vanilla ice cream.

During the next four years Harry continued to break sales records and become one of Hobart Corporation’s leading salesmen. In 1954, Harry requested his own Hobart office and was offered Albany, New York or Akron, Ohio. Both Mary and Harry were from large, close-knit Italian families, and although Albany seemed the better choice, Akron was only a short 90-minute drive to their families. That 90-minute trip was made many, many times over the years.

In February 1954, the family began their move. There was, however, one major problem – to secure the office and sales territory, it would have to be purchased. Hobart agreed to finance part of the acquisition by withholding part of his commissions. Even with selling their Bethel Park home, there just was not enough money to make the purchase. Harry asked his father for a loan of two thousand dollars, a very difficult thing to do because his father was not in agreement with him leaving a secure environment. With that loan, the young Lobalzo family rented an inner city house and made the move.

Times were difficult for the family, money was short, and the adjustment to the inner city was disheartening coming from a rural farm community in Pennsylvania. Harry wore many hats and worked late hours because the company could not afford staff, let alone a secretary. A solution was found by having Mary become the company secretary. Harry’s son, Michael, would walk from school to the office and clean the machines for ten cents a unit. Meanwhile, Rick began kindergarten and was spared the “hard labor.”

The next several years brought continued growth both in size and profitability. The office was relocated twice to larger and better locations along with the addition of more service and sales personnel. In 1963, Michael attended Hobart Sales School and worked part-time throughout his college years. Following college graduation, Michael began his full time career in the family business. His wife Jean became the office administrator, which gave Harrys wife Mary a well-deserved respite from the business. In 1972, son Rick joined the business after earning his degree from the Ohio State University.

Harry and his sons moved their offices to Montrose, Ohio in 1976. At that time, Montrose was a remote area on the outskirts of Akron. Being a visionary, Richard found a piece of property that they all agreed to purchase. The property turned out to be a great investment for the family. Since that time, the real estate division, aptly named Mic-Ric, has become the developer/owner of several properties in the greater Akron area.

During the mid to late seventies, Michael noticed that the parent company, Hobart Corporation, was acquiring more independent agencies and converting them into company owned branch offices. At that time, the Lobalzo’s felt it would be a smart move to start an independent division. The division would be cleverly called HMR for Harry, Mike and Rick. A manufacturer of pressure fryers gave HMR exclusivity for the sale and distribution of their products. This led to developing the companys own chicken breading, a very successful item that has continued to be a profitable segment of the business.

Opportunities arose through this second division that added many other product lines. Mike became interested in the design of supermarket departments, especially those that dealt with perishable items. HMR began adding more products in order to offer a complete package of equipment and design work to the supermarket industry.

Around the same time, Rick became interested in business computers and helped the company become the first Hobart office to automate with an IBM 5110. Another business division called Innotech Systems was set up at that time so that the company could become a “re-marketer” for IBM. Although this venture was short lived, it helped serve as a foundation for the extensive use of computers and data throughout the organization. Many Hobart Corporate administrators and staff, as well as independent agencies, visited Hobart Akron to learn the IT systems so they could develop and build out their own systems. From that date forward, along with the success of HMR, Hobart Akron is viewed as being a model and one of the most successful, progressive independent offices of its kind.

In the 1980s, the company found another opportunity in the sales and service of commercial ice machines. Rick took on the task of developing a foundation in this arena, which involved different stocking and market strategies. The division would be a re-branding of the name “Innotech,” from to its former computer division. The Innotech division is now one of Scotsmans top Distributors.

In January 2006, Mike became aware that Hobart Corporation was considering a new go-to-market concept that involved “master” distributors across the country. Preliminary investigations revealed that Hobart was in the process of choosing from a handful of distributors to cover the key market retail accounts. During the first six months, extensive work was done to make sure that H.C. Lobalzo would be one of the “master” distributors. The Lobalzo brothers designed and developed Consolidated Food Equipment Distributors, also known as CFED, which was awarded 17 states in the Northeastern quadrant of the United States. CFED began operations in May 2006, and since that time it has grown greatly in the number of employees, unprecedented sales, and assured profitability – with many new opportunities yet to come.

With the addition of Rick’s daughter, Dana Saporito, in 2004 and her husband, Joe Saporito, in 2010 the company is now operated by its third generation.

Our Team

Michael Lobalzo

Chairman & CEO

Michael is the current Chairman and CEO of CFED, serving in that capacity since 2006. Mike is responsible for the strategic direction of the business, as well as the growth and development of its Senior Leadership team.

Michael’s career in commercial food equipment began when he was very young, working for his father, Harry Lobalzo, who began his sales career for Hobart in the 1950’s. One of his first jobs was cleaning scales for $0.25 an hour.

Upon graduation from the University of Akron, Michael attended Hobart’s Sales School and then officially joined the family business. He is a seven-time winner of the Hobart Sales Topper Award and past president of the Hobart Agents Counsel, where he represented the independent office owners with the Hobart Corporation. Michael is also a past member of the Ohio Grocer Association (OGA) and the East Ohio Food Dealers.

He’s a strong advocate for the One in Six Foundation, a charity for prostate cancer awareness. In his spare time, he enjoys golf, fly fishing and is an instrument-rated private pilot.

Rick Lobalzo

Vice Chairman

Rick is the Vice Chairmen of CFED, also following in his father’s footsteps to enter the family business. As Vice Chairman, Rick also helps with strategy, maintaining and growing several key customer relationships, as well as the Senior Leadership Team development and growth. With more than 35 years of experience, Rick is a seasoned food equipment professional.

Rick’s experience in food service work also began at a young age, working at night as a busboy. Since his earnings depended on tips, he quickly learned the value of good customer service. He joined the family business after graduating from The Ohio State University.

Rick enjoys sailing, golf, and currently attends college at the University of Akron, learning CAD.

Joseph Saporito

President

As President, Joe handles all operational and administrative aspects of the day-to-day business and works closely with the sales team.

Joe received his undergraduate degree from Miami University and his master’s degree from the University of Akron. He moved to Akron to marry his wife, Dana (Lobalzo), and after working for a large real estate and construction firm, joined the family business at CFED in late 2009.

His knowledge of the food industry began as a young boy, as his paternal grandfather was vice president of a major grocery chain and his maternal grandfather started his own potato chip company.

Joe is on the Board of Directors for the ADM Board of Summit County (Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services) and is a board of director member of the Copley Community Improvement Corporation. He enjoys spending time with his wife, three young children, golfing, running, practicing yoga and traveling.

What Our Clients Say

“Beginning with Harry and on to sons Michael and Rick, H.C. Lobalzo & Sons has provided Park Farms with quality equipment, ingredients, supplies and expertise for over thirty years. While many business’s offer similar goods and services, only Lobalzo & Sons has the complete package. It is their people that make doing business with them easy. Their focus is to always make sure that their customers have everything they need to make their business a success.”

Scott Hearne
Purchasing Manager
Park Farms

“We chose the Hobart brand for all 3 of our new dish machines so we continued with them to service them. We have found HCL to be efficient & effective at all repairs. Their employees know how to quickly diagnose the problem & fix it in a timely manner. Installation projects were also top notch. They consistently completed every project in their advertised time, keeping everything clean and orderly and ensuring all equipment was in perfect working condition before they left. Their service techs are friendly & personable. Superb company!”

Food Service Supervisor
Akron Children’s Hospital
“When our previous dish machine started to jam and break down, we turned to Hobart’s service team for the installation of our new CLPS-86E conveyor dish machine.  This machine stands out from the other equipment we’ve used due to its effective sanitation, reliability and user-friendly features. I recommend Hobart service as their technicians are professional, well informed, and are quick to resolve the issue when a repair is needed.”

Michelle Kaluzne RDN, LD
Clinical Nutrition Manager Summa Health

Awards and Honors

H.C. Lobalzo & Sons

Headquarters

Looking to purchase equipment?

Visit our sister company, Consolidated Food
Equipment Distributors at www.cfed-ne.com.