Since he was 15, Richard Ross has been involved in the candy industry, first as a buyer for his mother’s gift and candy store in Dayton, Ohio, then as a distributor and retail entrepreneur and finally as Owner and CEO of Galerie Candy & Gifts.
“I love making people happy,” he explains. “Also, my father was a dentist, and I wanted to ensure his job security,” he jokes.
Born in Columbus, Ohio on May 26, 1961, to Helen and Allen, Rick grew up with brothers Dave and Marc. He graduated from Fairview High School in Dayton in 1979 and enrolled in the University of Cincinnati, majoring in business. At 19, he took a leave of absence from school to become distributor for Jelly Belly Candy Company in Alhambra, California.
Ricked opened his first Jelly Bean Factory store in Salem, Ohio mall in 1978. Two years later, his first permanent store launched in the Cincinnati Union Terminal, followed by a larger-format outlet in Cincinnati Westin Hotel, Galerie Au Chocolat, featuring premium chocolates and an automated bean-dispensing wall fixture offering shoppers a choice of 72 flavors.
Eleven major stores in major cities followed in short succession. By 1981, Rick was featured on the front page of the Wall Street Journal. Orders from other retailers for the company’s novelty offerings eventually drew Rick from retail to wholesale and the founding of Galerie, which designs and fabricates more than 1,500 gift and novelty items annually, including premium private-label confectionery items.
Under his leadership, Galerie has been ranked among the Deloitte Cincinnati USA 100 Best Places to Work five times and earned the Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce International Trade Award of Excellence in 2008 and it’s Economic Vitality Award in 2001.
Further, he actively support the United Way, the Alzheimer’s Association, AIDS Volunteers of Cincinnati, and is a founding member of the national and local chapters of the Human Rights Campaign.
Rick was the National Confectioners Association (NCA) State of the Industry Conference Committee Chairman for four years, and a member of the association’s Executive Board. He has also served three terms on its board of trustees.
In addition, he is involved in the NCA Young Professionals Network, as an ongoing mentor to the industry. Locally, Rick has served on the HRC and Cincinnati Women’s Health Board.
Most recently, to diversify the business portfolio, Rick has invested in Snoooze, an all-natural sleep drink sold locally at Jungle Jim’s.
LOCATION: Hall of Mirrors
MENU: Field greens with croutons, tomatoes, goat cheese & balsamic vinaigrette and chocolate glazed brownie – salad appetizer and dessert for all entrees.
Regular Entrée – Baked cod “chowder” with clam sauce, roasted potatoes & wilted spinach.
Vegetarian Entrée – Fried feta with roasted potatoes, wilted spinach & white wine cream.
Salad Entrée – Blackened chicken with bleu cheese, tomatoes, romaine & port wine bleu cheese dressing.