Ron Zoeller, a Buffalo native, entrepreneur, and founder and CEO of North American Health Plans, has released his memoirs, "All In." The 360-page book contains more than 120 photos and inspirational quotes from business, military and sports leaders.
In 1998, he was the vice chairman of Business Backs the Bills. Zoeller was a front-runner calling for community action to prevent the Bills from leaving Western New York. His new health maintenance organization had purchased the naming rights for Buffalo's downtown baseball stadium when it was called North AmeriCare Park and in two decades he built that company from launch to revenues of $50 million and hundreds of area employees.
Interestingly, Grand Island plays a role in this book on three fronts:
•The book talks about how Zoeller and his father purchased what is now the Riverstone Grill on East River Road on Dec. 4, 1980, and operated Z's Island Inn for three years. It was Von's Inn when they bought it from Jean Von Wryeza for $1,000 down on a $98,000 purchase with a 10-year mortgage.
•The book publisher and critical editor is Michael J. Billoni, managing partner of Billoni Associates Publishing.
•The fulfillment of the mail order sales is being handled by Fahim Mojawalla, owner of the Island Ship Center, 1879 Whitehaven Road.
Zoeller will hold a book signing in conjunction with the Island Ship Center at Momma De's Mixing Bowl, 1879 Whitehaven Road, Grand Island, Saturday, March 10, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Books cost $20 and Zoeller will donate $5 from each book sold during the event to the Grand Island High School DECA program. Everyone purchasing a book will receive a raffle eligible for a variety of prizes.
"Island Ship Center has done the fulfillment for a number of books but this is a unique project because it's the memoirs of a successful businessman who once owned a business on Grand Island," Mojawalla said.
Taking more than 11/2 years to write, edit, and produce, "All In" began as a legacy for Zoeller's kids and grandkids before he focused on community events with which he was involved over the years. The book is available for $20 on line at www.azeros1.com or locally in the bookstores at The Buffalo History Museum, 1 Museum Ct., Buffalo; Burchfield Penney Art Center, 1300 Elmwood Ave., Buffalo; the Buffalo & Erie County Naval & Military Park, 1 Navel Park Cove, Buffalo; Ilio DiPaolo's Restaurant, 3785 South Park Ave., Blasdell, and Talking Leaves Books, 951 Elmwood Ave., Buffalo.
Written in an attention-captivating narrative, "All In" will take readers through a journey of Zoeller's stories:
•His role as vice chairman of Business Backs the Bills, and behind-the-scenes dealing with then Bills' owner Ralph Wilson, COO Jeff Littmann, and former NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue.
•How his then unknown company, North AmeriCare, purchased the naming rights of the downtown baseball stadium.
•How and why he brought members of the Cleveland Browns' Dawg Pound to Buffalo for a New Year's Eve weekend playoff game against the Miami Dolphins in 1995.
•Bills' former quarterback Doug Flutie, Zoeller's 1 millionth box of Flutie Flakes, and how Zoeller's dogs Flutie and Flake and the American flag became the centerpiece of a Wegmans' Patriotic Pets promotion.
•Attending school in the '50s and '60s in the Maryvale School system in Cheektowaga and at Kent State University, where the Ohio National Guard killed four students and wounded nine, including one of his fraternity brothers.
•How his and his wife's many community and charitable activities led to a relationship with NHL Hall of Fame coach Scotty Bowman and his wife, Suella.
•How he purchased the Stage One night club in Williamsville owned by Harvey Weinstein, who then owned Harvey & Corky Productions and would then go on to become a controversial movie mogul.
Zoeller currently owns and operates Azeros, a health care consulting company. He resides in Orchard Park with his wife, Fay.
"All In" was published by Billoni Associates Publishing, Michael J. Billoni, managing partner, and printed locally through RMF Print Management Group in Lancaster.