A graduate of Cornell University in New York, Ernest Barbella entered the retail food industry in 1964. His experience with his first employer, Daitch Shopwell Supermarkets in New York, provided Ernest Barbella with in-depth knowledge of both the day-to-day business of managing a single supermarket and supervising a group of seven stores. This knowledge, together with his education in food marketing and agricultural economics, proved invaluable when Ernst Barbella became a buyer in the Meat Division of Wakefern Food Corporation. A major supermarket wholesaler in the Northeastern U.S., the sales of this division exceeded $300 million annually. Ernest Barbella played an important role in these sales during his term as the Vice President of the Meat Division, supervising the purchasing, merchandising, and warehousing. He concurrently served as Administrative Director of the Frozen Food Division and Vice President of Retail Store Operations. Ernest Barbella filled similar executive responsibilities for Hills Supermarkets and the Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company, Inc.. The sales of both of these corporations total billions of dollars, and Ernest Barbella assumed responsibility for the store operations in New York for both chains. He also managed advertising and merchandising for both firms. Ernest Barbella has applied the expertise gained from decades working in the supermarket industry to his own businesses. The first was a chain of five profitable supermarkets, which he sold in 1995. In response to global demand, Ernest Barbella founded a spice company in Qingdao, China, which sells more than 250 spices and employs a workforce of 100. He also owns a pasta packaging company that produces skillet dinners and macaroni and cheese; the products are sold in America and internationally.