There is a bit of advice floating around in the blogosphere, OK… I admit it, it is mostly found in women’s magazines, that goes something like this: If you are on a date and you want a little insight into the personality of the person sitting across from you, pay careful attention to the way that they treat the wait staff. Are they pushy and demanding or are they considerate and respectful? The reasoning goes that the way they treat others, especially when they feel like they are in a position of control, can offer a window into the way they will ultimately treat you in a relationship.

I have no idea if this is true or not, but the logic seems pretty solid.

A corollary in business might be: If you want to gain insight into a company’s culture, take a look at the way they treat their competition. This leads me to the unusual, if not entirely unprecedented, situation that exists in San Antonio, Texas, where two top dealerships live side by side. Granted, San Antonio is the seventh most populated city in the U.S., the second most populated in Texas and was one of the fastest-growing U.S. cities between 2000 and 2010. Still, these guys are right next door to each other. I am of course referring to Mission Restaurant Supply, FE&S’ 2012 Dealer of the Year, and, Ace Mart Restaurant Supply, FE&S’ 2016 Dealer of the Year.

How well do these two companies get along? Well, the story goes, and I’ve heard it independently from both parties, so I’m pretty sure it’s true…that when Mission was remodeling their showroom a few years ago, Ace Mart actually called them up and invited them to share their parking lot during construction. I know it’s hard to believe — that is until you’ve met the principals on both sides of this story — then it makes perfect sense.

The selection of Ace Mart Restaurant Supply as FE&S’ Dealer of the Year has been met with a near universal nod of approval from the foodservice equipment and supplies industry, and the more you know about their story (page 30) the more I am sure you will agree. Ace Mart’s thoughtful and professional approach, including a willingness to openly share their experience-based knowledge, not only makes their business better, it helps enhance the overall foodservice industry.