Picture this: In 1997, just 23 years ago, Mobile Fixture & Equipment Co. Inc. operated out of a retrofitted car dealership building with low ceilings and not so much as a forklift to move inventory. Sales were $5 million, the majority of which was generated by one rep. In a rapidly changing industry in which pressure to modernize and grow or die were becoming ever stronger, death — or at least acquisition — might have seemed imminent.
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Numbers tell a compelling story at TriMark USA, which since 2014 has held the top spot on FE&S’ Distribution Giants ranking of the nation’s largest foodservice equipment and supplies dealers. That year, the South Attleboro, Mass.-based, company reported prior-year sales of $944 million, overtaking longtime leader Edward Don & Co. The same year, it became the first E&S dealership to pass the $1 billion milestone and has since continued to widen the gap between itself and many of its competitors.
Unlike most CEOs whose companies sell to private equity, Jerry Hyman is still around and very much the captain of the ship at TriMark USA. Now on its fourth private-equity partnership in the past 20 years, he’s become skilled at navigating those sometimes shark-infested waters, honing an approach that doesn’t just satisfy profit-hungry PE partners but that ultimately adds value to the company and, in turn, to its customers.
Click here for a PDF of the 1990 Dealer of the Year cover story: The Boelter Companies.
Click here for a PDF of the 2005 Dealer of the Year cover story: The Boelter Companies.
The Boelter Companies continue to do a lot of things right. More than a lot, actually.
Through a mix of shared traditions, in-depth training and strategic foresight, Ace Mart has managed to cultivate a careful balance between old and new without forsaking either.
Norman “Gus” Gustafson was well known for caring about people. He treated customers as he wished to be treated, and he extended that same courtesy to employees and business partners. He wasn’t afraid of hard work, and he was wary of a man in a tie.
During the past seven years, companies from all segments of the foodservice industry have slugged it out with one another trying to keep from losing market share during a sluggish economic period. In contrast, one company from a small town in Central Pennsylvania continues to grow at an accelerated rate. In fact, during the past four years, Clark Associates, Inc. has almost tripled its annual revenues.
Clark Associates may operate three distinct distribution channels, but they are all influenced by the vision of CEO Fred Clark. FE&S sat down with Clark to learn more about what makes this dynamic company and its leader tick.
Leveraging its core values of integrity, accountability and consistency keeps Columbus, Ohio-based Wasserstrom flexible enough to adapt to the ever-changing foodservice industry landscape while remaining true to the company’s 112-year history.