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My Foodservice News (Independent Restauranteur)
Contact Press RelationsDavid Kelly, Marketing Director
All Under One Roof:
By Carmen Seward
When someone decides to open their own restaurant, where do they go to buy the pieces of equipment that they'll need? A quick trip to the local Wal-Mart or Target may work for those little items like toilet paper, paper towels or Windex wipes, but what if you need a refrigerator, a hot dog & bun steamer, a full size natural gas convection oven and a commercial bar blender?
Look no further than Restaurant Equippers!
With an amazing showroom located at 635 West Broad Street in Columbus, Ohio, this family owned business is celebrating its 40th anniversary and when you've been in the business this long, you must be doing something right!
Catching up with Debbi Sugarman, the Vice President and Co-Owner, it only takes a minute or two to discover a part of the reason why this business has been and will continue to grow.
As Sugarman talks candidly with a couple of entrepreneurs, it's apparent that she has their attention. Working with other small business owners in foodservice industry for the past 25 years, Sugarman is an expert at selling her wares, but a part of what keeps folks coming back is the way she and the other employees treat them.
“We try not to oversell anyone,” she states, while showing the young guys a couple of different refrigerators and explaining their unique features. “When someone leaves our business, we want them to be armed with everything they'll need in order to be successful but at the same time, we don't take advantage of the situation and, it's paid off! I can't begin to tell you how many people drop by and say, ‘Hey! You were right, we didn't need this or we didn't need that.' I think they really appreciate our honesty and that's what builds trust and long-term relationships.”
Believe it or not, the Restaurant Equippers you see today, is not the same business that it was when Debbi's father started selling items from the garage of their home.
“Dad was looking for a job that would enable him to spend more time with his family. He really wanted to have somewhat of a life outside of work and this became his ticket to success. Starting small and growing his inventory, dad built up a reputation for having the items that others would need if they were going into the restaurant or foodservice business,” says Sugarman.
As the only Holocaust survivor in his family, Morris Dach did not allow the past to dictate the future. Instead, this man whom his daughter describes as a people person with a tremendous spirit and vision, set out to plant the seeds that would yield a return on investment for many generations to come.
“Dad passed away two and half years ago,” notes Sugarman, “I know he would be very proud of what we've accomplished and the direction we're headed. We want to continue his dream and to expand the business even more so, so that our children will have the same opportunities if they choose to run the company someday.”
Sugarman's 83-year-old mother still comes to work everyday and her brother Larry is the other co-owner who helps to keep this well-oiled machine running. Between the showroom in downtown Columbus and their distribution center out near Rickenbacker Airforce Base, Restaurant Equippers has over 150,000 sq. ft. of space that is filled with inventory. Unlike some of their competitors, Sugarman says they buy in bulk and pass the savings along to their customers.
“When we purchase something, we don't just purchase one fryer or one refrigerator, we buy multiples because this way, we get the best possible price and we can keep things at bare bones and our customers win,too,” she adds. “We love working with the Ma & Pops as well as the new start ups. If there's a small business owner out there who has a problem that he or she needs solved and we can help, I want to do it! Being a part of someone else's dream is a privilege.”
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