Retail | Wholesale
Food | Beverage
ROBERT A. ‘BOB’ ARCHER
CHAIRMAN AND CEO, BLUE RIDGE BEVERAGE CO., SALEM
Robert Archer runs the wholesale beverage retailer his parents bought in 1959 after moving to Salem. When his father, James Archer, died in 1972, his mother, Regine Archer, became president and forged ahead on decades of growth and acquisitions.
Blue Ridge distributes a broad portfolio of brands, including Miller Lite, Red Bull and Barboursville wine, to more than 4,200 retail customers across
49 counties, bringing in an estimated $75 million to $100 million in annual revenue.
These days, Regine Archer serves as chairman emeritus while son Robert serves as chairman and CEO. An Army veteran and Virginia Tech graduate, Robert Archer recently was named rector of the Radford University board of visitors, to which he was appointed by Gov. Terry McAuliffe in 2016.
Among his other leadership roles, Archer serves on the Virginia War Memorial Foundation board. He also worked with the Virginia ABC to send expired beer to Vanguard Brewpub and Distillery to be turned into hand sanitizer. Some of it was donated to the Sitter & Barfoot Veterans Care Center in Richmond.
GILBERT T. BLAND
CHAIRMAN, THE GILJOY GROUP; PRESIDENT AND CHAIRMAN, URBAN LEAGUE OF HAMPTON ROADS, VIRGINIA BEACH
Bland’s leadership extends far beyond the franchise business he founded in 1985, through which he has owned and operated more than 70 Burger King and Pizza Hut restaurants. Throughout Virginia, his voice also is heard amid boardroom discussions and nonprofit initiatives.
A native of King George County, Bland graduated from James Madison University and earned his MBA from Atlanta University.
In 2018, Bland became president and chairman of the Urban League of Hampton Roads, which supports social and economic equality for African Americans and others. Bland serves as a trustee at Randolph-Macon College and serves on the board of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts and Sentara Healthcare.
WHAT I’VE LEARNED: Persevere — there is always another chance to try it again tomorrow.
MOST RECENT BOOK READ: “Between the World and Me,” by Ta-Nehisi Coates
PERSON I ADMIRE: My deepest admiration is reserved for my African American ancestry who persevered, sacrificed and continued to contribute to building America under some of history’s most challenging life conditions. Any success I have achieved is wholly attributable to the inspiration and strength from their efforts.
CO-FOUNDER AND CEO, CARLOTZ, RICHMOND
Bor left a career in finance to help launch CarLotz in 2011, taking a leap with an idea that car sellers would pay to place their used cars on consignment. CarLotz also has a commercial side, helping re-market cars for customers such as leasing companies, financial institutions and fleet management companies.
CarLotz caught on. It operates three retail locations in Virginia and five in other states. In June 2019, Bor and co-founders Aaron Montgomery and Will Boland received the EY Entrepreneur of the Year Award for the mid-Atlantic from Ernst & Young.
Two months later, CarLotz landed on the Inc. 5000, ranking No. 435 on the list of the country’s fastest-growing private companies. Inc. magazine cited the company’s $38.5 million in annual revenue and three-year revenue growth of more than 1,000%. (It ranked No. 962 on the 2020 Inc. 5000 list, with 482% growth.)
Bor, who says his dream car is a Bugatti Veyron Super Sport, graduated from Lehigh University and earned his MBA from Harvard Business School in 2003. Before CarLotz, he worked at PricewaterhouseCoopers, Lehman Brothers and Harris Williams & Co. He also co-founded Orange Grove Fleet Solutions, for which he serves as chairman.
PRESIDENT, CEO AND MANAGING DIRECTOR, MASSIMO ZANETTI BEVERAGE USA, SUFFOLK
By next summer, Massimo Zanetti Beverage plans to have an even bigger presence in Suffolk. In June, it announced plans to build a nearly 356,000-square-foot distribution center in the Virginia Port Logistics Park. The coffee company’s expansion adds to its corporate headquarters and main roasting operations.
Boyle has led Massimo Zanetti since its formation in December 2005, overseeing its operations in the U.S., Canada and Mexico. The company, which bags and cans about 150 million pounds of coffee per year at its Suffolk plant, is one of North America’s largest private label coffee providers. Its brands include Chock full o’ Nuts, Hills Bros. and Kauai Coffee.
A University of South Carolina graduate, Boyle is a seasoned food and beverage industry executive who has held leadership positions at Nestlé, Tri Valley Growers and Sara Lee Coffee & Tea.
An emeritus member and former chairman of the National Coffee Association board of directors.
REID A. BROWN
PRESIDENT, BROWN DISTRIBUTING, RICHMOND
Brown Distributing and its predecessor have distributed Anheuser-Busch Brown products since the mid-1930s when it became the beer company’s first wholesaler in the Richmond-Petersburg area. One rough annual revenue estimate has the family business bringing in more than $300 million a year.
Reid Brown, a graduate of the University of Colorado at Boulder, presides over Brown’s operations in Virginia and Florida. He’s the great-grandson of Abraham Brown, who started a cherry soda business with his brother in 1919. Abraham and his son, Jacob, eventually formed Brown Distributing in 1951. The family tree of the business continued with Jacob’s son, Larry, and his sons, Jason and Reid. Jason Brown serves as vice president.
One of Brown’s savviest moves came in 2009, when it observed the rise of craft beer. Instead of considering it a threat, it acquired craft distribution companies in Virginia and Florida. Its “Taste the Local” concept promoted craft beer to customers and festivals while offering mainstream choices. Its Florida operation was named Craft Beer Distributor of the Year in 2012 by the National Beer Wholesalers Association and the Brewers Association.
The company recently worked with Anheuser-Busch to donate and deliver thousands of bottles of hand sanitizer.
RICHARD ‘DEN’ CRALLÉ III
PRESIDENT, GREEN FRONT FURNITURE, FARMVILLE
The third-generation leader at Green Front Furniture, Crallé took on an official role at the family business after graduating from Southern Methodist University in 2013. His father, Richard “Dickie” Crallé, who remains owner, began the process of transferring the business to his son in October 2014.
Founded in 1968, Green Front is ranked as a Top 100 U.S. Furniture Store by Furniture Today, which estimated the company’s 2019 revenue at $44.3 million. Green Front’s three locations, which include its flagship Farmville store, have 1.15 million square feet of selling space.
Named president in October 2018, Crallé has his eye on marketing, helping expand Green Front’s presence online and on social media. This year Green Front launched its online Oriental rug store, greenfrontrugs.com.
Green Front is an economic force in Farmville, where Crallé serves on the Farmville Downtown Partnership. He also sits on the board of trustees at Hampden-Sydney College, to which he was appointed in 2016.
BENJAMIN J. DAVENPORT JR.
CHAIRMAN, DAVENPORT ENERGY, FIRST PIEDMONT CORP., CHATHAM
Davenport recalls going on a sales call for his father’s business, then known as Chatham Oil Company, to Goodyear Tire and Rubber. The purchasing agent complained that Goodyear no longer was able to take waste to the landfill.
“And I said, ‘Oh, I can handle it,’” Davenport recalls in a video about the origins of First Piedmont Corp., the waste management and recycling business he started as a result of that meeting in 1969. The company runs a 250-acre industrial landfill in Pittsylvania County.
Davenport also serves as chairman of the now-regional fuel and propane company his late father founded, which became Davenport Energy in 2003. His nephew, Lewis E. Wall Jr., serves as president and CEO of the approximately 150-employee company.
Davenport is vice chairman of the state’s GO Virginia Board, working alongside chairman Thomas F. Farrell II of Dominion Energy and other heavy hitters such as Carilion Clinic’s Nancy Howell Agee to award state economic development grants to local and regional projects.
He also serves on the executive committee of the Virginia Chamber of Commerce.
PRESIDENT AND CEO, LIDL U.S., ARLINGTON
A 12-year veteran of Lidl, Fieber took the reins of the German discount grocer’s U.S. operations in June 2018 after serving as CEO of Lidl Sweden. His predecessor had led the company’s U.S. launch, which included establishing its national headquarters in Arlington in 2015.
Lidl has seen bumps in its expansion plans. But the industry has noticed the speed of openings during Fieber’s term. In May, the company marked its 100th U.S. store opening, with a new location in Georgia. In July 2020, Lidl U.S. was named for the second time to Food & Wine Magazine’s 10 Best Supermarkets in America list.
Despite the coronavirus, the company opened a $100 million regional headquarters and distribution center in Maryland earlier this year — moving up the opening to support increased demand during the pandemic. Fieber has said he wants his stores available to meet community needs during these challenging times.
Fieber spent almost six years at Aldi Süd before joining Lidl in 2008. He held leadership positions at Lidl in Italy, Germany and Sweden before coming to the United States.
DAVID M. GUERNSEY
PRESIDENT AND CEO, GUERNSEY OFFICE PRODUCTS INC., DULLES
Guernsey Office Products will mark its golden anniversary next year and David Guernsey has been there from the beginning.
He founded the Dulles-based family business in 1971, an opportunity that sprang from jobs with Royal Typewriter Co. He grew it into one of the country’s largest office products resellers, with nearly 250 employees and 100 drivers.
Guernsey sells office furniture, break room products, janitorial supplies and promotional items, offering service to Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C.
There was no Amazon in 1971, and Guernsey spoke to The Washington Post in 2018 about the hit his business takes when cities buy from Amazon — contending his service is better and prices competitive.
Guernsey has held a number of leadership roles with industry associations, sits on the board of Comstock Homebuilding Companies Inc., and serves on the GO Virginia Region 7 Council.
He is a past recipient of the Small Business Administration’s Virginia Small Business Person of the Year Award and in 2012 he was inducted into the Arlington Business Hall of Fame. He is a past chairman of the Arlington Chamber and the Fairfax County Chamber of Commerce.
CEO, WHITE HOUSE FOODS, WINCHESTER
Considering the number of apples that become White House apple vinegar, apple juice and applesauce, you start to understand why Gum calls himself the company’s “Core EO.” White House is the country’s largest privately owned apple processor. Gum has said there aren’t enough apples produced in Virginia to meet the company’s needs.
A native of the Winchester area, Gum was 20 when he joined the company, which has roots going back more than 110 years. He and his family took it over from the Armstrong family in 2006. The Gums own a number of other businesses, including National Fruit Product Company Inc. and furniture maker Henkel Harris, a 67-year-old company that the Gums rescued in 2013. They also own Woodside Farms, a major Angus beef cattle producer in New Market.
The Gum family is known for its community support. In 2013, the Virginia Foundation for Community College Education presented Gum and his wife, Paige, the Chancellor’s Award for Leadership in Philanthropy. They were nominated by Lord Fairfax Community College for their support of Great Expectations, a program that helps students who have been part of the foster care system. Gum also has served on the board of the Virginia Manufacturers Association.
CEO, VIRGINIA ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGE CONTROL AUTHORITY, RICHMOND
Liquor is a serious moneymaker for the commonwealth. Last year, Virginia ABC broke revenue records, cracking the $1 billion mark.
ABC’s operations are overseen by Hill, who was named its CEO in January 2018 after serving a little more than three years as its chief operating officer.
Hill attributes ABC’s sales growth to better convenience, effective promotions, customer trends and more retail locations — ABC now has 389 stores across Virginia.
“Customers aren’t necessarily drinking more,” he says. “They’re buying more premium products that have a higher per bottle price tag. Additionally, they’re choosing distilled spirits over other products.”
Hill graduated from the University of North Carolina, staying to earn his J.D. before starting his legal career at Williams Mullen in Richmond. After almost eight years with the firm, he was appointed deputy secretary of agriculture and forestry. He served under Govs. Bob McDonnell and Terry McAuliffe before starting at Virginia ABC in October 2014.
GEORGE L. HOLM
CHAIRMAN, PRESIDENT AND CEO, PERFORMANCE FOOD GROUP CO., RICHMOND
Holm oversees a $30 billion company that distributes food and related products to more than 200,000 locations across a network of more than 100 distribution centers — and under his watch, Performance Food Group has been expanding its reach.
Last year, the company acquired the Illinois-based tobacco and candy distributor Eby-Brown Co. LLC, which served 20 states and posted $5.3 billion in fiscal 2018 revenue. In December, Performance Food Group closed on its acquisition of Reinhart Foodservice LLC, the country’s second-largest privately held foodservice distributor.
Holm is a graduate of Grand Canyon University and has worked in food service distribution his entire career — including stints at Alliant Foodservice, US Foods and Sysco Corp. In 2002, he founded Vistar, which stocks vending machines, concessions, markets and hotel snack bars.
Vistar grew into a $3.5 billion company, which was purchased by equity firms in 2007 and merged with Performance Food Group, which the equity firms bought for $1.3 billion in 2008. That’s when Holm became president and CEO of the new company. Performance Food Group became a publicly traded company in 2015 and Holm was named its chairman in January 2019.
CO-FOUNDER, CHAIRMAN AND CEO, CUSTOM INK, FAIRFAX
Katz was a Harvard University physics graduate who headed for Wall Street as a financial analyst. But after a year, he decided to change things up — joining three of his former classmates in developing a T-shirt business called Custom Ink in 1999.
The idea was to let customers design their own T-shirts and order them online. The company launched in March 2000 — now considered the height of the dot-com bubble. But their business didn’t burst. Custom Ink landed on the Inc. 5000 list in 2010. And Katz told Virginia Business that his company’s revenues tripled from 2012 to 2015.
In April 2019, The Washington Post reported Custom Ink’s revenue at $400 million, citing industry experts that valued the company at more than $500 million. The estimates accompanied news that two of Custom Ink’s major shareholders were cashing out while Great Hill Partners, a private equity firm, was buying in to help grow the company. A few months later, Custom Ink acquired online concert merch seller Sidestep.
In March, Custom Ink furloughed about 75% of its 1,700 employees due to the pandemic’s economic fallout, with Katz saying in an email to employees that the company was “hemorrhaging cash and needs to cut the large majority of its spending to get out to the other side of this and rebuild.”
PRESIDENT AND CEO, GPM INVESTMENTS LLC, RICHMOND
As a 28-year-old Israeli venture capitalist, Kotler saw potential in Richmond-based Fas Mart, a 169-unit convenience store chain that was going through bankruptcy when his investors bought it in 2003.
Three years later, they’d made “tens of millions of dollars in profit,” Kotler told trade publication CSP magazine in a 2013 interview. When they sold their stake in 2006, he said, they made 10 times their equity.
But Kotler, who’s lived in the United States since 1997, bought back into the business in August 2011. He oversaw a stream of acquisitions as CEO, adding hundreds of convenience stores — including Jiffy Stop, Scotchman and E-Z Marts.
In December 2019, GPM announced its intention to acquire Dallas-based Empire Petroleum Partners, which, when the deal closes, will add 1,457 wholesale fuel locations and 77 retail stores. The larger company will distribute 2.5 billion gallons of fuel annually across more than 2,800 sites in 33 states and Washington, D.C.
Its next big move was announced in July: a letter of intent to combine GPM with its parent, Arko — Kotler’s Israeli holding company — through an acquisition company. Kotler will lead the combined venture, which would be listed on the Nasdaq Stock Market.
DANIEL ‘DANNY’ LEGGE
CEO, BROWN AUTOMOTIVE GROUP LTD., FAIRFAX
Legge runs the Northern Virginia-based megadealer Brown Automotive Group, founded by William Schuiling in 1972.
The company represents a broad portfolio of brands in the Virginia, Maryland and District of Columbia areas — holding the title of largest privately owned automotive company in the Mid-Atlantic region. Dun & Bradstreet estimates its annual revenue at $154 million.
Last year, Brown opened a Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep and Ram dealership in the Dulles Auto Park, adding more than 100 new jobs to the area. It also opened a used-car outlet, Brown’s Richmond Truck & Trade, in Richmond.
Legge came up through the ranks, starting at a Brown’s dealership in high school and college. His appointment to CEO represents a philosophy of promoting from within that he encouraged when he was named group president of the dealerships.
“When we made that change in personnel, it was also a change in approach,” former CEO Charles Stringfellow told Automotive News in 2013. “Danny said, ‘Let’s promote from within and see where we go.’ And it worked.”
Stringfellow said the change helped the company develop talent and overcome challenges of holding onto managers of dealerships.
WILLIAM W. ‘BILL’ LOVETTE
EXECUTIVE CHAIRMAN, SAUER BRANDS INC., RICHMOND
Lovette knows both chicken and egg. He grew up learning his family’s poultry business — and decades later, in 2012, became chairman of the National Chicken Council. He is still viewed as an industry leader, serving as keynote speaker in January during the USPOULTRY Foundation’s executive luncheon at the International Production & Processing Expo.
These days, Lovette is hatching plans at Sauer Brands. In December 2018, Lovette joined Charlotte-based Falfurrias Capital Group as a private equity adviser. Falfurrias acquired the family-owned C.F. Sauer Co. last year. The Richmond-based spice company, which is more than 130 years old, also owns Duke’s Mayonnaise, Gold Medal and BAMA.
During the acquisition, Lovette became executive chairman of Sauer Brands. He also served as interim CEO for a few months while the company searched for a permanent chief, which it found in Martin Kelly, named president and CEO in November.
Lovette is a graduate of Texas A&M University and Harvard Business Schools Advanced Management Program. His career includes 25 years at Tyson Foods, followed by terms as president and CEO of Case Foods Inc. and Pilgrim’s, which he left in March 2019.
FLOYD MERRYMAN III
PRESIDENT AND CEO, SONNY MERRYMAN INC., EVINGTON
It may have been difficult to imagine buses running on anything but gasoline or diesel fuel when Merryman’s late father, Sonny, opened a Thomas Built Buses dealership in 1967.
But the 53-year-old company stepped into the electric bus business last year, landing a contract from Dominion Energy Virginia for the first phase of an electric school bus rollout to Virginia schools, the largest such deployment in the country.
In May, Merryman accepted the 2019 Dealer of the Year award from Thomas Built Buses in a surprise visit from the company’s president. Merryman has been with his family’s business going on 40 years, since his graduation from Virginia Tech’s Pamplin College of Business.
He and his family members are longtime donors there, with the Merryman Athletic Facility bearing their name. They fund several scholarships and support the Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets. In 2019, they committed $2 million to be split between Pamplin and the athletic program. Merryman also serves on the GO Virginia Region 2 Council, which makes recommendations on regional projects to receive state economic development grants.
CEO, FERGUSON ENTERPRISES INC., NEWPORT NEWS
In the three years since Murphy took the helm of Ferguson Enterprises, he’s overseen acquisitions, the launch of a venture capital arm, the construction of an $86 million expansion to its Newport News headquarters — and now a demerger of Ferguson’s parent company, to which he was appointed CEO in September 2019.
Murphy, a graduate of Miami University of Ohio, started his career with Ferguson Enterprises in 1999, when it acquired his family business, Midwest Pipe and Supply. After leading its Waterworks business, Murphy was named COO of Ferguson in 2007. A decade later, he became CEO, running the country’s largest plumbing distributor.
Ferguson’s parent company split off its U.K. operations in September 2019 to focus on its U.S. business, naming Murphy to lead the charge.
Ferguson acquired Columbia Pipe & Supply Co. in 2020, a company that posted $220 million in revenue the year prior. It made $141 million in acquisitions during the first half of this year, Ferguson recently reported, along with U.S. revenue growth of 5%.
FOUNDER AND CEO, FIVE GUYS BURGERS ENTERPRISES, LORTON
Murrell’s mom told him, “If you don’t study, you’ll be flipping burgers.” That was advice he took to heart, he told Inc. magazine in 2014.
In 1986, Murrell and his wife, Janie, opened Five Guys Burgers and Fries in Arlington. The name referred to Murrell and the couple’s four sons. However, in 1988, Janie had one more son, so the “Five Guys” now refers to their five sons, all of whom work for the family business. The fast-food chain has won praise from Washingtonian readers and Zagat’s annual fast food survey.
They opened their restaurants in the metro D.C. area, expanding into the franchise business in Virginia and Maryland in 2002. A year later, they went national. And within 10 years Forbes was writing about Five Guys becoming the country’s fastest-growing restaurant chain, reporting that it had topped $1 billion in revenue.
Murrell’s company now has more than 1,500 locations in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and beyond, adding a location in Singapore in December 2019.
WILLIAM D. ‘BILL’ NASH
PRESIDENT AND CEO, CARMAX INC., RICHMOND
After graduating from James Madison University, Nash spent two years as a CPA before taking a job with Circuit City — the company that started the used-car retailer CarMax with the idea of changing the car sales industry via a “no-haggle” perspective.
It all seemed to fit, Nash told his alma mater’s newspaper, The Breeze: “I was looking to get into the operations, leverage my business background, my accounting background, and starting that auction group up and running — that just kind of checked all the boxes for me.”
After shifting to CarMax in 1997, he was promoted to a variety of executive positions before being named president and CEO in 2016.
CarMax saw sales drop and stores close during the coronavirus, but its 2019 fiscal year, which ended in February, saw an 11.8% increase in net sales, bringing its revenue to $20.32 billion.
The company is ranked No. 173 on the Fortune 500 and is one of 19 companies in Virginia on the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s “Best Places to Work for LGBTQ Equality.” CarMax also pledged $1 million to racial justice efforts in 2020.
CEO, CARTER MACHINERY, SALEM
When Parker joined Carter Machinery in 2011, the company was transitioning back to a private, independent supplier of construction and mining equipment, engines and turbines.
Carter traces its roots back 93 years, and by the 1980s it was one of the top-performing Caterpillar dealerships in North America. In 1988, Caterpillar acquired Carter, making it the only Caterpillar dealership not independently owned.
By 2011, the company employed 1,200 people in 23 facilities, serving Virginia and southern West Virginia. That year, Caterpillar sold Carter back to a group of senior managers that included Jim Parker, who came out of retirement to serve as Carter’s CEO. His son, Drew, served as executive vice president.
Today, Carter has more than 2,100 employees and continues to grow. Parker, a finance graduate of University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, took over as CEO in 2018.
He oversaw the April acquisition of Baltimore-based Alban Tractor Co. Inc. The deal expands Carter’s reach into Northern Virginia, D.C., Maryland and Delaware, giving it the mid-Atlantic’s largest rental inventory.
In April 2018, Virginia Western Community College named Parker and his wife, Kate, recipients of its Community Impact Award for a $300,000 gift.
PRESIDENT, CEO AND OWNER, VAMAC INC., RICHMOND
If water runs through it, then VAMAC probably sells it. Perry’s family business is one of the East Coast’s largest sellers of plumbing, septic and water-treatment supplies, water heaters and
bathroom and kitchen fixtures.
VAMAC is a 105-year-old business that’s grown to 20 locations serving Virginia, North Carolina, West Virginia, Maryland and Delaware. Perry’s grandfather, Julian, who joined the company in 1923, was instrumental in its expansion. Kenneth Perry, Julian’s son and Chris Perry’s father, later took over the business and remains its chairman.
The company has showrooms in Richmond and Fredericksburg and a distribution center in Winchester. VAMAC offers local delivery and also specializes in helping contractors with a self-selection service that improves efficiency.
Perry, a civil engineering graduate of Virginia Military Institute, started as president and chief operating officer in 1992. He became CEO in 1994. VAMAC has expanded to a string of new locations under his leadership.
CHAIRMAN AND CEO, NESTLÉ USA, ARLINGTON
Presley’s earliest days with Nestlé were spent in Virginia as a controller for the Nestlé Carnation factory in Suffolk in the late ’90s. After three years, he was transferred to the company’s operations in Glendale, California. There, Presley focused on finance and was promoted to executive positions before being named president of Nestlé Business Services in 2009. He was named chief financial officer in October 2013 and added strategic transformation officer to his title in 2016.
In that role, he was instrumental in relocating the company’s national headquarters to Arlington, a decision announced in 2017. Presley was chairman and CEO when Nestlé opened its new home in Arlington’s Rosslyn neighborhood in July 2018.
Presley, whose first job was as a grade-school paperboy, is a graduate of the University of South Florida. In an essay posted on Medium, he writes about running toward the fire, a piece of advice he was given: “When there’s a business or team that’s struggling, or where the unknown feels vast and insurmountable, don’t run the other way out of fear. Embrace those challenges and find solutions.”
CEO AND CO-FOUNDER, RATNER COS. LC, VIENNA
Ratner built an empire of more than 700 walk-in, family friendly hair salons that could serve men or women, but faced difficult times heading into 2020. The business, including Hair Cuttery and other salons, was hurting and COVID-19 only made matters worse.
Hair Cuttery closed its doors in March, with The Wall Street Journal reporting on its outstanding payroll, which has set off some litigation woes. Ratner Cos. filed for Chapter 11, saying it will pay workers what they are owed.
As part of the restructuring, Tacit Salon Holdings acquired the salons. In July, the new owners announced that they had reopened 500 of the salons. Tacit is led by investor Azhar Quader and Seth Gittlitz, formerly CFO for hospitality company Major Food Group and Ricky’s NYC hair salons.
The Ratner Cos. history page has been excised from the Hair Cuttery website, but Ratner is credited with a business legacy in which he opened his first store at 19 with no formal education, and created the country’s largest privately owned and operated chain of hair salons.
GRANT F. REID
PRESIDENT AND CEO, MARS INC., MCLEAN
Reid oversees the largest private company in Virginia, a generations-old business owned by one of the wealthiest families in the country. With annual revenue of more than $35 billion, the candy and food manufacturer produces brands such as Snickers, M&Ms, Pedigree pet foods and Uncle Ben’s rice products. (Amid national racial equity protests this summer, Mars announced the latter line will undergo an unspecified “brand identity” change.)
Reid is a graduate of the University of Stirling in Scotland, where he grew up. He earned a post-grad degree from the Chartered Institute of Marketing. He became global president of Mars Chocolate in April 2009, overseeing record sales. Five years later, he became president and CEO of Mars Inc.
Reid has led acquisitions of companies such as veterinary care provider VCA, as well as the purchase of Berkshire Hathaway’s 20% minority ownership of Mars subsidiary Wrigley.
Reid told Bloomberg Businessweek in 2019 that Mars could double in size over the next decade: “If you’re really going to keep relevant for the next 100 years, you’ve got to be growing. So, part of the vision is we want to be in the categories that are growing in order to be vibrant.”
SENIOR GENERAL MANAGER, WILLIAMSBURG BREWERY, ANHEUSER-BUSCH INBEV, WILLIAMSBURG
Williamsburg has Colonial history, Busch Gardens, William & Mary — and a brewery that’s been open since 1972, now owned by Anheuser-Busch InBev.
The global company operates 260 breweries in more than 50 countries, with its North American headquarters in St. Louis, Missouri. Williamsburg is one of a dozen of its flagship breweries. Schilling took the helm there in December from longtime manager Jeff Scott.
Schilling is a graduate of the University of Missouri-Columbia. She was the brewing manager for Anheuser-Busch in Columbus, Ohio, and became a brewmaster for the company in Cartersville, Georgia, before moving to Greater St. Louis as global director of brewing and quality.
Schilling recently promoted a virtual fundraiser in place of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s canceled Clean the Bay Day. In an interview with Chesapeake Bay Magazine, she said, “We feel in all of our facilities that it’s our responsibility to help take care of the community, whether it be our people, the water supply, the water quality [or] the general environmental conditions where we do business.”
STEVEN C. SMITH
PRESIDENT AND CEO, FOOD CITY, ABINGDON
With 16,000 employees across more than 130 stores in Virginia, Kentucky, Georgia and Tennessee, supermarket chain executive Smith runs a $2.5 billion family business, founded in part by his father.
The company celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2018, because of its Food City roots in Tennessee. But the market his family members started, K-VA-T Food Stores, began with the opening of a Piggly Wiggly in Grundy in 1955.
The store grew into a chain with the acquisition of Piggly Wiggly, Quality Foods, Winn-Dixie and other stores across the South. It’s also expanded to sell gas and offer pharmacy services.
Food City takes pride in its charitable giving and promotes itself as NASCAR’s second-longest-running sponsor, with the Food City 500 and Food City 300 at Bristol Motor Speedway.
Smith, who’s been with the company for 40 years, received the Grocery Manufacturers Association Industry Collaboration Leadership Award in 2015. He also serves on the board of directors for the privately owned food industry co-op Topco Associates LLC and on the state board of GO Virginia, which approves state-funded economic development grants for regional projects across Virginia.
KENNETH M. SULLIVAN
PRESIDENT AND CEO, SMITHFIELD FOODS INC., SMITHFIELD
Hams produced in the small town of Smithfield come packaged with nearly 85 years of history. Founded in 1936 by Joseph Luter and his son, Smithfield Foods is now the world’s largest pig and pork producer. It was acquired in 2013 for $4.72 billion by China’s largest meat producer, WH Group.
A decade before that merger, Sullivan joined Smithfield through the accounting door. He served as vice president of internal audit, chief accounting officer and vice president of finance before being named chief financial officer in 2013.
A Virginia Commonwealth University graduate, Sullivan was named president and chief operating officer in 2015 and CEO in 2016. He’s overseen several acquisitions of pork processors, adding under Smithfield’s umbrella brands and companies such as Farmer John, Saag’s Specialty Meat and Kansas City Sausage Co. LLC.
This year, Smithfield was forced to temporarily close its Sioux Falls, South Dakota, processing facility, after it was hit by a COVID-19 outbreak.
Sullivan also leads philanthropic projects. He helped break fundraising records as chairman of the Richmond Heart Ball’s 25th anniversary in 2017. This summer, Smithfield pledged $30 million worth of food to Feeding America.
PRESIDENT AND CEO, LL FLOORING, RICHMOND
Tyson was barely 20 months into his new job as chief customer experience officer at Lumber Liquidators (now LL Flooring) when he was named one of two interim chiefs to share leadership duties in February 2020, following the resignation of CEO Dennis Knowles.
LL Flooring shareholders had watched their stock decline steadily at the specialty flooring retailer. On top of that, when Tyson was named
as president and CEO in May, it was in the middle of a pandemic — with only 60% of the company’s 420 stores fully operational.
Tyson is a product of Macy’s executive training program who worked as a merchandising executive with Caldor Inc. and Office Depot. In 2001, he became president of DiversiTech Group Manufacturing, a $425 million private branded products manufacturer with a focus on tools. Then he joined OfficeMax as senior vice president of technology merchandising.
In 2008, Tyson was named executive vice president of merchandising, marketing and supply chain at Advance Auto, where he stayed for nine years before arriving at LL Flooring. After a national search for a CEO, the company’s board seems to have faith that Tyson can improve the retailer’s position, calling him a “world-class leader.”
ROBERT S. ‘BOBBY’ UKROP
CHAIRMAN AND CEO, UKROP’S HOMESTYLE FOODS LLC, RICHMOND
Ukrop is a member of the Richmond family that founded and ran Ukrop’s Super Markets for more than 70 years. Started by his parents, the stores were known for their service and quality, growing into a strong hometown brand with loyal customers.
Ukrop served as CEO of Ukrop’s Super Markets for 12 years before he and his brother, Jim, led the family’s sale of the chain in 2010 to Giant-Carlisle, a subsidiary of Netherlands-based Ahold.
The Ukrops retained ownership of their prepared foods brand, however. And that venture has grown into a portfolio of 800 products sold in grocery stores around the nation. Its products include prepared foods, desserts and the company’s signature White House Rolls.
Ukrop’s Homestyle Foods, which employs 450 people and also offers catering services, plans to open a dine-in food hall in Henrico County in November.
Ukrop is a graduate of the University of Richmond and the Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia. He served on UR’s board of trustees for 20 years and was inducted into its alumni hall of fame last year. He is a former chairman of the Retail Merchants Association and ChamberRVA.
PRESIDENT AND CEO, STERLING MOTORCARS, STERLING
When Thomas A. Moorehead decided to semi-retire after 34 years leading Sterling Motorcars, he handpicked his successor. In April 2019, he named White as president and CEO, saying, “He possesses my drive and passion for the community as well as the business.”
White has big shoes to fill. Moorehead was a pioneer in the industry, the first African American to own a Rolls Royce, Lamborghini and McLaren dealership. His luxury dealership also maintains ties with its hometown through the Community C.A.R.E. Program, and has donated more than $1.8 million to students, families and charities.
White arrived at Sterling with a career full of automotive experience. He was vice president and a partner at the Texas-based Van Tuyl Group Inc. dealership from 2000 to 2007. Executive roles followed at Orr Auto Group, World Auto Group and the CAR Group. Before coming to Sterling, White served as president of the Dallas-Fort Worth AutoNation market.
CEO EMERITUS, PERMATREAT PEST CONTROL, FREDERICKSBURG
After graduating from Washington and Lee University in 1963, Wilson came to Richmond as a junior cost accountant for Reynolds Metals. After a short stint there, he embarked on a new career course, becoming a manager trainee with Orkin Pest Control.
For the next 17 years, the Buena Vista native worked his way up the ladder, eventually becoming a regional vice president responsible for the Midwest region, overseeing 13 states. In 1982 he ran across a business in Fredericksburg, PermaTreat Pest Control, and bought it in a handshake deal.
When Atlanta-based Rollings Inc. — parent company of Orkin, Western Pest Services and others — announced its plans to acquire PermaTreat in 2014, the company had more than 100 employees. Now it has more than 120, serving more than 30,000 customers.
Wilson, who serves as CEO emeritus, was a Fredericksburg City Council member and has been very involved in the community. In 2018, he and his wife gave a $5 million gift to support the Joe and Mary Wilson Community Benefit Fund of Mary Washington Hospital Foundation. Wilson serves
on the state board of GO Virginia.
PLANT MANAGER, THE HERSHEY CO., STUARTS DRAFT
Before arriving at The Hershey Co.’s second-largest U.S. plant, located in Stuart’s Draft, Winnett had built a 30-year career in operations management for the food industry.
First it was oats, working as a frontline supervisor in St. Joseph, Missouri, for Quaker Oats in 1986. Then it was puff cereal for General Mills in Greater Chicago. He followed those jobs with leadership roles at International Multifoods in Kansas City and Golden Oval Eggs/Rembrandt Enterprises in Alabama.
A graduate of the University of Southern Mississippi, Winnett landed at Hershey in 2012, becoming plant manager of its Robinson, Illinois, chocolate factory. He arrived in the chocolatier’s hometown headquarters in Hershey, Pennsylvania, in October 2015, where he spent six months as director of manufacturing excellence.
He’s been in Virginia since March 2016, where Hershey employs more than 1,000 people and is investing in big expansions.
Last year, Hershey announced a $104 million, 111,000-square-foot expansion at its Stuarts Draft plant to make penuche and peanut cream to be distributed to other Hershey facilities on the East Coast. There was more news in June, when Hershey said it would invest another $135 million for a 90,000-square-foot expansion, creating 110 jobs.
MICHAEL A. WITYNSKI
PRESIDENT AND CEO, DOLLAR TREE STORES INC., CHESAPEAKE
Dollar Tree’s board appointed Witynski in July to succeed CEO Gary Philbin, whose retirement from a 40-year retailing career was announced simultaneously. A summer transition was underway, with Philbin staying on as a board member and executive until September.
Witynski, a graduate of Benedictine University in Lisle, Illinois, was an internal candidate. He started as senior vice president of stores in 2010, was named chief operating officer in 2015 and two years later added president to his title.
While Witynski was COO, Dollar Tree acquired Family Dollar for $8.5 billion. Dollar Tree operates more than 15,000 stores in nearly every state, reporting more than $22 billion in revenue last year.
Executive Chairman Bob Sasser said of Witynski, “He helped put in place a broad range of operational and talent initiatives to position our company for an even more successful future, as witnessed by the recent successes at Family Dollar.”
Before his time at Dollar Tree, Witynski was an executive at Supervalu and served as president of Shaw’s Supermarkets.
CEO AND PRESIDENT, WOODFIN CO., RICHMOND
Woodfin leads the company his parents founded in 1977, having spent his career at the expanding family business.
After earning his electrical engineering degree from Virginia Military Institute, Woodfin graduated from the University of Virginia Darden School of Business in 1995. He went straight to work at Woodfin Oil, working as a retail manager.
In 1987, he became chief operating officer and executive vice president of Woodfin Heating Inc. — where he spent nearly 24 years before being named president and CEO of the company in 2011. The following year, he became board chairman of the Virginia Petroleum Convenience and Grocery Association. The group credited him with helping amend Virginia’s motor fuels tax laws “for the first time in a generation,” naming him Virginia Oil Man of the Year — an award his late father received posthumously in 2011.
Woodfin oversaw the move of the company’s headquarters from a little east of Richmond, in Mechanicsville, to an 18,000-square-foot warehouse in Richmond’s trendy Scott’s Addition neighborhood in 2015. Woodfin also serves as CEO of a Central Virginia mechanical construction company, EMC.
PRESIDENT, CO-FOUNDER AND CHAIRMAN, EVERGREEN ENTERPRISES; CEO AND CO-OWNER, PLOW AND HEARTH, RICHMOND
It doesn’t take much to notice the lack of female-led business startups in the United States. As someone who’s been there, Xu is sponsoring an inaugural Female Founders Speakers Series this year at the VCU School of Business, where she serves on the school’s foundation board. VCU announced the project in February.
Xu is a Shanghai native who moved to Richmond in 1989. Four years later, she’d founded a decorative flag business out of her garage, growing it into one of the country’s largest flag wholesalers. Now expanded to include home decor and garden products, Evergreen Enterprises posts approximately $250 million in annual revenue.
In 2010 Xu and husband, Frank Qiu, bought PH International LLC, parent company to a number of brands, including Plow & Hearth, for which Xu serves as CEO. In 2014, PH consolidated its operations with VivaTerra LLC, investing $4.5 million on an expansion of its headquarters in Madison County.
In 2017, Junior Achievement of Central Virginia named Xu to its Greater Richmond Business Hall of Fame. Xu has also been involved with the Organization of Chinese Americans and the Maggie L. Walker Governor’s School.