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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — S. Abraham & Sons Inc. (SAS) will kick off the celebration of its 90th year anniversary at its 31st Vendor Exhibit & Trade Show here on Feb. 23-24 at DeVos Place. The theme of the annual event is "The Roaring Twenties — Celebrating 90 Years in Convenience Retailing!"
More than 1,000 customers are expected to attend the trade show, which will feature 176 booths representing 350 suppliers. The show will showcase and promote traditional and new item introductions, and guests will be entertained at The Great Gatsby Gala during the evening of Thursday, Feb. 23. A plated dinner will be followed by a performance by mentalist and magician Oz Pearlman.
The company began operations on April 1, 1927, when Sleyman Abraham, an immigrant from Lebanon, opened a small retail store in Grand Rapids. Sleyman's son Abe joined the business as the company added tobacco to its product mix, followed by other sons James and Wade, and daughter Dolores. Today, SAS is one of the nation's leading wholesaler distributors that specializes in the food industry, and services more than 3,000 convenience, grocery, and drug store retailers, college/university retail, and wholesale accounts.
"Our business was established on certain values and those values have remained here," said SAS President Alan Abraham. "Our commitment to quality, value and service is the common thread throughout the generations of leadership in our business. Customers are very important to us and we realize that in a highly-competitive business environment relationships are critical to our success. We are able to maintain those relationships through our commitment to excellence in all facets of our business, enabling SAS to exceed our customer's expectations."
Along with values and customer relationships, officials at the fourth-generation company credit its success to the way it has leveraged technology to stay relevant. In the 1950s, SAS was one of the first in the United States to use an IBM pilot program to electronically manage inventory and billing. Today, it offers a proprietary NexGen handheld ordering device that gives customers a virtual, on-demand ordering and inventory system.
"What will change our lives and our business, is technology and staying ahead of it; that's just the sign of our times," said Executive Vice President Jerry Abraham. "We have to be able to think how technology will affect what we do and look for the next development that will help us provide better service and a competitive edge."
Today, SAS offers more than 11,000 SKUs, including grocery, refrigerated and frozen foods; a variety of foodservice offerings for every daypart; and its fresh offering, Fresh Ridge Farms, which consists of fresh-made salads, sandwiches, soups and fruit cups.