By Vincent Dajani
In “Where Are They Now?”, SmartCEO takes another look at companies and CEOs previously featured on our magazine cover. Guy Berliner’s cover story appeared in April 2012. Read it here. If your company was featured on our cover and you’re interested in having us revisit your story, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Guy Berliner, president of Berliner Specialty Distributors, was thrilled to give us an update on how he’s been since the article ran. “I always thought a good show would be ‘Where are they now?’” he says. “I wonder whatever happened to blank?”
So what has this modern-day Good Humor man been up to since 2012? Well, quite a lot.
His territory in the U.S. has rapidly expanded thanks to Unilever’s ice cream distribution business model. Unilever has entered the ice cream distribution market in a different way, similar to places like Europe and Asia. Instead of having multiple distributors in each area, “Unilever ice cream, which owns Good Humor, Ben & Jerry’s, Klondike, Magnum, has gone to market [with] some exclusive distributors,” Berliner says. Now distributors, called concessionaires, “are given a much bigger territory and they are the exclusive distributor of that territory.”
What does this mean for Berliner? Well, he was chosen as Unilever’s national distributor of the year for two years in a row, so when it came time to determine the territories for concessionaires in the U.S., Berliner was a frontrunner. He was the first concessionaire chosen in 2013 — one of only 15 distributors that handle nearly 65 percent of all ice cream in the country. And his territory is massive, ranging from the border between New York and New Jersey all the way to North Carolina and the eastern counties of Pennsylvania, Berliner says. “All of the ice cream that comes into that territory comes through us for everything except supermarkets.” And that has meant some excellent growth for his brand.
“We’ve hired sales people, customer service reps and we’ve reinforced our infrastructure with some good, solid people,” Berliner says. But the ice cream business doesn’t just stop at distribution. Berliner’s business includes a special events division that provides ice cream carts or Good Humor trucks for business events.
And who says you can’t be creative with ice cream? Berliner has added a new product to his special events called “Ice Cream Party in a Box!”
“We came up with a new concept that no one in the country has done,” Berliner says. “It’s a box that’s insulated and the outside has a graphic of the old-fashioned Good Humor truck. We sent it to the location and it can feed a ton of people!”
The party boxes “would be good for someone who has an insurance company and wants to thank clients. They can take one person out to dinner [on their budget] or they can send a whole bunch of these to clients,” Berliner says. “It’s unique and it’s fun.”
So next time you enjoy an ice cream or know someone else who would, think of Guy Berliner.