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It’s a partnership that’s lasted 37 years and continues to grow. That’s how strong the relationship has been between Harry Meyers and Henny Penny (HP), the well-known manufacturer of premium foodservice equipment.
After a short stint with Ecolab after graduating from Fairleigh Dickinson University, Meyers joined HP as a sales rep with responsibility for Eastern Pennsylvania, Delaware and New Jersey. Four years later, Meyers was offered the opportunity to acquire the distributorship for that territory and the foundation of HP Sales Northeast was created. Over the past 33 years, the relationship between Meyers and HP has flourished.
The Eaton, OH equipment fabricator and designer has continued to produce durable and versatile products that have proven to be popular with not only restaurants, but with food retailers who utilize HP’s products in the delis. For HP Sales Northeast, a keen focus on customer service has accelerated the company’s expansion efforts. The Mount Laurel, NJ-based firm now sells and services customers from Delaware to Maine, making HP Sales Northeast the largest independent HP distributor in the country. The New England expansion is relatively new. HP Sales Northeast had been covering the Delaware Valley and New York Metro markets for many years. In 2020, at the behest of the parent firm, HP Sales Northeast opened its first New England office in Hopkinton, MA. Today, HP Sales Northeast employs 15 associates.
In 2012, Harry’s son, Corey joined the company and now serves as director of marketing and inside sales. We asked the father and son team what they believe have been the key components of the distributor’s success.
“Understanding and anticipating the needs of our customers is vital to our business,” said Harry. “We spend a lot of time training store associates about how to operate the equipment they purchased. I feel the relationship between our retailers and us is truly a partnership. Between our team at HP Sales Northeast and the corporate HP service associates, I also believe that our ability to execute at a high level is what separates us from other equipment distributors.”
Corey added: “Our customer base is constantly evolving and each customer’s needs are somewhat different. We understand that we are operating in several distinctively different marketing areas and we have a sales team that understands the nuances of each market and each customer. As Harry said, that’s a difference maker.
HP Sales Northeast does about 65 percent of its business in the retail segment, serving some of the biggest chains and top independent retailers in an area that is diverse and highly competitive. Henny Penny, which practically invented the pressure fryer business in 1957, continues to maintain a dominant market share with its legacy item as well as open fryers (requiring less oil), rotisserie ovens, “combi” ovens, display warmers and holding cabinets.
In addition to its core HP brand, the distributor also sells products from Preprite (blast chillers, vacuum sealers), Smokaroma (pressure smokers), Liebherr (commercial refrigeration equipment), Doregrill (French-made rotisserie ovens), Frontline (smart oil management solutions), and Ayr King (breading, blending and sifting equipment).
“All of those other lines that we sell complement the Henny Brands items which remain the focus of our business,” Harry explained.
Asked if his business has been impacted by some of the supply chain challenges that many manufacturers and most retailers face today, Harry stated product availability has not been a factor until very recently.
“HP has a significant advantage because they are based in the U.S. and build their own component boards which allows them to keep the fabrication process in-house,” Harry explained. “Like many involved in the food business, 2020 was a record year and most of 2021 was also very strong. Recently, because of very high demand, there has been a bit of a slowdown, but we expect that to be a temporary bump and we’re optimistic about our sales projections going forward.”
Harry also believes that HP Sales Northeast is well positioned for the future. Along with Corey, Hal and Kimberly Guns serve as sales and office manager respectively and Lindsay Meyers is the service manager at HP Sales Northeast.
A priority on customer service, a product line with a strong pedigree and an entrepreneurial spirit that includes a strong work ethic and attention to detail have all contributed to the continuing success of HP Sales Northeast.
*The featured photo shows the leadership team at HP Sales Northeast: (l-r) Kimberly Guns, office manager; Hal Guns, sales manager; Harry Meyers, president; Corey Meyers, director of marketing and inside sales; and Lindsay Meyers, service manager.*