Q&A with Gummer Wholesale president Chad Gummer
HEATH – Chad Gummer has known what he wanted to do since he was a kid: work at his family business.
“You grow up pushing a broom to driving a truck to doing a sales route, it gets in your blood and you just have a natural passion for it,” he said.
Gummer’s grandfather Charles Gummer started the Newark News Agency in 1953 and the company distributed newspapers such as the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and the Cleveland Plain Dealer to newsstands.
In 1971 Gummer’s father Rick Gummer, bought out Charles and changed the name to Gummer Wholesale.
Gummer, who is now the president of the company, said his father is one of the reasons he is in the business.
“You start out the business and you want to make him proud and then you learn that you’re carving your own destiny as well,” he said.
The company sells about 10,000 brands of products to independent convenience stores, grocery stores, schools and other places across Ohio, West Virginia and northern Kentucky.
“We sell everything pretty much,” he said.
The company has grown in the 45 years since Gummer’s father took over. It’s grown from a four-person operation to now almost 100 employees. It has three locations: one in Heath, Jeffries Supply Company in Newark and Fremont Candy and Tobacco in Fremont.
Q. What do you enjoy most about your job?
A. “I enjoy every aspect. I love watching the product come in and out of the building so fast. I love knowing that I grew up when we were just a small little operation to large corporation that we are today. … I love knowing that the history’s here. I remember the old saying about my grandfather, Charles M. Gummer. He would walk the building with a smile from ear to ear, just amazed at how much the business has changed and I love watching it change as well.”
Q. What are you most proud of about this company?
A. “I’m most proud of our ability to stand up to adversity, meet challenges head on and when people count you out, you know that you’ve got the right team to succeed.”
Q. What has been the biggest challenge in leading this company?
A. “The biggest challenge was taking over the business. The changes in the size of the company, the roles. It was a lot easier when it was just my dad and uncle and grandfather and my brother and sister working in the business. Now you have a lot of people that have a lot of responsibility that buy into it as much as you do and the biggest challenges always is to keep growing in a market that’s not growing.”
Q. What would you like people to know about this company they may not know?
A. “We’re very innovative. We’re ahead of our times in our technology and our efficiencies and we continue to strive for those things. We’re very community driven. … We believe in giving back to our community. We do different fundraisers of all kinds. We have annual charity events. We believe in giving back to the youth of our community and being involved. My mother heads up the blanket drive for the Coalition of Housing and then we have a charity golf outing every year in my grandfather’s name. We take a lot of pride in what we’re able to do.”
Q.How has this business changed through the years?
A. “We started out selling in vans where now we sell in 26, 28 foot straight trucks. We were mainly doing business in central Ohio, which now we literally deliver on barges to the islands of Lake Erie. We’ve expanded our business. I think how we’ve changed the most is the services we offer for our customers to be successful are above the others. We’ve partnered with experts in different categories to set us apart from the average distributor.”
On the lighter side …
Q. What is your favorite movie?
A. The Quiet Man or Patton
Q. What is your favorite TV show of all time?
A. Spin City
Q. Who is your favorite musician or entertainer?
A. Billy Joel
Q. What is your favorite book?
A. Killing Patton or Killing Lincoln, both by Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard
Q. What is your favorite sport or activity to participate in?
A. Spending free time at his kids’ events.
Q. What is favorite sport to watch?
A. College football, and he roots for Ohio State and Notre Dame
Q. What is your favorite pro football team?
A. Cincinnati Bengals
Q. What is your favorite pro basketball team?
A. Cleveland Cavaliers
Q. What is your favorite pro baseball team?
A. Cincinnati Reds
Q. Who is the person you most admire in your life?
A. His father, Rick Gummer
Q. Who is a public figure you most admire?
A. Lou Holtz
Q. If you could go anywhere on vacation, where would you go?
A. He’d go back to Ireland.
Q. If you could be in any other job or profession, what would it be?
A. A small business analyst for the government
Q. What was your favorite class in high school?
Found in The Newark Advocate December 17, 2017