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Persevering Through Every Challenge

Patricia Bible
President and CEO
KaTom Restaurant Supply

In the 1990s, when e-commerce was still in its infancy, Patricia Bible’s husband, Tim, had the dream of taking the traditional mail-order catalog model for restaurant equipment online.

“I can recall a lot of people being skeptical that anyone would ever buy a fork online, much less a refrigerator, but Tim believed it was the future and he’s been proven right,” says Bible, founder, president and CEO at KaTom Restaurant Supply.

“We lost Tim just before the website went live in 2001, but we’ve remained focused on his dream of taking KaTom online and retained his dedication to providing personalized service to every customer,” Bible says. “That has made all the difference.”

Fast-forward to 2024 and KaTom’s meteoric growth has turned the woman-owned company into the country’s sixth largest foodservice equipment and supplies dealer, according to FES magazine’s 2023 Distribution Giants list. That growth appears unlikely to slow down as KaTom has expanded to become a full-service partner for operators, having established design-build teams and enlarged its physical footprint from a 6,000-square-foot building to a 350,000-square-foot complex situated on 20 acres.

Outstanding Role Models
Bible’s entire life has been guided by the lessons she learned from the incredibly strong women in her family. “My mother and grandmother were both phenomenally driven people who knew they had something to contribute, not just to their families, but also to the wider world,” she explains. “They were both hugely influential in my life. I saw how hard they worked and how determined they were, and that gave me the drive my team knows so well.”

She now works to instill that drive in others. Proud that KaTom was recognized with FEDA’s 2023 Champion for Young Professionals Gold Award for its dedication to recruiting and fostering the development of new generations of professionals, Bible is honored by invitations to play a part in educating and empowering future leaders in the community and industry. From addressing participants in local leadership groups and serving on boards for regional universities to contributing to serving on the FEDA Board of Directors and as co-chair of the Advocacy Council, Bible says she “never dreamed people would think so much of me that they’d want me to share my knowledge and abilities in so many ways.”

Turning Lemons into Lemonade
Bible’s ascension to a leading figure in the industry is a testament to her perseverance and sheer effort to see through the original concept she developed with her husband three decades ago. Hanging just outside of KaTom’s boardroom is a picture of a pair of dirty hands holding a bunch of bright, yellow lemons. That picture reminds Bible that we all have to take the lemons life gives us and, with hard work, turn them into lemonade. “Hard times and challenges are part of life,” she says, “and that picture makes me think about the hurdles I’ve overcome.”

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