B&G Restaurant Supply and Johnson-Lancaster Form a Strategic Alliance

At face value, B&G Restaurant Supply and Johnson-Lancaster is an unconventional pair.  More of a traditionalist, B&G has carved a significant niche in Western New England with an  eye toward serving the hospitality industry and schools and institutions. Johnson-Lancaster, a recognized heavy weight, has built its brand in contract sales throughout the United States and the Caribbean. One is based in sunny Clearwater, Fla. The other is anchored in Pittsfield, Mass. Neither saw it coming, but when the two fellow SEFA members were presented with an opportunity to build on the other’s strengths, they decided to pool their resources. The result is Eastern B&G Foodservice Equipment, the joint office the two  companies officially opened in Westwood, Mass., in August.

Equipped with a new showroom, warehouse and distribution center, Eastern B&G is named after Bob Kalustian’s business, Eastern Bakers Supply of Boston. This is where it gets tricky. The owner of a choice piece of real estate near the famed Boston Garden, Kalustian had been considering selling the property for years. Still, he wanted to make sure his employees and his customers were taken care of. “So when he finally had an offer he couldn’t refuse, he reached out to me about purchasing his inventory and hiring his employees,” says Tricia Powers Dambrauskas, part owner and vice president of B&G.

That’s when Dambrauskas and her brother, Robert Powers, knew it was time to make good on their plans to open a third location in Boston. “We have wonderful employees that have helped us continue to grow the business, and there were a lot of things that happened all at once that signaled to us that it was time,” she says.

There was the call from Kalustian, which happened to align with project manager Noel Moreira’s need. Hired by Johnson-Lancaster to cover the Northeast, Moreira was working from a home office and wanted a formal office space. “He also knew that we were looking to open a location in Boston,” explains Dambrauskas. “It just made sense to share the space.”

Noncompetitive distributors joining together for the greater good is something that the buying group SEFA has been encouraging more of its members to do.  “What we’ve been finding,” says Dambrauskas, “is that a dealership like myself may have  access to a $5-million project but we pass on the opportunity because it’s not our forte. So, we’ve been trying to partner with niche dealers that we do not compete against to obtain that business and prevent competitors from coming in and building relationships with the customer.”

One month in and both parties are already seeing the benefits. B&G is working on netting a few larger jobs with the help of Johnson-Lancaster’s resources and expertise in project management. In return, it assists Moreira with local deliveries and installations—in addition to filling smallwares orders.

“This partnership between B&G and Johnson-Lancaster will be a great thing for both companies,”  he  says.  “Each company will be able to service their customers and general contractors better and more efficiently than ever before.

“Instead of just one office,  we now have  multiple locations within the New England territory where we can ship product into and offer faster and more cost-effective service to our  customers.  Sharing resources such as estimating, purchasing, project management and installation also will help us stay ahead and be more competitive in today’s constantly  changing market.”