37th Annual Partnership Conference - Press Release

For Immediate Release


May 17, 2023

Schaumburg, IL—SEFA, LLC celebrated 37 years of partnership at its Annual Partnership Conference, held May 7-11 at the Hyatt Regency Lost Pines and Spa in Cedar Creek, Texas. Dealers and Suppliers came together to cultivate new and existing relationships. These strong partnerships have helped SEFA in meeting its objectives and experiencing unprecedented growth in 2022. "Our successes are the result of our Dealer and Supplier partners' deliberate strategic approach, said Kelly Cain, CEO of SEFA. Their values, such as initiative and innovation, set them apart. They refuse to accept the status quo, instead making calculated decisions, taking risks, and working tirelessly to achieve success."

The highlight of the Conference was the Awards Banquet, where SEFA celebrated the successes of its Dealer and Supplier partners.

SEFA's Member of the Year award, the highest honor given to a SEFA Dealer, was bestowed to Arizona Restaurant Supply. Having been on the award stage twice before, including being named 2018 Member of the Year, ARS has demonstrated diversity in their go-to-market strategies ranging from large projects, chain sales, smallwares, showroom sales, and more. They have consistently expanded and redefined their business through innovation, acquisition, and reimagination, resulting in sustained growth and success. Despite industry changes and economic fluctuations, ARS constantly adapts and evolves to stay ahead of the curve.

SEFA presented Vulcan with the title of Supplier of the Year, the highest distinction a SEFA Supplier can earn. As a member of SEFA since 1989, they have consistently demonstrated an exceptional commitment to Industry excellence. Over three decades, Vulcan has been recognized by SEFA as an Outstanding Supplier in their product category three times and Supplier of the Year six times. Three organization members were named Trainer of the Year for their contribution to training excellence. All of this points to their commitment to continued growth with SEFA Members.

Metro's Glenn Lawless was crowned SEFA's Trainer of the Year, an award close to the heart of SEFA because training is ingrained in their DNA. This hotly contested award has never been given to a trainer more than once, but Glenn is the first to defy tradition thanks to his mantra of "Connect and Create." He employs creativity to keep his trainees engaged and forges long-lasting bonds with those he trains. He makes it his mission to CONNECT with colleagues and customers to CREATE opportunities for all of them. Chosen by SEFAPros, Glenn joins a long list of legendary trainers in SEFA's Hall of Fame.

Mike Kennedy of C&T Design and Equipment Company was named Executive of the Year.

This award honors an individual who has genuinely distinguished themselves. Mike consistently advocates for fair and equitable treatment and protects the interests of everyone, from dealers to suppliers to reps. Through a decade of service on the Executive Committee and seven years of service on the Board of Managers, he has consistently made difficult decisions in the right way. "We appreciate the foundation of integrity Mike has built through action and commitment to SEFA, as well as his unwavering support for our dealer and supplier partners, said Kelly Cain, SEFA CEO."

Additional Dealers and Supplier award winners recognized for their growth and market leadership included:

Dealer Winners:

Congratulations to ADE Restaurant Services and Gold Star Products, the recipients of the BRAVO award. These two exceptional dealers have achieved extraordinary growth and success, and their impact on the SEFA community has been truly inspirational. SEFA celebrates its accomplishments and the impact they have had on its success because of their involvement in SEFA.

Lafayette Restaurant Supply and Supreme Hotel & Restaurant Supply received the Circle of Excellence award. Since its inception 27 years ago, the SEFA Circle of Excellence has been awarded annually. However, as SEFA grows, so do the requirements for receiving this honor. With significant growth in 2022, these dealers qualified to join the Circle of Excellence. In addition to their growth, each of the winners exemplifies true partnership and is committed to developing their teams.

Associated Food Equipment & Supplies, Breckenridge Kitchen Equipment & Design, Crest Foodservice Equipment, and Manning Brothers were recognized as High Achievers. This award recognizes significant volume increases over already substantial SEFA business. These dealers have earned this distinction through exceptional performance and the tremendous support of SEFA Suppliers.

C & T Design & Equipment Co. received the Standing Ovation award. They are well-respected in the industry and within the SEFA group for their ability to create winning customer outcomes through original design concepts that improve operations, increase efficiencies, and drive profitability. In 2022, they celebrated tremendous growth, and SEFA is honored to have such an incredible partner in the SEFA family.

Great Lakes Hotel Supply Co. received the Salute to Excellence award. Their tremendous growth and devotion to helping others in their community truly set them apart. This Award is a perfect match for what they do to take the lead and set standards of achievement. Great Lakes has achieved remarkable success under the leadership of its visionary team, and SEFA is proud to partner with them and witness firsthand their unwavering dedication to their customers and community.

Culinary Depot was the recipient of the Pacesetter award. Their commitment to investing in operations, facilities, and footprint, along with their willingness to take risks in their market and constantly push boundaries, has undoubtedly contributed to their impressive growth in 2022. SEFA is honored to be a part of their journey and looks forward to continuing its partnership with them as they continue their journey for excellence in all their endeavors.

Johnson-Lancaster & Associates received the Pinnacle of Success award. Since their Great Start in 2004, they've been on the SEFA award stage nine times, including being named Member of the Year in 2010 and 2022. Their aggressive approach to challenging the status quo has undoubtedly contributed to their phenomenal growth and success. SEFA truly values the partnership and looks forward to "Unleashing the Power of Together" as we strive for excellence in all we do.

Supplier Winners:

True Manufacturing Co. was the recipient of the Decades of Distinction award.
As a family-owned and operated company, they have successfully established a proven history of innovation and collaboration, spanning over four generations. Our long-standing partnership with

True dates to 1990 when they joined SEFA, and in a relatively short time, they became SEFA's second largest Supplier. Ten years later, they claimed the #1 position, where they have remained for almost a quarter of a century. SEFA is proud to recognize True for their continued partnership and ability to exceed expectations consistently.

Accurex received the Outstanding Supplier - Dealer Support award. Since joining SEFA, they have shown remarkable enthusiasm in seeking opportunities to work with SEFA Members. Their high- touch approach and dedication to engaging the SEFA dealer audience have been instrumental in helping to close sales and handle project complexities. SEFA is grateful for their continued partnership and is proud to recognize them for their outstanding achievements and terrific growth in 2022.

TableCraft Products was the recipient of the Outstanding Supplier - Smallwares award. Their dedication to expanding their offerings and providing unparalleled customer service truly sets them apart from the competition. Their supportive and responsive team has fostered strong relationships with SEFA Members and achieved remarkable success.

Champion was named Outstanding Supplier - Heavy Equipment. Their commitment to excellence in manufacturing, sales, and service, as well as their programs, truly set them apart from the competition. Their team of exceptional representatives is second to none in the Industry, and they have built lasting relationships with SEFA Members that help them to grow their businesses profitably.

Continental Refrigerator was named Outstanding Supplier - Refrigeration award. As a loyal SEFA Supplier, they have a strong reputation for being an American manufacturer that consistently sets SEFA dealers up for success. Their competitive advantage lies in their ability to provide high-quality and customized products that truly set them apart. SEFA is proud to have them as a valued community member, and their contributions to our industry are exceptional.

Channel Manufacturing received the Outstanding Supplier – Specialty Products award. Their unique ability to develop and customize products for SEFA dealers' specific needs sets them apart. Their innovative approach to giving SEFA dealers a competitive edge in winning large-scale projects is remarkable. Their commitment to excellence has paid off with impressive growth in 2022.

John Boos & Company received the honor of Outstanding Supplier – Fabrication. Their exceptional level of service and commitment to providing a positive customer experience make them an easy and enjoyable company to work with. No wonder SEFA dealers have chosen them to receive a supplier award for the sixth time. Their dedication to keeping SEFA dealers competitive led to tremendous growth in 2022.

Congratulations to all the deserving award winners. Photos are available upon request.

SEFA continues to UNLEASH THE POWER OF TOGETHER by delivering on its promise of providing vital business services and game-changing technology solutions focused on strengthening its partners.

About SEFA
SEFA, LLC is a nationwide network of leading supply and equipment dealers and vendor partners. Founded in 1986, SEFA has grown to be the industry's leading foodservice buying, marketing, and training group. SEFA strengthens its partners through the delivery and development of professional business services.