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New Year brings Ben B. 20/20 vision

The vision of Ben B. Schwartz & Sons has always been crystal clear — to keep its sight set on people and produce. And even in the midst of a new, technology-driven era, Nate Stone, special projects for the Detroit-based wholesaler, still believes personal relationships are key to a thriving company.

DrewChrisJakeBillmeyerDrew, Chris and Jake Billmeyer.“The thing about the produce business is that it will always need live, human beings,” Stone said. “I see this new technology assisting the industry in a big way, but I think it’s merely that – an assistant. Without a person to talk to, produce doesn’t get moved or sold. It’s the people that make Ben B. so successful year after year.”

And two people who lead the way in doing just that are Ben B. co-owners Jake and Drew Billmeyer, sons of company president Chris Billmeyer.

“Ben B. cultivates great relationships — it always has and it continues to be the mission of these two young men that are in charge of the business now,” Stone said, adding that the bar was set high at birth for Jake and Drew by their parents Chris and Janice.

“Jake and Drew had a choice, and they chose the produce business,” Stone continued. “That’s why this business is in its fourth generation and just continues to prosper.”

As for the city Ben B. calls home, Stone said Detroit itself is bouncing back in fine fashion, which is only helping boost business.

“There are waiting lists to move into certain buildings and waiting lists to join athletic clubs,” he noted. “In some areas of the city, demand exceeds supply. We’re really glad for the city and surrounding area, but of course, we never expected Detroit to stay down forever anyway.”

“Things look good,” Stone added. “We’re glad people are hopeful.”