Superior Equipment & Supply: Using Food to Bring the Community Together
Superior Equipment & Supply is a local, family-owned business that has grown and developed into much more than just a kitchen equipment and supply company. Superior provides the equipment, services and value that every food service operation needs to be successful. The projects vary in size and scope ranging from new construction, complete with kitchen and dining facilities to the remodel of a local, independently owned restaurant, along with an e-commerce online store and a retail outlet that is open to the public so the home consumer can shop where the chefs shop!
Superior consists of five sales departments. These departments enable the Company to systematize projected sales according to strength. Each department has a sales goal according to its means as well as an individualized sales goal for each employee. Revenue is distributed as follows by the different profit centers:
- E-commerce Online Sales
- Government Contract Sales
- Retail Consumer Sales
- Cash n Carry Sales
- Culinary Sales Program
Each entity progresses and grows as Superior continues to diversify. Leif and Stacy sat down with Tom Schultz, the Executive Chef, Sandy Doran, the Retail Store Manager, and Sammy Mahmood, the founder, to hear more about the story behind Superior.
Sammy’s husband Mike started the business back in 1984. They were at their 13th & Oklahoma location from 1989 until 2008. They began as strictly a food service supply company, and their main niche was local super markets, such as: Pick n’ Save, Sentry, and Sendiks. In 2008, they wanted to open the business up to the public, so they hired Sandy as the retail store manager, and moved to their current location in St. Francis. Today, the retail store sells unique home cooking and gourmet items that you would not necessarily find elsewhere, making Superior Equipment & Supply a destination for chefs, home cooks, and foodies alike.
Superior’s culinary department has really begun to take shape in the past few years. They host a variety of cooking classes, all centered around specific themes, such as: A Night in Italy, Tapas and Spain, etc. Classes are also tailored to different skill levels, private groups, and couples. Tom Schultz, the Executive Chef, is looking to do more specialized cooking classes in the next year (gourmet tailgating, how to properly smoke meat, etc.).
During the summer, Superior also facilitates cooking camps for kids; they learn how to cook, and then they go home and cook meals for their families. Sandy has heard back from a number of parents whose children have participated: “This is fantastic! They want to cook two or three times a week for us and we love it; it’s a joy! They’re learning, and we’re all sitting down as a family and eating together!’”
Another exciting project that Superior has in the works is bringing back the St. Francis Farmers’ Market. The Farmers Market will be open from May 15th through October 31st, Thursday through Sunday. Sammy wants people to take more than just produce with them when they leave: Her vision for the Superior Farmers’ Market program “is to provide, bilingual nutrition education and cooking demonstrations with the aim to increase fruit and vegetable consumption by teaching adults and kids, how and why to prepare healthy meals using fresh food.” Chef Tom will be demonstrating over one hundred fast, easy, affordable, and delicious recipes using fresh, frozen, canned or dried fruits and vegetables at the seasonal produce workshop! There is no charge for these classes.
Even though Superior has so many different departments, their main area of business is federal government contracting. They provide kitchen equipment and supplies for military and federal agencies, shipping out to military bases all over the world, including Iraq, Afghanistan, Puerto Rico, and Japan. If a military base is redoing their kitchen, Superior does all of the design work for them, and provides them with all the equipment, as well as installation and training if necessary. The bases also buy their small wares (glasses, china, etc.) from Superior, making them a one-stop shop for these large scale customers. This is where Superior really started, and where the business has grown the most.
After speaking with Sammy, Sandy, and Tom it is apparent that one of the main reasons that Superior has been so successful in the past 31 years, is their commitment to highly personalized customer service. Everyone at the company is specialized in what they do, whether that is equipment, smallwares, cooking, etc., and this helps them to really understand the needs of the customer. Superior offers a wide range of products that meet a variety of needs and budgets. “Superior’s expert commercial consultants work with the customer to design equipment systems to match their needs and budget, so ultimately the customer leaves with the perfect product for their specific needs.” says Sammy.
Superior Equipment is a model organization; one that cares about the community, and has been recognized for it. On September 23, 2015, they were honored with the Business of the Year award presented by the City of St. Francis and the South Milwaukee Area Chamber of Commerce, as well as the Heart of the Gateway Award presented by the Gateway to Milwaukee’s Airport Gateway Business Association (AGBA). They are an innovative and creative company that is continuously growing and developing as they work towards making their community a more dynamic place to be, and we are proud to have them as members of the Gateway to Milwaukee.