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Lion Distribution and Trading LLC

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With a customer-first approach, Lion Distribution and Trading unfailingly strives to provide customers with the best products and service.

By Bianca Herron

Andy Geller, president of Lion Distribution and Trading, started the business in 2012 with the determination to build a better model than his competitors.  “I was working for a west coast distributer, wanted to move to the southeast and needed a company to work for – so I started one,” Geller explains. “I had no customers, no suppliers and initially, even went in with the wrong partner; a very tough, but necessary lesson.  From the day I took over the company we thrived.”

Lion DT buys beef, pork, chicken and turkey from major packers like Hormel, JBS and Tyson Foods across the United States and abroad. They then sell and distribute the products to processors, retailers, traders and other distributors. “We strive to sell in full truckloads,” Geller says of the Boca Raton, Fla.-based company. “Buying in 40,000lb increments makes for a much more efficient, cost-effective operation and makes all the difference when working on tight margins.”

Delivering Solutions

When it comes to customer service, it’s about problem-solving at Lion DT. “You have to find what the customer is looking for,” Geller says. “For example, maybe they can’t buy in large volume and only need 5,000 pounds instead. We are able to resolve client challenges by being logistically on-point, having a very strong understanding of product values and most importantly, knowing exactly where to go for the product.”

Customers rely on Lion DT to monitor the pricing of their raw products at plants nationwide. They also benefit from the company’s relationships with suppliers. “At Lion DT, we can sell product to a customer for less money than if they went to our suppliers directly,” Geller notes. “That’s because our suppliers know us, trust us, appreciate that we pay them quickly and in return, give us better pricing.” Lion box

Another differentiator that sets the company apart from its competitors, Geller adds, is its ability as a small company to deliver personalized, individualized attention to each customer. “We might have a client where my profit margin is 3 percent and another where the profit is 15 percent,” he explains. “Regardless, each and every client is viewed equally. We pride ourselves on treating them all with respect, believing they are always right and providing as much attention as they require or want, whether they’re big or small.”

Understanding logistics is another advantage in running a successful business. “I’ve gotten a lot better over the years,” Geller says. “When it comes to trucking and logistics, a lot of people will tell you what you want to hear to get your business—and I’ve fallen for fluff before. However, over the years, I’ve learned how much freight and storage should cost, and can easily identify when something sounds too good to be true. I know to stay away from the inexperienced logistic carriers and stick with the guys who are a little bit more expensive, but know what they are doing and will tell you the hard truth.”

Working Together

Lion DT communicates and collaborates regularly with its suppliers, helping to keep relationships strong. “Keeping suppliers informed about what is happening with the market and showing them that you trust them earns their trust,” Geller says. “For example, there are many customers who do not want to tell the suppliers where product is going or what kind of customer is using it because they’re afraid of being cut out of the business. Everything in this business is about relationships. If you have a legitimate relationship with a person – not a company, but person – that is what this is all about. I tend to put my trust in people and it seems to be working.”

Geller expresses that same sentiment for Lion DT’s employees. “When I was in my early 20s, I worked for a commodity-trading firm in Chicago,” he says. “There, the executives created a culture where employees could approach them at any time, about anything – regardless of their position. I remember saying when I have a company, that’s what I want. I’m so proud that that’s what we have.”

Geller is most proud of the fact that he followed his dreams to start Lion DT, despite the many naysayers. “I left a big company that mistreated its employees and made me question if I could succeed without them,” he explains. “But I was committed to building a successful business and running it the way I always dreamed. Now I am doing it, and I love it and it’s amazing.”

As Lion DT continues to grow, Geller says he would like to hire more employees and increase the company’s presence. “My first year, we grossed $3 million dollars and we are on-target to gross close to $10 million in 2017. I’d like to grow to $50 million in the next five to 10 years,” he concludes. “Distributing meat may not seem glamourous – but it’s what we do and we’re great at it. If I can continue to build on the team that we’ve put together so far, I think we’ll grow at or above my expectations.” 

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