The U.S. Small Business Administration has selected Lois Gamerman, president and CEO of Jessup-based Soft Stuff Distributors, as Maryland’s Small Business Person of the Year.
Founded more than 30 years ago by Lois and Bob Gamerman, the company, a Women’s Business Enterprise National Council-certified business, is a specialty food distributor and serves restaurants, hotels, conference centers, universities, retailers and consumers throughout Maryland, Virginia, Washington D.C. and Pennsylvania.
Soft Stuff is known for its uniquely-curated collection of specialty foods, soups, desserts, pastries and baked goods, and has expanded its collection of prepackaged natural foods and beverage items. The company projects $25 million in annualized revenue by the fourth quarter of 2023, which would mark an 82% growth since 2019.
“I am honored to be recognized. Through the dynamic efforts of my amazing team, we were able to survive the pandemic and have been able to grow Soft Stuff to current annualized sales volume in excess of $20 million and more than 50 employees in 2023,” said Lois Gamerman. “It was not easy for small businesses to adapt to the new challenges we faced during and following the pandemic. This award spotlights the importance of small businesses on our local economies and individual families.”
The Gamermans are in the process of expanding their supply chain beyond food distribution by entering the cold storage and third-party logistics fulfillment business. The lack of capacity and absence of customer service in that sector has created a powerful opportunity for which the owners are well positioned.
Their new entity, Mid-Atlantic Cold Storage, is actively negotiating for a property that would add capacity for 8,200 pallets, which would make it the only woman-owned cold storage facility in the nation.