B&H Wholesale: Paving a Candy-Coated Path to Success with TRAVERSE
A degree in Business Administration fresh in hand, George Buffett started Buffett’s Candies in Albuquerque, New Mexico, in 1955. Though a long-standing success, the candy business does best in the winter due to the fact that over 60% of your business comes in during the three months with “candy” holidays: Christmas, Easter, and Valentine's Day. To balance his year, Buffett also ventured into the concessions business, which does best in the summer. From this venture, Buffett addressed needs for a concession distributor in the New Mexico area by forming B&H Wholesale in the late 1960s.
Today, B&H Wholesale still operates as a sister company to Buffett’s Candies, as does a gourmet popcorn shop called The Popcorn Cannery. George’s three children George (G2), John, and Patty now run the show, with the brothers at B&H Wholesale and Patty at Buffett’s Candies.
Over time, the younger George started going by “G2”, a nickname that stuck when employees and customers needed to differentiate between the elder and junior Georges.
“We’ve grown over the years, and now we’re more of a specialty distributor of fun food supplies & equipment,” says G2 of the company. “We do concession stuff like popcorn, snow cones and cotton candy, and then do some nachos and slush puppies and a fried chicken program.”
In the early 1990s, B&H Wholesale began using OPEN SYSTEMS Accounting Software (OSAS) based on a recommendation from their technology provider. “We went to a networked computer system and got OSAS then. We progressed up through the versions over the years.”
Five years ago, in order to take advantage of new technology, faster data access, and greater historical information access, B&H Wholesale moved to TRAVERSE Business and Accounting software, continuing an over twenty-year tradition of using Open Systems software solutions.
Operating easily across large areas
When it comes to concessions, B&H has a huge part of the American southwest covered. “We are based in Albuquerque, and we pretty much cover all of New Mexico,” says G2. “We have branch warehouses in El Paso, Texas, Gallup, New Mexico, and Oklahoma City. We cover the western side of Texas, the four-corner area of Colorado and Utah, and the northeast quarter of Arizona, and about half of Oklahoma.”
Their primary customers? “We supply a lot of convenience stores, grocery stores, schools... and wherever snack bars can be found,” says G2.
To manage their wide-ranging operation, B&H Wholesale relies upon TRAVERSE’s robust inventory functionality, as well as accounts payable and accounts receivable. TRAVERSE also allows simplified imports from a third-party application, which enables B&H Wholesale to further simplify their route sales operations.
“We have a 3rd party route automation system that integrates to import and export data and transactions into TRAVERSE,” says G2. “That helps our routes tremendously.”
Taking advantage of speed and efficiency
B&H Wholesale enjoys TRAVERSE’s speedy abilities, using them to process large amounts of data quickly. “It’s very powerful,” says G2. “When you’re pulling up information or doing month end processing, it’s quick.”
Though B&H has been around for a long time, their TRAVERSE system is powerful enough to let them review several years of data. “SQL Server is much more powerful than our older technology,” says G2. “We have a pretty sizeable amount of data, with 4000 customers in our customer file. So searching through that and being able to look at that with the speed and the ease that TRAVERSE provides really helps.”
Partnered for the future
B&H Wholesale has relied on their software providers and Open Systems for business solutions for a long time. Originally partnered with the now-retired Leonard Smith in Colorado, B&H Wholesale now works with Lillian Aaron of Porte Brown LLC.
G2 has also taken advantage of the Open Systems Customer Conferences, which provide educational and networking opportunities to users who want to get the most out of TRAVERSE.
As a result of the conferences, B&H Wholesale is considering some third-party solutions, as well as TRAVERSE’s Service Director application. “One thing that we do is to provide equipment to customers, so being able to use Service Director to help track the equipment would solve a big headache that we’ve had for a while,” says G2. “Seeing some things that will be impactful on our business is very exciting.”
G2 is also reflecting on the choice of software that B&H Wholesale made in the ‘90s, and how it has worked out for them. “We’ve been very happy with our choice,” says G2. “It’s funny to think about me, a recently out-of-college student, being guided by a computer guy who thought OSAS would be a good solution because it’s open and flexible. I’ve never regretted our decision to get into OSAS and then TRAVERSE. The path along has been very positive.”