Fire Can't Douse Company's Enthusiasm for Charity Golf Tourney
B&L Wholesale Supply Inc. holds its annual tournament to benefit children
June 25, 2002
Proving that the only fire that matters is the one burning within, B&L Wholesale Supply Inc. hosts its seventh annual golf tournament Wednesday, June 26, at Shadow Lakes and Shadow Pines in Penfield. All proceeds will help Golisano Children's Hospital at Strong construct a 22-bed Pediatric Intensive Care Unit.
Last Friday, employees at B&L Wholesale Supply Inc. surveyed extensive fire damage to the company's warehouse at 70 Hartford St., Rochester. Even in midst of the chaos, they were determined to go forward with their annual charity tournament. At 10 a.m. tomorrow, more than 300 golfers will hit the links to support Golisano Children's Hospital. Last year, the tournament raised $43,000, and employees are aiming to raise $50,000 this year.
Many of the company's employees play a big role in organizing the tournament. They include company leaders Bob Latour, vice president; Art Finocchario, vice president; Jim Cox, outside commercial sales; Dennis Kaniecki, outside residential sales; and Bob Jacobson, corporate business manager and a member of the board of directors at Golisano Children's Hospital.
They do all of this work without asking for fanfare. "No one involved - our customers, supplies, or B&L personnel - is interested in riding white horses and proclaiming how great we are," says Don Tomeny, company president. "The reality is that everyone is just glad to help such a good cause, which is probably why it has grown so dramatically."
B&L Wholesale Supply Inc. started in 1950 with two shareholders, Frank Baumer and Tom Ludlum. As a wholesale distributor of roofing and siding products to remodeling contractors, builders, and commercial roofers, the pair conducted business at the same location in downtown Rochester for 32 years. In 1982, the business - with five employees - was sold to Tomeny and Latour.
During the first year under new ownership, the business grew more than 40 percent. Finocchario joined the company in 1982, and gradually took control of the commercial roofing side of the business, becoming a partner in 1987. As a result of steady growth, the company expanded to Buffalo in 1985. Another location was added in Erie, Pa., in 1992, and a fourth location - this was in Jamestown, N.Y. - was added in 2000.
Today, as B&L Wholesale Supply Inc. recovers from the potentially devastating fire that burned much of its warehouse last week, the company is handling 25 times the volume of business it did in 1982. With more than 180 employees, it is the largest wholesale distributor of roofing, siding, commercial roofing and windows in the region.
Golisano Children's Hospital offers many more services than it did just a decade ago. That positive change was brought about, in part, because of solid support from the greater Rochester community. The hospital is in the midst of a $30 million fund-raising campaign to make improvements, the first being the new Pediatric Intensive Care Unit. With the exception of pediatric heart transplantation, for which the hospital is licensed, it offers practically every medical service and treatment a child may need. These include treatments and therapies for chronic conditions such as diabetes and asthma, as well as leading-edge surgeries - such as kidney, liver, and small-bowel transplantation - that are usually reserved for larger cities.