READERS’ CHOICE AWARDS
Broker of the Year
By Elliot Maras, Editor
David Gellman has witnessed a lot of change
in his years as a broker. He says brokers must
continue to be innovative and resourceful to
help operator customers succeed.
“I nnovative” and “resourceful” are characteristics
of successful product brokers, and no one
embodies them more than Dave Gellman, owner
at night and
worked for his father,
the late Harry Gellman, a
of Norristown, Pa.-based Gellman Associates, the 2008 retail food broker.
Automatic Merchandiser Broker of the Year. In 1964, interested in learning more about food mar-
Now in his fourth decade as a product broker, keting, he switched from Temple University to St. Joseph’s
Gellman remains as active and as innovative as ever. University, which offered a dedicated food marketing
He oversaw the development of the National Automatic degree. His studies were cut short when his father bought
Merchandising Association’s Coffee Summit in Cherry a pretzel manufacturer and offered him a job as a produc-
Hill, N.J. last February, which most attendees heralded as tion foreman.
a great success. He also did the ground work for hooking Gellman quickly tired of the factory position and moved
NAMA up with St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, into sales, calling mainly on candy and tobacco wholesal-
Pa., which will become the second college after Michigan ers. When his father decided to close the pretzel factory
State University to host a NAMA endowed vending/OCS after a year and a half, Gellman became a full-time sales-
education program. man for the food brokerage. While his father managed the
Gellman was also instrumental in merging the New national accounts, Gellman worked on developing smaller
Jersey, Delaware and Pennsylvania state vending associa- retail accounts.
tions into the Tri State Automatic Merchandising Council
last year, a move that he believes provides better services THROWN INTO A CHALLENGING SITUATION
to operators in all three states. Before he could get himself well established in the
Philadelphia market, his father passed away, leaving no one
AT FIRST, HE FOLLOWED HIS FATHER to handle the big national accounts.
Gellman got into the brokerage business on a part-time Gellman did not like selling to big retail accounts. The
basis following his U.S. Coast Guard service in the early buying decisions were all based on numbers, and it took a
1960s. He took classe