The company was started in the 1920’s by Joseph “Joe” Bertman. He was an immigrant from Poland, and the oldest of several children. He started the company when he was in his early twenties, with a partner, and then bought him out within a couple of years. He was an old fashioned business man who could be making sales calls, loading trucks, reviewing books, or buying produce on any day. If one of his customers wanted something that he did not have available, he would go out to his garage and “concoct” something that would do the trick. There are many family legends about this. Because he was so well respected, he expanded his sales territory from Pittsburgh to Toledo. He handled every category of food and had exclusive distribution rights to many products in the period shortly after WWII. At one point, he was warehousing many items and running 22 trucks and a team of salesmen to service his customers.