With the death of Glory Foods Inc.’s co-founder and president William F. Williams, the prepackaged soul food distributor and BLACK ENTERPRISE’s 1996 Emerging Company of the Year (see “1996 Small Business Entrepreneurs of the Year,” November 1996) implemented its succession plan, developed almost two years ago. As a result, there has been a smooth transition since the death of its top man. On December 27, 2001, Williams suffered a fatal heart attack. He was 57 years old.
Daniel A. Charna, co-founder and vice president of operations since the company’s inception, has been named chief operating officer and will be responsible for managing the day-to-day operations. He will be assisted by Ed Williams, who will assume the role as interim chief executive officer. Ed Williams is the managing director of the Black Enterprise/ Greenwich Street Corporation Growth Partners, a private equity fund sponsored by Earl G. Graves Ltd., parent company of this magazine, which also owns a stake in Glory Foods.
William Williams, Iris McCord, and Charna combined $25,000 to launch Glory Foods in 1992, and grew it into a business that generated close to $30 million in sales in 2001.
“Glory Foods is financially stable and strategically positioned for continued growth,” says Ed Williams. “We’re confident that management will continue to build on the foundation of excellence that Bill Williams established early in the company and to carry forth his vision.”
The company’s frozen products, Glory Foods Southern Selections, is a line of oven-ready and microwavable frozen entrÃ©es and side dishes geared to consumers looking to save time and money. The product line includes 29 varieties of canned vegetables, 17 frozen dishes, four assorted condiments, and are available in 8,000 stores throughout 29 states.