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Hill & Markes Appoints New Chief Executive and Chairman



Albany Business Review

Jason Packer will become the next chief executive officer of Hill & Markes Inc. near Amsterdam, New York, succeeding his father Neal Packer, who will become chairman.

The promotions will be effective in January.

Jason Packer, 42, left Washington, D.C. nine years ago to join the family business selling and transporting cleaning supplies, mops, office furniture, ice cream cones, aprons and take-out containers to customers across upstate New York.

Hill & Markes is a 112-year-old company that started out using horse-drawn wagons to deliver candy and ice cream around Amsterdam and surrounding communities. The business has grown to 165 employees with a fleet of 30 trucks distributing products to restaurants, public schools, Albany Medical Center and Nathan Littauer hospitals, the University at Albany and the University of Rochester. Sales have increased from $64 million in 2013 to more than $70 million.

Jason Packer is moving from chief operating officer to chief executive as Hill & Markes expands its inside sales te

am and negotiates with a half dozen acquisition targets in a strategy designed to push the company beyond $100 million in annual sales within the next five years.

At a time when Amazon.com Inc., WB Mason and Staples are putting more pressure on small companies, Hill & Markes sees an opportunity to increase its presence across upstate, Jason Packer said.

"Amazon can get you a product and they can get you a good price. But they can't get someone in your building who can solve problems and fix pain," he said.

Large companies are putting a lot of pressure on small companies who don't have the buying power to stay competitive, Packer said. Many of those small, family-run businesses, are contacting Hill & Markes to gauge its interest in buying them out.

"We are happy to be their succession plan," Packer said.

Whether any acquisitions are completed will come down to negotiating an agreement that both sides believe is fair, he said.

Packer worked in business development, served as sales manager, vice president of operations and chief operating officer since joining the family business in 2009. His father is the current chief executive officer. His mother Andrea Packer is vice president of marketing. His uncle Jeffrey Finkle is president of Hill & Markes.

The company was founded by Amos Hill and Charlie Markes in 1906. It was purchased for $62,000 in 1947 by Harry and Harriet Finkle, parents of Andrea Packer and Jeffrey Finkle.

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