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DSR of the Month, Jan. 2006: Warren Polansky & Anthony Nicoletti, M. Tucker Co. Inc., Paterson, N.J.

No duo has ever shared Foodservice Equipment & Supplies' DSR of the Month honors before. Until now, that is.

The longtime working relationship between two of M. Tucker's senior account executives, Warren Polansky and Anthony Nicoletti, is as singular as is the experience and expertise they bring to their clients and colleagues.

Polansky and Nicoletti met in 1977 while working for Bass & Bass Co., an equipment and supplies dealer in New York City. Three years later, they purchased The James F. Collins Co. in Fairfield, N.J. In 1984, they sold the firm to Marvin Tucker and Lenny Fuchs and began working for M. Tucker Co. Inc.

Their 26-year partnership works well. Their combined sales for calendar year 2005 are expected to be in excess of $4.5 million.

“The secret of our success? We complement each other,” Polansky said. “Our collective experience of almost 60 years lets us bring to our customers a value-added dimension that is unique.”

“It's amazing,” Nicoletti reflected. “So many colleagues and reps have asked us how we've stayed together so long. It's just something that clicked. Having complete trust in each other leaves us free of worry. We know we can count on each other.”

As for customers, Nicoletti offered his own view on what the partnership brings to the table. “There is always someone they can reach,” he said. “I was on my honeymoon for three weeks, and I didn't worry one moment because I knew that Warren, who has a genuine interest in my customers, would be there if needed.” Nicoletti and his wife, Laura, an HIV clinical specialist for Glaxo Smith-Kline, live in Cedar Grove, N.J. They have 25-year-old twin daughters, Danielle and Laura.

But the benefit of their unique working relationship extends well beyond the enhanced accessibility they offer customers. The two regularly draw from their joint pool of experiential knowledge. “We have the ability to bounce things off each other,” Polansky said. “We obviously have many years of experience, and this really doubles everything—our knowledge, skill and expertise.

“We don't necessarily divide who does what,” noted Polansky, who lives in Randolph, N.J., with his wife, Susan, a vocational rehab specialist for the state of New Jersey, his daughter Alyssa, 18, and son Ethan, 14. “Our success is based on relationships, and we don't limit ourselves to the types of accounts that we call on.” While they do not cover a designated territory, most of their accounts are located in the tri-state area of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.

Those accounts range from street retail business to corporate feeders, an area in which Nicoletti specializes. Among Polansky's clients is an independently owned, 20-unit chain in Manhattan. He has become proficient in dealing with multi-unit clients.

Polansky credited his partner with having more strength in the financial area. “Tony is consistent in making certain that our business is cost-effective for both our customers and our company,” he said. “We check each other's invoices to make sure that our customers are billed correctly and that our margins are fair to everyone.”

Both Nicoletti and Polansky maintain an open-door policy when it comes to sharing their long years of experience with colleagues. “When someone comes along who needs assistance in finding a particular product, an opinion on something or help with a customer, we're there,” Polansky said. “We've never refused to help anyone; we've offered our expertise to be supportive not for remuneration.”

“Our office is always open,” Nicoletti added. “Colleagues as well as customers will ask, ‘What do you think about replacing this piece of equipment?' or ‘I'm doing tabletop, do you have any ideas on this?' and we help as much as we can. We never say no to anyone.”

The partners agree that the pace of change in the industry means ongoing challenges and opportunities for increased business. “Who could have predicted the way the internet would become so necessary to our business?” said Polansky. “AutoQuotes is phenomenal; it not only helps us to be more professional, it also makes our lives easier. Based upon what I have seen in the past few years, I expect that over the next few years we are going to see many more changes in the foodservice industry and the way we do business.”

With the calendar rolling over to 2006, each is eager to see what the new year will bring. “The economy certainly has been going in a strong direction in our market,” Polansky said. “We're looking forward to a great 2006.”

As one would naturally expect, Nicoletti shares his partner's optimism. “The year ahead is going to be one of the best of the decade,” he said. “We have some major jobs on the books, and some of our customers are planning large-scale expansions. It just feels to us that during the last three or four months things have started to pick up dramatically. Many of our customers are allocating funds for capital expenditures and we are going to be there to help them with all of their foodservice needs.”

In succinctly summarizing the real secret of their success, Nicoletti drew a comparison to another famous duo. “The real reason our partnership works so well is that Warren and I are like Batman and Robin; except we both think we're Batman,” he explained.