2011 Hall of Fame: The Rothman Brothers
There are few measures of success better than the bar set in the post-WWII years by Martin Rothman, the founder of distributor M. Rothman & Co. and father of the business's three current principals, Billy, Douglas and Russell.
That was when Martin, a rep for a then-prominent TV manufacturer, was fired. But it was for the best of reasons. "It was because he was earning more than the company president," Russell said. "So they made him a distributor instead."
So in 1950, Martin Rothman began his company. What followed was a succession of product introduction coups that put M. Rothman on the map and kept it there. To name a few: it was the first U.S. distributor for Sharp's electronics in the early '60s, and it was AT&T's first telephone distributor in the mid-'80s, after deregulation. AT&T, which had contracted with M. Rothman to sell the New York-New Jersey area, had an expectation of $5 million in sales for the first five years.
"They opened up other parts of the country to us, and we did well over $30 million for those five years," Billy said. "That gave us reach into other markets" and other channels, including department stores such as J.C. Penney, The May Company and Federated.