2012 Hall of Fame: Bill Stewart
You can add Bill Stewart's name right up there on the roster of marketing mavens who founded their companies in their garages. In Stewart's case, the first product for sale in 1985 was a blank videocassette. "We started out with really no money and just a leap of faith," said the president and CEO of Petra Industries. "It took off, and we have taken it to where it is today."
Today, Petra sits at the top of thousands of dealers' source lists for accessories and other CE products. The distributor's arsenal includes roughly 20,000 SKUs from 500 manufacturers. Petra also plans to consolidate three warehouses under a single roof, while nearly doubling capacity from the current 150,000 square feet.
Petra has come a long way from the time when Stewart was a regional rack jobber for video rental stores and video departments within grocery chains. "I did our first catalog with clip art myself. Now we send a 1,300-page catalog to 90,000 people."