By GREGORY ZELLER //
Four Long Island innovators have made EY’s Entrepreneur of the Year short list.
EY, the moniker for London-based multinational professional services firm Ernst & Young Global Ltd., annually honors the United States’ top entrepreneurial thinkers, as selected by a panel of independent judges, and this month released its list of 2016 regional finalists. On it are the big thinkers behind two of Long Island’s most successful startups.
Among the 40 Greater New York finalists – including several two-person teams, with 33 total companies being recognized – are SupplyHouse.com, a Farmingdale-based e-commerce company run by Josh Meyerowitz and Fernando Cunha, and BabyGanics, a Westbury-based baby-products manufacturer managed by Kevin Schwartz and Keith Garber.
Launched in 2008, BabyGanics offers diapers, lotions, detergents and other products meeting strict baby-safe standards, available online and at major national retailers including Target, Walgreens and Babies “R” Us. A two-time member of the Inc. 5000 list of America’s fastest-growing companies (2012, 2014) – it also cracked the Crain’s Fast 50 in 2013 – BabyGanics reported $30 million in 2013 revenues, according to Inc.
BabyGanics principals did not return several calls for comment.
SupplyHouse.com, which focuses its e-commerce platform on plumbing and heating supplies, launched in 2004 in New York City and moved to Melville in July 2015, following a five-year pit stop in Farmingdale.
Meyerowitz, the founder and president, and COO Cunha have grown the firm into a preeminent national supplier, with large distribution centers in New Jersey and Ohio and 125 employees nationwide.
The founder said he’s not entirely sure who nominated his startup for the EY honors – regional finalists were selected by EY’s judges from over 1,500 public nominations – though he did suggest a possible link between the Entrepreneur of the Year recognition and SupplyHouse.com’s inclusion on New York’s 2016 Best Companies to Work For list.
Named to the New York State Society for Human Resource Management list in December, the Farmingdale e-commerce company was honored in the SHRM’s Small/Medium Employer category at an awards dinner held this month in Albany.
“Maybe somebody found us on that list and nominated us,” Meyerowitz told Innovate LI.
However it caught EY’s attention, the president believes his speed- and customer service-focused distributorship deserves the recognition – though SupplyHouse.com, which offers everything from copper fittings to PEX manifolds to boilers and has grown into a virtual online hub for the plumbing trades, has never sought the spotlight.
“We have operated this company under the radar,” Meyerowitz noted. “We don’t really publicize anything about ourselves. We could have been in the Inc. 5000 a bunch of times and chose not to.
“The Best Companies to Work For was our first foray into anything public,” he added. “It’s just the humble nature of our company. But I think we’ve been entrepreneurial from the start.”
While SupplyHouse.com didn’t seek out the regional Entrepreneur of the Year honors, they’re “great for the company in general,” Meyerowitz noted, and especially for employee morale.
“It’s great for everybody to realize we’re being recognized for the work we’re doing and the ingenuity we’ve created,” he said. “We’re being honored up there with a lot of tech and data companies, and I think the old-school industry we represent can be proud of that.”
Among the distributor’s innovations: SupplyHouse.com’s Fast Track program, which promises that any part, of any size, ordered before 6 p.m. will be delivered the next day to any UPS one-day shipping zone – and there are many, Meyerowitz noted, spread across New York, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Delaware and various points west.
How Meyerowitz and Cunha fare in the final round of the 30th annual Entrepreneur of the Year contest remains to be seen. Regional award recipients are expected to be announced in late June, with winners eligible for EY’s national honors, set to be announced in November.
More on the 30th annual Entrepreneur of the Year contest, including a list of all regional finalists, can be found here.