Launched in 1964 by Len Hartley, H&H Products Company has grown from a small beverage concentrate business into one of the largest and most influential beverage concentrate and liquid foodservice providers in the nation. Located in a 41,000 square foot facility in Orlando, Florida, H&H now supplies a diverse range of products to foodservice giants such as Arizona Tea and Walt Disney World.
H&H Products got its start when, with the support of his family, Len’s entrepreneurial spirit, drove him to start his own beverage business. On the side porch of his house, with a $200 loan cosigned by his father, H&H Products Company was launched. “He always liked to say he was overcapitalized,” jokes Morris Hartley, Len’s son and current President of H&H Products.
Growing quickly with several facility expansions over the years, H&H gained a strong industry reputation for dependability, versatility, and quality, and prides themselves on taking care of their customers.
“The most common thread we hear from our customers is the high level of service we bring them—there’s no surprises,” affirms Emily Hauptvogel, Director of Sales and Marketing at H&H. “They don’t have unexpected problems, they know when they’re going to get their products, and even in situations where there’s an anomaly or something new, we always keep our customers informed.”
Maintaining this customer-based focus is integral to H&H’s operations, with sales, product development, and customer service teams all working together throughout the process. “Our team always knows what’s going on with each of our customers,” says Hauptvogel. “A customer has an account rep as their main point of contact, but they are part of the total business – so everyone from sales to production to accounting is part of the experience we deliver to our customers.”
This strong reputation paired with a long, successful relationship as a Scholle IPN customer made H&H an ideal development partner for our recently-launched Versi® connection system. Versi is the first universal, high-flow beverage fitment compatible with all relevant fountain connectors and filling equipment. While Scholle IPN was developing the Versi beverage system, H&H Products was a key partner for testing the new bag-in-box system in the field, providing feedback for success.
“A benefit of working with H&H is that you get real-time feedback, which was vital in the testing phase of Versi development,” explains Kevin Bergenthun, Regional Commercial Director at Scholle IPN. “The communication piece is critical. You can’t introduce a new product in the beverage market and then wait six months. You need to able to get real-time information. Having their feedback was crucial.”
With Bergenthun’s 22 years’ experience in the global beverage industry, he knew H&H would make an ideal development partner. “The question was who I would choose who had a really great knowledge and feel for the trade, and knew what they were talking about. H&H has been doing this for 55 years. There’s expertise and a history here, and that history has been extremely stable. This gives H&H the credibility that’s often lacking in today’s business landscape.”
Hartley shares this affinity for their business partnership. “Really the initial conversation started because I have a lot of respect for Kevin and his knowledge of the industry. Then, when I saw the Versi family of products, I felt it was a good opportunity to better ourselves. We’re always looking for vendors that want to help us grow our business, and give us the assistance we need to do that. We feel Scholle IPN is that company.”
After many months of trial with their restaurant and other distributors using post-mix systems, H&H received zero complaints or questions about the new Versi connection system. “It was great,” exclaims Hauptvogel. “For us, no news is always positive news.”
“We don’t do street sales directly to the restaurants,” explains Morris, “but you’ll hear it from our distributors if they have a problem. And we just had zero problems when we put the Versi line out. They didn’t have any problems at all. We didn’t get any questions, any concerns, not one.” The Versi system provided a completely smooth transition from other suppliers’ products, with easy, intuitive connections and no leaks.
“It just simplifies everything,” asserts Hauptvogel. With so many fitments on the market, many are quite complex, and are even designed to lock out competitors’ connectors, therefore only working with a single certain type. “It’s confusing to the distributors, confusing to the operators, and confusing to our customer service and salespeople,” says Hauptvogel. But Scholle IPN’s Versi is compatible with any relevant trade connector. “It makes it really simple to explain to the operator that no matter what size package, they have, they can use this connection system.”
“The name says what it is,” says Hauptvogel, and Morris adds, “Yes! Versi gives versatility. That consistency across the board is big.”