Fishman Supply gives to community

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Fishman Supply began on a Penngrove ranch, a humble company providing janitorial products to local businesses. Now, more than five decades later, the company has grown to 52 employees and has diversified its offerings to include food service products, office supplies first aid kits and packaging materials for businesses across the North Bay.

But, true to their roots, the family-owned company continues to support worthy Petaluma causes, just like owner Leland Fishman’s parents did when they founded the company. A testament to both Fishman Supply’s growth and their continued charitable community support, the company was recently named the Petaluma Large Business of the Year a decade after winning the community award in the small business category.

“We were very surprised,” Fishman said. “We were small business of the year 10 years ago, and we were shocked to be large business of the year. But we are very pleased.”

When the October fires swept through Sonoma County, Fishman Supply was among the first Petaluma businesses to offer support for the city’s neighbors. Fishman said the morning of Oct. 9, the owner of Simmer Vietnamese Kitchen informed him that he was cooking food for displaced people fleeting to Petaluma.

“I pulled out our take out containers and said ‘We’re going to donate right along with you,’” he said.

Over the next month, Fishman supply donated more than $10,000 worth of supplies to evacuation shelters in Petaluma, including toilet paper, trash can liners and food take out containers. They went through 10,000 dust masks, donating many or selling them at or below cost, Fishman said.

But the fire relief efforts were just a fraction of the company’s giving, Fishman said. The company sponsors the Petaluma High School band and has donated a truck for the students to transport their instruments. They also support the Marin County Schools Rule program and they give to Petaluma People Services Center, COTS and the Boys and Girls Club.

“Petaluma truly is a village where we help each other,” Fishman said. “We promote buying local and we shop local wherever we can.”

Fishman was born and raised in Petaluma. His grandfather immigrated to the area in 1919 from Russia and started a chicken farm on Chapman Lane, which is currently the Little Hills Christmas Tree Farm. His parents started Fishman Supply in 1967 when they got out of the chicken business, and Leland Fishman took over the company in 1981.

“I computerized the whole company,” he said. “We’ve grown through acquisitions. Now both of my sons are active in the business.”

Andrew, 31, is vice president while Michael, 28, is controller and human resources manager.

As a result of their growth, Fishman Supply is among the top 25 sales tax contributors in Petaluma.

“That’s because people here shop locally,” he said.

(Contact Matt Brown at matt.brown@arguscourier.com.)

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