In 1981 Lee, Gayle, and 3 year-old Aaron moved to Albia, Iowa. In 1984, Lee wanted to start a snack food distribution business, so he went to the bank and borrowed $5,000 (his sister had to cosign for him as he was new in town).
With the loan Lee purchased a Volkswagen Rabbit as his first delivery vehicle, and $3,000 worth of beef jerky and other snacks. He began by calling on taverns, then convenience stores, then truck stops, then chains of convenience stores, and finally grocery stores. He would start a route, hire a driver to deliver to those stores, and then he would go out and get more stores. He always insisted on top notch service for his customers.
As Aaron got older, he would ride along with Lee. When Aaron turned 18 he began running routes, and today he handles a lot of the business himself.
After many years of distributing other company’s products, Lee and Aaron decided to create their own brands. First came laura beth’s all natural jams, salsas, and pickled jar goods. Then IOWA SMOKEHOUSE jerky and meat snacks. With these new and growing product lines, their customers have expanded to include many Farm/Ranch, and Home stores and they now ship to major distribution centers of large corporations across the U.S.
From the humble beginnings of selling and delivering products out of a Volkswagen Rabbit, Preferred Wholesale, Inc. has grown into the thriving business it is today. But it is still Lee, Gayle, Aaron and his wife Laura, driving the business. Grandson Mason is now helping restock the warehouse.
We still proudly insist on only high quality products and top notch service for our customers.
IOWA SMOKEHOUSE Milestones
Started snack food distribution business.
Opened office and warehouse space near the town square in Albia.
Purchased larger office and warehouse space near Hwy 34 by Hy-Vee.
Added 10,000 sq feet to warehouse space.
Broke ground on new office and warehouse space 42,500 sq ft capacity.
Launched new retail website to keep pace with extraordinary demand.