Stanley Marvel, Inc.
Proudly serving Southeastern Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware for over 100 years
Stanley W. Marvel was born in 1875 in Georgetown, Delaware. Like generations of Marvels before him, he was expected to commit his life to the family farm, but Stanley had other ideas. When he came of age, he left Georgetown, armed with an eighth-grade education, a farmer’s work ethic, and great ambition. Stanley soon began his career in the foodservice industry as a Pullman waiter on railroad cars heading up and down the east coast. His exceptional customer service skills did not go unnoticed, and he quickly worked his way up and through the ranks of the Pennsylvania Railroad.
Years later, through contacts he had established while working on the railroads, Stanley was able to invest in the dairy farming business. Soon after he began to sell fresh butter, eggs, and other dairy products from his native Delaware to hotels and restaurants along the northeast corridor. Stanley Marvel, Inc. had been born. Stanley based his new business in Philadelphia, and set up shop in four-story warehouse located at 106 N. Delaware Avenue. Stanley Marvel, Inc. grew successfully for several years, as did the reputation for “Dependable Quality and Service.” Stanley remained president of the company until his death at age 82. Upon his passing, the company was left to his nephew, and namesake, Stanley W. Marvel, II.
Stanley W. Marvel, II was born in Georgetown, Delaware in 1923. Like his Uncle Stanley before him, he too was a born salesman and envisioned a life in business, away from the family farm. Stan attended Peirce Business College in Philadelphia, and graduated in 1942. After serving in the United States Army during World War II, Stan joined Stanley Marvel, Inc. in 1946. With his Uncle Stanley as his mentor, Stan learned the business from the ground up, working in each department of the company. He soon settled into a sales role, calling on restaurants and hospitals, as well as maintaining relationships with creameries in western Pennsylvania and the mid-west. Upon his death, Uncle Stanley left his business to Stan, under the condition that the company show a profit in each of the next five years. Revenue had slowed as of late, so the new president made immediate changes by cutting executive salaries and diversifying the company’s product offerings to include poultry and hams. It was the first of many times that Stanley Marvel, Inc. would adapt its business practices to meet the demands of an ever-changing marketplace. As Stan later wrote, “The country was growing in size and appetite and I wanted us on the front line. If there was bread, Marvel, Inc. would be there to provide the butter.” Five years later, the company was officially his.
Business for Stanley Marvel, Inc. took off in the early 1960’s, when Stan convinced a Vice President at 7-Eleven to stock the deli sections in their Philadelphia-area stores with meats, eggs, and cheeses from Stanley Marvel, Inc., so customers could grab a quick sandwich while they were on the go. This soon led to an additional contract for distributing Slurpee syrup to fifty stores in the area. In 1966, Stanley Marvel, Inc. moved its operations to the corner of Tulip and Venango Streets, in Philadelphia. Their new, larger location provided updated storage and shipping facilities to better serve a growing product list and customer base. As business continued to expand over the next decades, Stan began to think of retirement and didn’t need to look very far for his successor. He retired in 1985, and passed away in 2009.
Stanley W. Marvel, III (better known as “Lee,”) was born in 1953 in Abington, PA. He grew up in nearby North Wales, Pa, and was an avid athlete. Lee went on to play middle linebacker at University of Delaware, and graduated in 1975 with a degree in Agricultural Economics. Upon graduation, he and lifelong best friend and fellow University of Delaware alum, Fred Consaley, joined Stanley Marvel, Inc. on a full-time basis. Their tenure at the company had actually started years before during the summers, where they both learned the business from the ground up, just as Uncle Stanley had Stan do at the start of his career. Lee’s new role was to head up sales for Stanley Marvel, Inc., while Fred focused on internal operations. The company continued to flourish, as Lee and Fred took over the company as President and Vice President upon Stan’s retirement in 1985.
The city of Philadelphia was in the midst of a revival during the 1970’s and 1980’s, which was accompanied by a significant restaurant renaissance. Wanting to be a key player in the revival, Stanley Marvel, Inc. chose to broaden its focus by becoming a broad line wholesale food distribution business. Because of their increased product offerings, the company was soon in need of larger quarters. In July of 1987, Stanley Marvel, Inc. moved to their current location, a 40,000 square foot facility in Bensalem, PA. Their new, modern office space and warehouse facility allowed them to establish business with multi-unit, national restaurant chains in the region. In the late 1980’s, Stanley Marvel, Inc. joined the largest foodservice distribution buying cooperative in the nation, currently known as UniPro. Being a UniPro member provides significant buying leverage from more than 550 manufacturers worldwide, which ensures that customers of Stanley Marvel, Inc. will have the greatest product variety, at the most competitive prices. The company added tractor-trailers to their delivery fleet in 1995, in order to more efficiently manage logistics for a rapidly expanding customer base in Southeastern Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware.
Most recently, Stanley Marvel, Inc. acquired La Cantina Provisions, Inc., a Philadelphia-based specialty Mexican food item distributor. Since 2011, the company’s La Cantina Division has served a growing number of independent Mexican restaurants, providing them with specialty tortillas, chips, cheeses, beverages, and other food items, along with wholesale staple products. The sales and marketing efforts for the company’s La Cantina Division have been a main focus of Lee’s son, Lee Marvel, Jr., the fourth generation of Marvel family employees.
For over 100 years, Stanley Marvel, Inc. has enjoyed a long history of customer loyalty and employee longevity. The company is proud that their employees have chosen to grow their careers along with a company that continues to innovate and adapt to the ever-changing, competitive business marketplace. And while the company has come a long way from a small butter and egg distributor, it has never strayed from their commitment to provide customers with “Dependable Quality and Service.” Stanley Marvel, Inc. looks forward to continuing this tradition for many more generations to come.
“Adaptability, after all, is the hallmark of a successful company.”
– Stanley Marvel, II