approach to flight has put it near the top of revenue generating
businesses in Queens.
By Angela Montefinise
Across the bustling borough of Queens, businesses big and small have
made names for themselves, not only within the borough’s borders,
but across New York City, the state and, in some cases, the country.
Of these successful businesses, there are some that stand out far in
front of the others in terms of the business bottom line – revenue.
Based on the latest numbers available, the following businesses are
the top revenue generators in Queens.
97-77 Queens Blvd., Rego Park
Revenue: $3.8 million
Employees: 16,200; local, 2,500
CEO: Richard LeFrak
Industry: Real Estate
Since 1905, the LeFrak family has been leaving its mark in Queens, building
residential, commercial and office space that today totals over 63 million
square feet and billions of dollars in property values.
The Rego Park-based real estate company prides itself on “responsible
community development,” “affordable housing,” and
being “sensitive to environmental preservation,” according
to its website.
Prior to establishing the LeFrak Organization in America, the LeFrak
family had been builders in Europe for two generations. Maurice LeFrak
started it all as a developer in France in the 1840s. Toward the turn
of the century, Maurice’s son, Aaron, and grandson, Harry, came
to New York City and began a modest building company, mainly developing
apartments for immigrants on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. Harry
LeFrak also designed and manufactured customized glass for Louis Comfort
The company grew, and eventually targeted Queens. It constructed the
Park Vendome in Queens, the world’s first high-rise residential-retail-commercial-judicial
office building complex, for which Frank Lloyd Wright worked as a consultant,
and the LeFrak Tower, the first modern office skyscraper in Queens,
and the focal point for a new five-building mid-city office complex.
One of the company’s greatest triumphs was LeFrak City, a gargantuan
complex of 18-story buildings with 5,000 apartments, sprawling across
40 acres of land adjacent to the bustling Long Island Expressway in
Harry LeFrak passed the business on to his son Sam, who died in 2003
at age 85. His son Richard is now head of the business, which may be
a multibillion-dollar entity, but is still kept in the family.
Le Frak City, one of the LeFrak organization's
real estate ventures, has helped put the Rego Park busines on
the top in terms of revenue in the borough
152-35 10th Ave., Whitestone
(800) 854-6729, (718) 767-1234
Revenue: $3.3 billion
CEO: Stewart Rahr
Industry: Wholesale Pharmaceutical Distribution
When a Brooklyn-based pharmaceutical distributor was on the verge of
shutting its doors for good in 1940, a young and determined Stewart
Rahr stepped in and took over, modernizing the facility and taking it
to new heights.
More than 60 years later, the company now called Kinray supplies over
2,000 independent pharmacies in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania,
Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Delaware with wholesale pharmaceutical
products, as well as health and beauty care products.
In fact, the business has grown into the largest privately-held wholesaler
of pharmaceutical/generic and health and beauty care products in the
world, and was listed as number 10 on Crain’s New York Business
Magazine’s top 200 privately-held firms in the New York tri-state
area in 2003.
Kinray offers same day service to its clients and a guarantee that 99
percent of its catalogue will be in stock.
118-29 Queens Blvd., Forest Hills
Revenue: $1.070 million
CEO: David Neeleman
Industry: Airline Travel
On Feb. 11, 2000, the face of air travel changed when JetBlue Airlines
took to the sky.
The Forest Hills-based airline, which was founded by airline expert
CEO David Neeleman, prides itself on quality service, modern technology
and affordable prices, and offers flights to 24 cities around the country
from JFK Airport.
JetBlue uses a fleet of 60 brand new environmentally friendly Airbus
A32 airplanes, each with a joystick as a steering device, all-leather
seats and television sets for each passenger. The televisions are wired
into DirectTV, and show 26 different channels, including ESPN, Animal
Planet and Nickelodeon.
19-50 48th St., Astoria
Revenue: $790 million
CEO: Herman Merinoff
Industry: Wholesale Liquor Distribution
Charmer Industries, a member of the Charmer-Sunbelt Group of wholesale
liquor distributors, is one of the nation’s leading distributors
of fine wines, champagnes, cordials, spirits, beers, bottled water and
Recently, the company has made major improvements to its warehouse,
routing, and information technology systems in order to change with
the times. Charmer also implemented bar coding and a temperature-controlled
The Merinoff family runs the business, with CEO Herman Merinoff heading
37-18 Northern Blvd., LIC
Revenue: $747 million
CEO: Lawrence I. Sills
Industry: Auto Replacement Parts
Standard Motor Products is one of the largest manufacturers of automotive
replacement parts in the world.
The company, which has been headquartered in Long Island City for more
than 75 years, is broken into two parts. One, it supplies engine management
parts such as ignition and emission parts, onboard computers, ignition
wires, battery cables and fuel system parts. Second, it manufactures
and remanufactures temperature control parts such as air conditioning
compressors and other air conditioning and heating parts.
Standard Motor makes and supplies parts for all makes of cars and trucks
– domestic and imported – as well as new and older vehicles.
29-10 Hunterspoint Ave., Long Island City
Revenue: $650 million
Employees: 5,000; local, 350
CEO: Leslie Stern
Industry: Envelope Manufacturing
In 1952, an entrepreneur named William Unger opened a small envelope
manufacturing plant in Long Island City, starting what would become
the largest privately held envelope manufacturer in the United States.
The company manufactures and distributes envelopes coast to coast, and
offers everything from commercial and official “regulars”
to custom designed booklets for special direct mail uses.
The company’s slogan is, “If it’s considered an envelope,
we make it.”
National Envelope Corporation makes about 160 million envelopes a day,
with products including envelopes with windows, translucent envelopes,
booklet-style envelopes, envelopes with clasps, and presentation folders.
Currently, Leslie Stern is CEO, but Unger’s son in law Nathan
Moser is CFO, keeping the family business in the family.
Jetro Cash and Carry Enterprises
15-24 132nd St., College Point
Revenue: $430 million
Employees: 900 to 1,000
CEO: Stanley Fleishman
Industry: Wholesale Grocery
Restaurants may be the ones to serve up delicious meals for Queens residents,
but before the chefs do their stuff, the borough’s culinary hot
spots need to buy their food, equipment and supplies from somewhere.
Jetro Cash And Carry Enterprises is where many of them go.
The company offers wholesale restaurant and catering supplies, food
preparation equipment, take-out containers, and food.
Jetro operates 13 stores across the country in New York City, Jersey
City, Baltimore, Philadelphia, Oakland, Long Beach, Miami, Chicago and
Los Angeles. Its corporate offices are in College Point, as is one of
The chain works a lot like Costco – members have cards, they scan
into a store, and shop until they’ve had their fill.
Besides operating actual stores, Jetro also has an export department
in Miami, and exports materials out of the country to places including
Jamaica, the Bahamas, Haiti, Turks & Caicos, Honduras, Colombia,
Panama, Venezuela and most small islands in the Caribbean.
47-05 Metropolitan Ave., Ridgewood
Revenue: $417 million
Employees: 2,000; local, 800
CEO: Peter Castellana, Jr.
Industry: Retail Supermarket
The key to Western Beef's success is its detailed
demographic research, which shows what types of items should be
sold in stores based on the population.
Inner city and ethnic
neighborhoods are often abandoned by major supermarket chains because
those chains don’t believe they can turn a profit in low-income
or culturally specific areas.
Ridgewood-based Western Beef has closed the gap, and has showed those
supermarket chains that turning a profit in these areas can be done.
According to Western Beef’s website, it combines complex market
research and demographic studies to determine which areas in New York
City and New Jersey are in need of supermarkets. Once Western Beef chooses
a location, the company then analyzes the surrounding population, and
provides products that are ethnically and culturally in demand.
The company currently operates 21 supermarkets and four outlet stores
in New York City and New Jersey, including four stores in Queens –
one in Ridgewood, one in Flushing, one in Springfield Gardens and one
in Astoria. Western Beef also operates an outlet store in South Ozone
Realizing that many of its customers hail from foreign countries, Western
Beef supplies the ingredients that complete their favorite recipes.
Customers who need exotic fruits and vegetables can easily find yucca,
yampi, passion fruit, sapote, kirby, appio and ajicito in Western Beef
43-40 Northern Blvd., Long Island City
Revenue: $380.3 million
CEO: Bruce Bendell
Industry: Car Sales
Ever since its early beginnings in 1985, Major Auto
has been a leader in car sales in the borough.
Bruce Bendell got
started in the car dealer industry early.
He started buying cars for re-sale in 1976 while earning his B.A. in
economics and accounting from Queens College.
In 1985, he purchased Major Chevrolet, a marginal dealership with 10
million dollars in sales, employing two people. By 1992 under his leadership,
Major had become the largest dealership in New York State.
Today, Major Automotives is one of the top car dealers in the city,
with Bendell acting as CEO.
Major’s facilities now include Nissan, Kia, Volkswagen, Hummer,
Toyota, GMC, BMW and a host of others, and cover a 22-acre site. Major
Fleet, another division, has also been added, giving Major a commercial
vehicle leasing option.
59-25 Little Neck Pkwy., Little Neck
Revenue: $350 million
Employees: 5,000; local, 650
Industry: Wiring devices, lighting controls, voice and data products
CEO: Harold Leviton
At the turn of the 20th century, while the world was changing and technology
was becoming more complex, the Leviton Manufacturing Company opened
its doors in Little Neck.
When it first opened in 1906, Leviton engaged only in the fabrication
of mantle tips for gas lighting. Soon, though, Leviton converted to
production of a single electrical product – a pull-chain lampholder.
Today, Leviton’s product offering comprises more than 20,000 distinct
catalog numbers, and the company stands as a leader in the electrical
industry as it serves industrial, commercial and residential markets
through retail and distribution channels.
The company, a business still run by the Leviton family, also offers
an enormous selection of cords, wires and cables produced by its subsidiary,
American Insulated Wire.
The company sells its products to distributors and to big name chains
like Home Depot, Sears and Wal-Mart.