Celebrating ACityDiscount's Founder Bill StackPosted: Jul 10, 2014
A Brief Trip Through ACD History
Though ACityDiscount first opened its doors just over 41 years ago, the company’s roots go back even further. Founded by William “Bill” Stack, in 1973, this family run business has been rooted in the foodservice industry since the 40’s. The late Bill would have been 100 years old this year, and we at ACityDiscount decided to pay tribute to the man that helped build our business and our reputation.
Born William John Stack on July 11th, 1914 to parents William and Bertha, Bill got his start in New York City. Though this was a big moment for the Stack family, the debut of another “Babe” stole the show. George Herman “Babe” Ruth made his major league debut for the Boston Red Sox that same day, and subsequently grabbed the headlines away from young William. Only time will tell who left the bigger legacy.
Bill was raised in New Jersey, and eventually moved to Pennsylvania with his first wife Esbelle. The two married young, and had three children together: William Jr., Robert, and Cheryl. World War II was happening during this period, and when America became involved, Bill joined the war effort as a part of the Merchant Marines. During his service with the Merchant Marines, he operated a commissary on a naval ship and continued to gain experience that would shape his future.
Shortly after returning from the war, Bill and his wife Esbelle divorced. He kept his children, and opened up a diner in Portland, PA. He worked hard in his diner, and truly cut his teeth in the foodservice industry. Around this time, Bill made possibly his wisest business choice and hired a young server named Reah. The two were married several years later, and sold their diner before moving to Miami, FL in 1948.
Bill and his second wife Reah had two more children: current ACityDiscount CEO John M. Stack Sr. and his sister Deborah. After a few years in Miami, the family finally settled in Forest Park, GA, where Bill would live for the remainder of his days.
William worked as a general manager for a Howard Johnson’s restaurant in the Atlanta area until buying a restaurant named Catfish King. Catfish King became a success with Bill at the helm, but eventually the long hours of the restaurant business began to catch up with him. He managed the restaurant throughout the 60’s until he sold the business to famed Southern restaurateur and founder of Kentucky Fried Chicken, Colonel Harland Sanders.
After selling Catfish King, Bill opened several businesses in the Atlanta area, including several convenience stores, a fine dining establishment, and a pizzeria. The sale of his popular restaurant allowed him to begin investing in other areas, but, for the most part, Bill invested in what he knew: restaurants.
Bill Stack opens CityDiscount
In 1973, Bill Stack made an equipment purchase that changed his life. He purchased a wealth of used equipment, inventory and fixtures from the now defunct W.T. Grant Department Store chain. Bill used what he could in his existing businesses, but was still left with a surplus of items that he had no use for. He decided to open up a side business selling these used pieces of restaurant equipment, and CityDiscount was born.
After some initial success, Bill went on the offensive to locate used equipment to sell. Used equipment can be hard to source, but luckily, he made a friend in the late Colonel Sanders. KFC began selling CityDiscount large amounts of used equipment from their franchises throughout the Southeast, and continued to for the ensuing decades.
In 1986, the changing nature of marketing and business reared its ugly head, and to gain a competitive advantage in the marketplace, Bill changed the name of his business to ACityDiscount. The change put this business at the very front of the business section of local phone books, and the forefront of Bill’s mind. He stayed with ACityDiscount until the early 90’s, and as he grew closer to retirement, his son John gradually took over the company. In 1998, after a number of health issues, William passed away at age 84.
William Stack’s Legacy
Despite keeping busy with his numerous business endeavors, William J. Stack’s true legacy is his family. Bill cared deeply for his family, friends, and employees alike, and there are countless stories of his generosity that circulate around the ACityDiscount offices. Often times, he and his wife Reah would take friends and family members on vacations to exotic locales or cruises for no reason other than to enjoy their company.
To this day ACityDiscount is a family run operation. Growing significantly over the past several decades, ACityDiscount is still owned and operated by the Stack family. His youngest son, John, is CEO and President, his grandson Marty is Executive VP, and two of his granddaughters, Jeanne and Patty, work with the company as well.