Ninety years ago, Samuel Shapiro started an international freight forwarding business with a $5.00 roll-top desk and a quill pen. His company, Samuel Shapiro & Company, Inc., celebrated its 90th birthday on August 10th in the call room of the Customs House in Baltimore. The call room was once used as a holding room where the captains of ships would convene and wait to be called to declare manifest of their goods.
Over 150 customers, agents and local officials joined the festivities. Many guests traveled at great lengths in order to participate; Harald Oechsner, Harry Pattas and Paul Selvage of M+R Spedag Group made the trek from California and Illinois. Jason and Donna Self of Alco Resources traveled from Ontario Canada. “We can’t wait for the next one,’ said Jason, “it was excellent!”
Speakers included Helen Delich Bentley, President and CEO of Helen Delich Bentley & Associates, Inc., United States Congresswoman (1985-1995), and friend to Samuel Shapiro; Congressman Benjamin Cardin, representing Maryland’s Third Congressional District in the House of Representatives since 1987; Senator Paul Sarbanes, serving his 5th term in office as Maryland’s senior Senator; M. Sigmund Shapiro, former CEO and President of Samuel Shapiro & Company, Inc. and son of Samuel Shapiro; and Margie Shapiro, CEO and President of Samuel Shapiro & Company, Inc. and granddaughter to Samuel Shapiro.
In addition to commemorating nearly a century of business, Jim Shapiro, Samuel Shapiro & Company, Inc.‘s Vice President of Transportation, unveiled their new NVOCC, Infinity Logistics. “We chose this name because we feel that there are infinite possibilities to the future of our business,” says Margie. “And where there are infinite possibilities, there are infinite solutions provided by our company We look forward to driving my grandfather’s legacy and Infinity Logistics into the next century.”
Margie, the youngest of Sig’s children, is the company’s reining President and CEO, becoming the third generation to run the family business. “My daughter, Margie Shapiro,” said Sig, “has taken over the reins in a phenomenally successful transition. She is committed to continuing the tradition set by her grandfather to combine the highest standards of integrity and social responsibility to our community with outstanding service to our clients.”
Barely 21 years old, Samuel Shapiro founded his company with little more than a brand new customhouse broker’s license and the drive to succeed. There were trials along the way, netting under $50 his first year in business, the stock market crash in 1929 and World War II. His perseverance brought the company to where it is today. “With a multi-office operation, cutting edge communications and a wide agency network, we’ve come a long way from that $5.00 roll-top desk where it all began,” said Sig.