The 90th began last Thursday with a touching remembrance of five key associates who passed away in the past year, including the announcement of a Benco Family Foundation scholarship at Wilkes University in memory of Mark Kolanowski, a Wilkes graduate who headed up Benco’s Marketing Analytics team for over a decade before his sudden passing last year. 

Later that day, the company honored 138 associates who achieved a milestone anniversary so far this year, and welcomed 78 new associates who have joined Benco in 2020.

On Friday, at the closing of ‘BSF2.0,’ a national one-day reboot of the Benco Sales Forum in New Orleans, the distributor rang in 90 years of success with a Facebook Live ceremony by Richard Cohen, Chuck Cohen, and Lawrence E. Cohen. In their remarks, they shared the four ideas that are the foundation of the organization’s growth and success…

‘Ninety years ago, Benjamin Cohen opened a small dental depot in the coal region of Northeastern Pennsylvania. At the time, the nation was just a few months into what would become the Great Depression, but Ben wasn’t deterred. He was 24 years old, and he was used to hard work: at 12, he left school so that he could work to support his family; at 19, he reached out to a distant cousin, the owner of Premier Instruments, and became a traveling salesman, riding the trains through Pennsylvania and New York State, carrying a heavy case of dental instruments from office to office.

‘Ben believed in the American Dream, the idea that anyone with a little money (in his case, $300) and a little moxie can succeed in this great nation. Today, we gather together to celebrate a journey, our journey, from Ben’s tiny office in downtown Wilkes-Barre to Benco today, a nationwide organization with nearly 1400 associates, five distribution centers, three CenterPoint design and equipment showrooms, and over 30,000 customers.

‘The journey hasn’t always been easy: together, we’ve survived recessions, a devastating flood, the loss of key vendors, and, this year, a pandemic. We’ve overcome those challenges by relentlessly focusing on our mission to drive dentistry forward. As we look back over the past nine decades, four ideas are the bedrock for Benco’s growth and success…

‘First: our most valuable asset is our sterling reputation, acquired customer by customer, transaction by transaction. We recognize that we earn, and re-earn, our reputation every day.

‘Second: we always invest, and reinvest, in building an even better customer and associate experience. From software and showrooms, to products and people, we grow by putting the profits back into the operation.

‘Third: innovation is our secret sauce, the key to growing from a one-man operation into one of the world’s largest privately held dental companies. Our firsts, from the first equipment specialist, to the first automated ordering system, to the first open CAD/CAM restoration system, have changed dentistry. Where we lead, others follow.

‘Fourth: dentistry is a people business, and we’re fortunate to have the best people in the business. From our sales and service team calling on offices, to our associates answering the phones and processing orders, and everyone who supports them, we’re proud that Benco empowers great people to do great work.

‘When we look back over the last 90 years, we appreciate all that we’ve accomplished together. And, as we look out into the future, we’re even more excited by the possibilities that lie ahead, for us and for dentistry. Thank you for joining us on our journey to drive dentistry forward… we promise that the best is yet to come.’

To those comments, Larry adds: ‘I like to think that Ben is looking down on his children and grandchildren and admiring the progress that has been made both by dentistry and Benco.’ Amen!

Relive inspirational moments from Benco’s history, from their inception 90 years ago, to the development of showrooms and advancements in technology. Cheers to 90 years.