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RETAIL/WHOLESALE


MICHAEL AKROP CEO, LEESA SLEEP LLC, VIRGINIA BEACH


Akrop, who was Leesa Sleep’s president and chief operating officer, earned a promotion in January, becoming the online mattress retail-


er’s CEO. He has an extensive background in digital startups, having logged nearly a decade at Zappos, the online shoe retailer, and then two years at Vroom, a fully digital car dealer- ship, where he was chief financial officer before joining Leesa. Leesa, a certified B-Corp, donates one bed to a child for


every 10 sold and has given away more than 40,000 mattresses since its inception. Last November, during the weeklong “1 Bedless Night” promotion, the company upped its com- mitment, donating a bed in the name of each person who volunteered to spend a night without a bed. Akrop, who replaced interim CEO John Replogle, graduated from Indiana University Bloomington with a bachelor’s degree in accounting, and prior to his forays in the startup world, he worked in a variety of industries, including health care and sports management, as well as for traditional accounting firms. Akrop’s promotion to CEO followed a two-year period of growth at Leesa that followed three years of losses. He’s behind the introduction of a new product lineup, as well as distribution and marketing strategies.


ROBERT ‘BOB’


ARCHER PRESIDENT AND CEO, BLUE RIDGE BEVERAGE CO., SALEM


Archer and his family have deep roots in the Virginia business com- munity, having operated one of the state’s largest beverage distribution companies for more than 60 years. Blue Ridge Beverage distributes both alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverages throughout Southwest and Central Virginia. The company has been owned by the Archer family since 1959, and it has been a family affair for years, with Archer’s mother, brother and sisters all holding leader-


ship roles at various points. Archer has been CEO since 2001. Blue Ridge Beverage distributes beverages to 49 counties and 16 cities in


Virginia from facilities based in Salem, Waynesboro, Lynchburg and Abingdon. The company employs more than 460 people. A past chairman of the Virginia Chamber of Commerce and former president


of the National Beer Wholesalers Association, Archer is a Vietnam War veteran who retired as a U.S. Army colonel in 1999 aſter 30 years of service. Archer is a Virginia Tech graduate, and he is in the second year of a four-year term as rector of Radford University. Archer has served on the board of directors of the Virginia War Memorial Foundation since 2015.


GILBERT BLAND CHAIRMAN, THE GILJOY GROUP, VIRGINIA BEACH


Bland has held leadership positions in an array of industries in Virginia, ranging from health care and fast food to higher education and com- munity development organizations. As a commercial banker, Bland established his restaurant management group, which is named for a combination of his and his wife’s first names. The Giljoy Group has owned and operated 70 fast food restaurants throughout Virginia, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C., for more than 30 years, employing more than 2,000 people. The former chairman of the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia, Bland


currently serves on the board of Sentara Healthcare. He also is president and chairman of the Urban League of Hampton Roads, as well as a member of Truist’s community advisory board and the Virginia Chamber of Commerce executive committee. A native of King George County, Bland is a graduate of James Madison University. He said in a February interview with Virginia Business that he advises younger people to “think in terms of what the other person needs. I spent a lifetime building relation- ships, [learning] not just how it benefits me but how it benefits others.”


MICHAEL BOR CO-FOUNDER, CHAIRMAN AND CEO, CARLOTZ, RICHMOND


Bor got the idea for CarLotz as he was driving home from his job as an investment banker, noticing all the “for sale” signs on cars during his commute. He felt there had to be a better way to sell a car than DIY advertising, so Bor teamed up with two other Harvard alumni in Richmond to launch the used-car consignment company in 2011. The mis- sion was to simplify the process of buying a used car by charging a flat fee to handle the entire sales transaction for used-car sellers. The nation’s largest online used car broker expanded its operations sig- nificantly in 2021, with new locations in Seattle and Orlando. The company is also growing its headquarters in Richmond, CarLotz announced in June. CarLotz went public in 2020, although the business has struggled throughout the first half of 2021, with Bor having cut its revenue outlook to $272 million to $317 million range, down from an expected $335 million to $375 million. The ongoing car shortage brought on by the pandemic has made finding inventory a challenge.


Bor earned his bachelor’s degree in finance from Lehigh University and an MBA at Harvard.


172 VIRGINIA 500


JOHN BOYLE PRESIDENT AND CEO/MANAGING DIRECTOR, MASSIMO ZANETTI BEVERAGE USA, PORTSMOUTH


John Boyle has been in leadership at Massimo Zanetti since joining the coffee distribution firm as chief operating officer and senior vice president in 2006. The Portsmouth-based Massimo Zanetti heralds itself as the


nation’s only vertically integrated coffee company, sourcing beans from farms in Costa Rica, Brazil and Hawaii. The firm roasts 150,000 tons of coffee beans annually at 14 locations globally. In December, Massimo Zanetti started construction of a 356,000-square-foot distribution center in Suffolk. The firm, which is one of the nation’s largest coffee companies, distributes familiar brands including Kauai Coffee, Chock Full o’ Nuts, and Hills Bros. Coffee & Cappuccino. A University of South Carolina Gamecock, Boyle has worked in the food and beverage industry since joining Nestlé USA in 1987. He’s also a trustee of the Hampton Roads Chamber and a former chair of the National Coffee Association board.


Robert Archer photo by Norm Shafer; Gilbert Bland photo by Mark Rhodes


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