From the 2021 Collegian | When Jeffrey Levitetz graduated from The University of Alabama, he left with a sense of determination, a dream, and a business he ran out of his car. Now, he returns to campus to share what he’s learned as a successful entrepreneur and philanthropist.
Levitetz began his career while he was a New College student, where he sold surplus merchandise and other goods out of the trunk of his car to students and locals. This business, which he called University Marketing, sparked a love of providing resources to the people around him.
“I left UA with the ability to think on my feet because I had some business experience in the real world,” Levitetz said. “I learned not only to buy and sell goods, but how to run a business. And I really enjoyed being around people, so it seemed like an inevitable next step.”
After graduating from UA, Levitetz knew he wanted to continue the business he began on UA’s campus. He founded Purity Wholesale Grocers, and since then, has become a major player in the industry. But for him, this wasn’t about making money—it was about making people believe in him and his products.
“Every time you sell something, that’s another person saying ‘I believe in you,’” Levitetz said. “It’s someone saying that they trust you.”
Since 1982, Levitetz’s “people first” business model has caused his business to grow. Currently, Purity Wholesale Grocers conducts business in 48 states, with 350 trucks on the road weekly. But this idea of “people first” is also reflected in Levitetz’s philanthropic endeavors.
Levitetz has made a point to frequently return to where it all started—UA’s campus. The entrepreneur travels from his home in Key Largo, Florida to Tuscaloosa, where he spends time with undergraduate students, giving them advice on their time at school, their passion projects, and their future careers.
“When I was young, I appreciated the mentors I had through school,” Levitetz said. “If they had an extra minute, I would absorb everything they said. I believe that every young adult needs a mentor, needs someone they can ask questions and get advice. It means so much to me to listen to what they have to say, and I’m hopeful that there are a few insightful things from my experience that can help them.”
Because of his dedication to mentorship, Levitetz has established several programs through New College. The Levitetz Leadership Program, established in 2018, provides scholarships, internship stipends, workshops, lectures, and innovation grants to students in New College. He has also funded several scholarships and lectures biennially to students on a variety of topics. Over the past decade, over 150 students have received aid from the Levitetz family, and are proud to call themselves Levitetz scholars.
“I want to help these students get the most out of their college experience,” Levitetz said. “I want them to know that they don’t have to have it all figured out yet. There’s nothing wrong with that. And I want to help them find their passion, like I found mine.”
Through his foundation, the Levitetz Family Foundation, Levitetz is able to contribute time and money to a variety of organizations, like UA’s New College. Currently, the foundation supports over 50 organizations nationwide including Dolly’s Dream, which helps shelters fund free pitbull adoptions.
“I feel really blessed to be able to give back, both with my time and with financial support,” Levitetz said.
Read the original article here College of Arts & Sciences.