No. 25: J. Bruce Llewellyn, The Game Changer

Follow the Black Enterprise 40th Anniversary countdown of the most impactful black business leaders of the past 40 years

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The late J. Bruce Llewellyn was a catalyst for partnerships between black entrepreneurs and major corporations. He partnered with Julius Erving and Bill Cosby to launch Philadelphia Coca-Cola Bottling Co., the first black-owned soft drink bottling franchise. With another group of black investors, he later started Queen City Broadcasting, one of the largest black-owned television networks in the nation.

In celebration of our 40th anniversary, Black Enterprise is taking a look both forward and backward at the world of black business. Our list of 40 “Titans: The Most Powerful African Americans in Business–and How They Shaped Our World” recognizes and pays homage to the entrepreneurs and business men and women who paved the way for all of us. Follow our countdown of the most important black business leaders of the four decades since Black Enterprise Magazine was founded in August 1970.

These are the men and women who fought the odds, suffered setbacks, regrouped, and eventually emerged victorious. Whether they conducted business from their own offices or the executive suite, their professional excellence, deal-making prowess, and unwavering advocacy converted promise into channels of prosperity and levers of power. These are the pioneers who withstood the elements–institutional racism, resistance from the business establishment, and lack of resources–to plant a flag on their own patch of territory.

These are the titans: bold leaders who shattered conventional modes of commerce. Because of their contributions over the past 40 years, the world of business has been transformed forever.

Be sure to pick up the commemorative 40th anniversary August 2010 issue of Black Enterprise, which contains the entire Titans list.

  • Pablo

    As an aspiring entrepreneur I was sadden with the news of his death. More so, how he spent his last days. I’m in the food market industry and I’m in direct contact with his former managers that were employed by J Bruce Llewwellyn’s Fedco Supermarkets. They all enjoyed to worked for him. This speaks volume when employees still speak highly of their former employer after 20+ years of the dismantled company! I’m in my forties and even though I never worked for him, Mr. Llewellyn will always be symbolic and a giant in the food business. He serviced poor neighborhoods before the giant superstores like Pathmark and Targets. A true visionary!