Robert Taylor was born in Childress, Texas. In 1949 he moved with his parents, Carolyn and R.C. Taylor, to Lubbock, Texas, where his father opened a wholesale tobacco and candy business. Robert graduated from Monterey High School in 1966 and from Texas Tech University in 1971 with a BA degree in Administrative Management. He briefly interrupted his college education to do basic training in the Army and served in the Army reserve for six years.
Following his graduation from Texas Tech, he joined his father in their family business, R.C Taylor Wholesale, and was named vice president. Shortly thereafter, his father had open heart surgery, so Robert began operating the growing company. In 1977, Robert and his father purchased Goodart Candy Company, which manufactured peanut patties and peanut brittle. This was his first experience with manufacturing a product and shipping it across the country. They ran Goodart for 10 years before selling the business. R.C. Taylor Wholesale flourished under Robert’s leadership. After enlarging the warehouse twice, he realized the need to build a much larger warehouse to expand his business further. The name was changed to R.C. Taylor Distributing and serviced grocery and convenience stores in an area of about a 100-mile radius around Lubbock. Although Robert worked long hours, he always found time to build and maintain relationships.
In July 2007 Robert sold his business to one of his largest customers, United Supermarkets, which also has the store brands of Amigos and Market Street. He joined United’s leadership team as vice president of logistics. This entailed orchestrating and getting product to 50 stores, including multiple stores in Lubbock, Amarillo, Wichita Falls, Abilene, six stores in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, and stores in twenty rural communities in West Texas. During this time, Robert recognized a need and convinced United to get into manufacturing. The first manufacturing endeavor was building and operating an ice plant. Krystal ice is distributed in West Texas and the Dallas/Fort Worth area. When that project was successfully completed, Robert led the effort to purchase Praters Prepared Foods. With the completion of renovations, Praters will ship prepared food to grocery stores in many states across the country. Because of United’s growth and diversification, Robert planned and executed the building of a second distribution center in Alliance, Texas. In February 2010 Robert was offered and proudly accepted the position of Chief Executive Officer of United Supermarkets. In September 2013 United announced a change of ownership to Albertson’s LLC. United will operate as a separate business unit under Albertson’s. Robert continues to lead the company as president of the United subsidiary.
Robert has been very active in Lubbock’s community affairs. He has held various campaign positions in Lubbock Area United Way. Robert is a past President of Salvation Army and led the organization’s capital campaign for a new building. He is a member and past President of Southwest Rotary. Through Rotary, he volunteered to teach a business class in local high schools. Robert is currently serving as Chairman of the TIF Committee for the revitalization of Downtown Lubbock. He formerly served on the PlainsCapital Bank board of directors and is currently serving on the board of Hill Top Holdings, a publicly traded company. He is a member of Westminster Presbyterian Church, where he has served on the session.
Robert also has been extremely active in his professional organizations. He is a board member and has served two terms as President of the Texas Association of Wholesale Distributors. Robert has been honored by this group with many awards, including Texas Candy Man of the Year, Southwestern Salesman of the Year, Southwestern Community Service Award, Texas Wholesaler of the Year, and the Texas Political Network Award. Robert served on the board of directors for FMI (Food Marketing Institute). Robert also received the Rawls College of Business Distinguished Alumni Award for 2011.
Being an avid Texas Tech fan, Robert and his family are scholarship donors in athletics, the graduate school, and Texas Tech Health Sciences Center School of Medicine. He is a member of the Chancellor’s Council and serves on the Chancellor’s Advisory Board. He is active in the Delta Tau Delta alumni association and serves on the house corporation board. He is also a member of the Texas Tech Alumni Association. Robert has been a guest lecturer on the subject of entrepreneurism in the school of business and is currently a member of the Rawls College of Business Chief Executives’ Round Table. Robert is currently a director of the Texas Tech Foundation and also on the Advisory Council for the Rawls College of Business.
Robert is married to the former Jan Smith, also a Texas Tech University graduate. The Taylors have four children, two of whom are Texas Tech graduates, and nine grandchildren. In his spare time, Robert enjoys fishing, golfing, and traveling.