Paul Saginaw is the founding partner at Zingerman’s Community of Businesses, a gourmet food business group headquartered in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The original business and current flagship operation is Zingerman’s Delicatessen, which got its start with a small selection of great-tasting specialty foods, a host of traditional Jewish dishes and a relatively short sandwich menu. Today, Zingerman’s Delicatessen is an Ann Arbor institution, the source of great food and great experiences for thousands of visitors every year. The Deli serves up thousands of made-to-order sandwiches with ingredients like premium Black Angus corned beef and pastrami, free-range chicken and turkey, housemade chopped liver and chicken salad. The Deli also stocks an exceptional array of farmhouse cheeses, estate-bottled olive oils, varietal vinegars, smoked fish, salami, coffee, tea and much, much more. Thirty years later, what started as a little deli has grown into Zingerman’s Community of Businesses. In 1997, Monahan sold his share of the company to Saginaw to focus on his original business venture, Monahan’s Seafood Market. As Zingerman’s grew, it expanded its offerings to imported gourmet foods, making its own bread at Zingerman’s Bakehouse and creating dairy products at Zingerman’s Creamery. It opened a second restaurant, Zingerman’s Roadhouse, which focuses on regional American cuisine. The enterprise now owns several brand names, including the aforementioned enterprises in addition to Zingerman’s Mail Order, Zingerman’s Coffee Company, Zingerman’s Training, Inc., and Zingerman’s Catering. Zingerman’s sponsors several mail-order food clubs and occasional culinary study tours. Tune in on this special episode of Evolutionaries to hear Paul’s insight into effectively running a business partnership, and how strategizing his business plan eventually brought him success down the road. This program has been sponsored by Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board.
“We had a vision of this business and this type of organization. We wanted to invite everyone who we were working with to come in, and help run the business.” [11:30]
“Our attempt was that we were going to bring in the finest products. Service was going to differentiate us. People were willing to pay a premium for something that wowed you.” [13:10]
— Paul Saginaw on Evolutionaries