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Heather P. from Greenwood, SC

Celebrating 75 Years

To become one of the largest coffee roasters in the Midwest, Paramount Coffee employees bought the company and started making changes. Ten years later, the risk has paid off in sales growth and an increasing national presence.

Founded in Lansing in 1935, Paramount officially turned 75 in August 2010!

Paramount was owned and operated by the Radway family until 2000, when the family sold the company to its employees. Becoming an employee-owned business, under an arrangement known as an employee stock ownership plan (ESOP), possibly saved Paramount from being absorbed by a national company.

The sale helped secure Paramount’s status as an independent, Lansing-based employer and provided job security to its 70-plus employees. Sales were up in 2009, and the company has increased its presence regionally and nationally through marketing to large retailers, private label customers, cafes and directly to customers on the Internet.

Although the company operates mainly in the Midwest, it has an international presence. It partners with Michigan State University to improve the lives of coffee growers in war-torn Rwanda. It collaborates with MSU on the Partnership for Enhancing Agriculture in Rwanda through Linkages (PEARL) program. The program has helped Rwandan communities rebuild after the devastating war and genocide of 1994. Recently, proceeds from Paramount’s Fair Trade Rwanda blend purchased 400 goats for coffee growers in Gashonga, Rwanda – greatly improving the quality of life in the village.

Company principals also frequently travel to other coffee-producing regions around the world in order to find the highest-quality product.

Back home, Paramount recently introduced “Joe,” a new line of gourmet coffee with no-frills packaging and a price and name to match.

Paramount is also introducing a line of single-serving pods and “mi coffee,” which features exclusive Michigan packaging. They join the company’s existing Paramount brand and its socially responsible specialty coffees – Fair Trade Rwanda and Ele’s Place Blend.

The company is led by Chairman and CEO Angelo Oricchio and President and COO Steve Morris. Oricchio studied engineering in his native Brazil, where he worked for an exporting company until taking a management position at Paramount in 1990.


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