Founding Partner, Zingerman’s Community of Businesses
Paul is the co-founder of Zingerman’s Community of Businesses with Ari Weinzeig. This eclectic collection of businesses share the Zingerman’s brand, Zingerman’s mission & values, and Zingerman’s operating systems, encompassing a variety of food related endeavors, each led by owner-partners, and all based in the Ann Arbor area.
Paul and Ari opened Zingerman’s Delicatessen, the original business, on March 15, 1982, with the simple goal of creating a great corned beef sandwich and an organization with soul. In an atypical manner, the founders laid out a path on which passionate employees who envisioned new businesses could launch them with their support. Little by little, the number of spawned enterprises has grown to become eleven distinct Zingerman’s operations, ranging from training seminars to global food tours. Working alongside Paul and Ari are 19 managing partners and over 750 staff across the Community of Businesses, generating over $70 million in annual sales.
Paul is the chief spiritual officer of Zingerman’s Community of Businesses, infusing into every business a responsibility to give back and share profits with its community and its employees. This belief manifested in the design and launch of Food Gatherers in 1988, as a grass roots, nonprofit food rescue and food bank that in 2021 delivered over 9 million pounds of food, the equivalent of 7.5 million meals. These deliveries went to agencies and organizations across the county addressing food insecurity.
In 2020, on hiatus from Zingerman’s, Paul opened Saginaw’s Delicatessen and Jack Pots Café in Las Vegas, Nevada. These two 24/7 operations pose an exciting challenge in a starkly different environment from Ann Arbor, all housed within Circa Casino and Resort, the first ground up construction project in forty years on Fremont Street in downtown Las Vegas. Paul is energized to apply what he’s learned from 40 years in the business to the earnest, dedicated folks he’s found as co-workers his Las Vegas businesses.
Among his career highlights, Paul’s most prized are kissing Bonnie Raitt backstage after a Hill Auditorium concert and delivering the University of Michigan commencement address in the Big House in 2015.