Bios of Key People


Ari Weinzweigtop

Zingerman’s Co-Owner & Founding Partner

Ari moved to Ann Arbor from his hometown of Chicago to attend the University of Michigan. After graduating with a degree in Russian history, he went to work washing dishes in a local restaurant and soon discovered that he loved the food business. Along with his partner Paul Saginaw, Ari started Zingerman’s Delicatessen in 1982 with a $20,000 bank loan, a staff of two, a small selection of great-tasting specialty foods and a relatively short sandwich menu. Today, Zingerman’s is an Ann Arbor institution—the source of great food and great experiences for over 500,000 visitors every year. Each day the Deli serves up thousands of made-to-order sandwiches with ingredients like corned beef and pastrami, homemade chopped liver and chicken salad. The Deli stocks an array of farmhouse cheeses, smoked fish, salamis, estate-bottled olive oils, vintage vinegars, whole bean coffees, loose leaf teas and much more. Ari and Paul have built Zingerman’s into an organization with a 500+ staff and annual sales approaching $40,000,000 a year.

Ari is involved in many educational activities. He has served as a board member and president of The American Cheese Society and as a board member of the Retail Division of the National Association for the Specialty Food Trade. He is a frequent guest speaker in business classes at the University of Michigan and Eastern Michigan University, as well as at various food and business conferences in this country and abroad including the American Institute of Wine and Food, Oldways Preservation and Exchange Trust, the Gathering of Games, and the NASFT Fancy Food Show.

In 1988 Zingerman’s was instrumental in the founding of Food Gatherers, a perishable food rescue program, and continues to be a major supporter of the organization. Every year Food Gatherers delivers over a million pounds of food to people in need. Ari has also served on the board of The Ark, the longest continuously-operating folk music venue in America. In April of 1995, Ari and Paul received the Jewish Federation of Washtenaw County’s first Humanitarian Award for their community contributions. Ari was recognized as one of the “Who’s Who of Food & Beverage in America” by the 2006 James Beard Foundation. In 2007, Ari and Paul were presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award from Bon Appetit magazine for their work in the food industry.

Ari has written over 250 issues of the Zingerman’s newsletter, and has contributed to such magazines as Fine Cooking, Specialty Foods, Gourmet Retailer, and Food and Wine. He has received praise for his books: Zingerman’s Guide to Better Bacon, Zingerman’s Guide to Good Olive Oil, Zingerman’s Guide to Good Vinegar, Zingerman’s Guide to Good Parmigiano Reggiano, Zingerman’s Guide to Giving Great Service as well as his Zingerman’s Guide to Good Leading series, which includes four volumes. His latest is Zingerman’s Guide to Good Leading, Part 4: A Lapsed Anarchist’s Approach to the Power of Beliefs in Business, which was released in the summer of 2016.


Paul Saginawtop

Zingerman’s Co-Owner & Founding Partner

Paul Saginaw and Ari Weinzweig joined forces, to found Zingerman’s Delicatessen, and opened the doors on March 15, 1982. All they wanted at that time was a great corned beef sandwich and an organization with soul.

Zingerman’s started as 1300 square feet of combined restaurant and specialty food retail space, run solely by Paul, Ari and two employees. The Zingerman’s Community of Businesses now has 23 partners, employs over 750 people and generates over $60 million in annual sales from ten separate businesses: Zingerman’s Delicatessen (including Zingerman’s Catering), Zingerman’s Mail Order, Zingerman’s Bakehouse, Zingerman’s Training Inc., Zingerman’s Coffee Company, Zingerman’s Roadhouse, Zingerman’s Creamery, Zingerman’s Candy Manufactory, Zingerman’s Corn Man Farms, and Miss Kim.

Paul believes that he has been successful in spite of the fact that he has limited natural talent and abilities because he has always thought that the only real limits are those of vision.

Position/Title: Chief Spiritual Officer, Zingerman’s Community of Businesses
Education: BS Zoology, U of M 1976  (after an 7 year undergraduate career)
Recognition:

Bon Appetite: Lifetime Achievement Award
White House: “Champion of Change” award 2014
University of Michigan: Honorary Doctorate of Laws 2015

Career Highlights:  
Kissed Bonnie Raitt backstage after a concert.
University of Michigan commencement speaker Spring 2015

Other Business Affiliations:

  • Director – Priority Health
  • Past Director – United Bank & Trust – Washtenaw

Community Activities:

  • Past Board Director – Dawn Farms
  • Past Board President – Washtenaw Housing Alliance (2000-2007)
  • Founder/ Food Gatherers (1988), Board Director 1988-2012, Director Emeritus
  • Past Board President – NEW Center (2001-2008)
  • Past Board Director – Business Alliance for Local Living Economies (2003-2013)

Amy Emberlingtop

Managing Partner, Zingerman’s Bakehouse

Amy has been an avid food lover and baker since her childhood in Nova Scotia, Canada where she often treated friends to after-school concoctions. She grew up in a family business and always hoped to have her own business one day.

Amy received her bachelor’s degree in Social Studies from Harvard College and learned to cook and bake at L’École de Gastronomie Française at the Ritz Hotel in Paris, and she received her MBA from Columbia University in 1999. Amy has lived with her husband Geoff and children Jake and Ruby in France and Denmark and has traveled extensively.

Amy came to Zingerman’s Bakehouse when it opened in 1992 as one of the original bakers on the staff of eight. She was the first manager of the bread department, then the manager of the pastry department, and in 2000, she became co-managing partner along with Bakehouse founder, Frank Carollo. Amy has worked in the food world for over two decades and is passionate about baking, teaching and providing a work environment that fosters growth and development. A few of the Bakehouse treats she has personally developed are the Old School Apple Pie, Buenos Aires Brownies, and Gingerbread Coffeecake.

In addition to her work at the Bakehouse, Amy also teaches seminars, gives talks for ZingTrain, and leads tours for Zingerman’s Food Tours. In 2017, Amy co-authored with Bakehouse partner Frank Carollo the award-winning Zingerman’s Bakehouse, a cookbook filled with unique business insights.


Aubrey Thomasontop

Managing Partner, Zingerman’s Creamery

Aubrey Thomason has worked in the Zingerman’s Community of Businesses in some form or another for her entire adult life. An Ypsilanti native and the only locally grown partner, she got her start at Zingerman’s Delicatessen when she was just 17 years old. Even though she’d already spent most of her teens working in restaurants and grocery stores, it was at the Deli that she discovered her true passion: cheese.

Guided by a desire to learn everything she could about the craft of cheesemaking, Aubrey travelled halfway around the world—she lived in Italy, studied in France, worked on farms, and raised animals, delving deeply into the various aspects of producing great cheese. In 2007, she began working at Zingerman’s Creamery as a production assistant and by the time she was 26, she joined Creamery founder John Loomis as a Managing Partner. After John retired, Aubrey invested into the business to become a 90 percent owner, shepherding the Creamery through a facility renovation that finished April 2017 and included the launch of the Cream Top Shop, the retail showcase for Zingerman’s Creamery.

In her free time Aubrey goes on adventures with her husband Ben, their son Shepherd and his twin sisters Andrea and Roberta. She is an avid cook, gardener, local food enthusiast, world traveler and cyclist.

Aubrey’s daily work is grounded in a deep dedication to preserving, honoring and growing the tradition of American Dairy. Her ultimate vision for the Creamery is to sustain the Creamery and all of its people both spiritually and financially, to help sustain the farms that we work with, and to continue to demonstrate American artisan dairy as a viable industry.


Frank Carollotop

Managing Partner, Zingerman’s Bakehouse

After graduating from the University of Michigan in 1976 with a bioengineering degree, Frank Carollo went to work as the kitchen manager in a local restaurant, where he met Ari Weinzweig and Paul Saginaw. Frank stayed at the restaurant after Ari and Paul left to start Zingerman’s, moving up to become General Manager. Frank later joined Paul as a partner in Monahan’s Seafood Market.

In 1992, Frank was ready for a new challenge, and Zingerman’s was looking to develop an in-house source for the Delicatessen’s bread. After many long discussions, a great deal of research, and in-depth training from master baker Michael London, Zingerman’s Bakehouse was opened in the fall of 1992, with Frank in charge of the day-to-day operations.

Today, Zingerman’s Bakehouse employs a staff of 80 and supplies over 100 wholesale customers with artisanal bread and pastries. Every loaf is formed by hand, proofed for optimal flavor development and baked in one of two stone hearth ovens. Zingerman’s Bakehouse also offers a spectacular selection of pastries, made with real butter, Madagascar vanilla and farm fresh eggs. In the fall of 2001, Zingerman’s Bakehouse introduced delicious, crusty bagels to their morning line-up, thrilling traditionalists who had despaired of ever again getting a bagel with crunch.

The Bakehouse is located in an industrial park on Ann Arbor’s south side that was never intended as a retail destination. However, soon after the Bakehouse opened, people saw the trucks parked outside and come in to buy a loaf of really fresh bread. Now the retail space that began as a folding table in the corner next to the bread oven is a store in its own right, Zingerman’s Bakeshop, with revenues more than 2.5 million dollars a year.

As Managing Partner of the Bakehouse, Frank sees his role as doing whatever it takes—lots of baking, lots of talking, lots of teaching, lots of selling and always a focus on customer service. In March of 1997, Frank was named one of five noteworthy bakers in America by Metropolitan Home magazine. Frank teaches a variety of internal classes on customer service and management and is a frequently requested presenter for outside organizations.

In 2017, Frank co-authored the award-winning Zingerman’s Bakehouse, a cookbook filled with unique business insights, with Bakehouse partner Amy Emberling.


Grace Singletontop

Managing Partner, Zingerman’s Delicatessen

Grace knew from the beginning that she was destined for a life full of food. Initially, she dreamed of becoming a glamorous chef on a cruise ship, but Zingerman’s changed all of that. She received her culinary degree at Paul Smith’s College in New York and managed restaurants across Ohio and Michigan, including the Gandy Dancer in Ann Arbor. Grace became a fan of Zingerman’s Delicatessen while working as General Manager of the Gandy Dancer.

When the opportunity came, she moved to Zingerman’s Deli which she described as “the very best job in the food industry.” As Grace says, “one full-flavor led to another,” and in 2004 she stepped up from Retail Manager to managing partner at the Deli

She currently shares responsibility for Deli operations with partners Rick Strutz (elevated from Deli Restaurant Manager in 2007) and Rodger Bowser (elevated from Deli Chef in 2010). If you stop by the Deli early in the morning, you just might spot Grace sipping from a press pot of the latest roaster’s pick from Zingerman’s Coffee Company and munching a slice of the Pain de Montagne bread with a schmear of Vermont butter and chestnut honey.


Ji Hye Kimtop

Managing Partner, Miss Kim

Ji Hye Kim grew up in Korea eating and enjoying her mother’s homemade food. She has fond memories of family gatherings and holiday celebrations, where big meals, made from scratch, played a central roll. Ji Hye immigrated to the States at the age of 13 and settled in New Jersey.

After graduating from the University of Michigan, Ji Hye spent a few years as an executive in the health care insurance industry. Eventually, a burgeoning interest in food led her to Zingerman’s, where she learned a lot about the restaurant industry and became passionate about the organization’s customer service model.

Ji Hye spent three years in management roles at Zingerman’s Delicatessen before stepping onto the entrepreneurial path with a popular Asian street food venture called San Street at Mark’s Carts in Downtown Ann Arbor for four years. After this initial success, Ji Hye began focusing on building the business and expanding her knowledge. As part of her ongoing development, she worked with Chef Alex Young at Zingerman’s Roadhouse and traveled extensively.

In early 2015, Ji Hye’s time spent on the Zingerman’s Path-to-Partnership culminated with her becoming a managing partner. Her restaurant Miss Kim, opened in Downtown Ann Arbor’s Kerrytown neighborhood in late 2016, serving Korean food and drink rooted in tradition and adapted to the here and now. All dishes are made from scratch with ingredients from local farmers to build a menu that changes seasonally.


Katie Franktop

Managing Partner, ZingTrain

It was Katie’s love for food that eventually led her to Zingerman’s. As a young girl growing up in Dayton, Ohio, she baked large K-shaped cookies and many cakes. Years later, she went to Vanderbilt for a B.A. in Human and Organizational Development, playing basketball as the team’s captain, not just to burn away the K-shaped calories, but to also hone her leadership and teambuilding skills. Katie stayed on at Vanderbilt for a Masters in Human Resource Development.

After leaving Vanderbilt, Katie’s education, passion for team building, leadership skills and love of baking all came together at Bread and Company, Nashville’s premier bakery. She started at Bread and Company as a retail staffer, eventually working her way up to Director of Retail Operations, and ending her four year tenure there as a General Manager, bringing their fourth store on line.

In 2005, Katie came back to her Midwestern roots and joined Zingerman’s Bakehouse as a manager. She led a team of 12 people to create “The Zingerman’s Experience” at Zingerman’s Bakeshop, a tiny (800 sq. ft.) retail space in the industrial park where Zingerman’s Bakehouse bakes all of its artisanal breads and pastries. Undaunted by the challenge of the location and space limitations, Katie responded to the tough economy by growing the annual sales by 40% to $1.6 million during her six years there!

In 2011, Katie jumped at the chance to join the ZingTrain team. As a ZingTrain consultant and presenter, she shares her operational experience as a basis for her teaching on Customer Service, Open Book Management and Servant Leadership. In addition to her work with outside clients, Katie teaches several Zingerman’s staff classes including the Art of Giving Great Service, the Art of Giving Great Service Over the Phone and The Art of Successful Performance Reviews.


Kieron Halestop

Managing Partner, Zingerman’s Cornman Farms

Kieron Hales grew up in the small farming village of Stoke Gabriel in Devon, England. He studied the bassoon as a child, and was a member of National Children’s Orchestra. While he was attending music school, his home economics teacher, Mrs. Williams, noticed his passion for cooking and sent an application on his behalf to the Specialized Chefs School in Bournemouth. After successfully passing the admission requirements, he began four years of studies, graduating at 17. The ceremony was held at the Guild of Butchers Hall in London, and upon graduation Kieron became a member of the Royal Academy of Culinary Arts.

Hales’ culinary experience is extensive, beginning with an apprenticeship under Chef Stephan Goodlad at Coq D’Argent in London. He then embarked on a career that took him around the globe, working in 1- and 2-star Michelin Star restaurants in Ireland, France, Spain, Germany, and Austria. Throughout his career, his interest in the history of food evolved into a desire to gain a better understanding of where and how food is produced. Specifically, Kieron began to develop a passion for traditional foodways, canning, jarring, and farming. In 2008, he emigrated to the U.S. to work for Zingerman’s. He began as sous chef at Zingerman’s Roadhouse under the tutelage of James Beard Award-winning Executive Chef Alex Young, quickly rising to become head chef. He held this position until July of 2013 when he began his transition to Cornman Farms.

Cornman Farms was originally conceived by Chef Alex Young, who began by planting tomatoes intended for use at the Roadhouse. He soon realized the potential for a working farm to bring fresh, field-grown produce, milk, and meat to his restaurant. When the opportunity came to buy a neighboring historic farm, complete with house and barn, Alex immediately saw the potential to expand the farm, and provide a venue for events, dinners, as well as an opportunity to show guests exactly where their food comes from.

In 2010, Kieron attended the Creating a Vision of Greatness seminar at ZingTrain and penned his first vision for a role as managing partner of Cornman Farms. After numerous drafts (probably 25 or 30), and sharing his vision with many people, Kieron began his path to partnership. In May of 2014, Cornman Farms opened its doors as the 9th Zingerman’s business, with Kieron Hales as managing partner.


Kristie Brablectop

Managing Partner, Zingerman’s Food Tours

Born and raised on a farm in southeast Michigan, Kristie was brought up in an aviation family, so travel has always been a part of her life. Kristie began her tenure with Zingerman’s in 2004 as frontline staff in the service center at Mail Order. Her love for Zingerman’s Guiding Principles, food, and the feeling of being part of something bigger than herself, helped her realize that Zingerman’s was the right place for her. She spent 12 fun-filled years there, managing and mentoring staff members.

Over a decade later, in 2015, Kristie became Service Stewart for Zingerman’s Service Network, where she championed a collaborative service environment across all the Zingerman’s businesses. In that role, she maintained an active presence in each business, created meaningful relationships with the organization’s partners, and facilitated new service improvements and initiatives. She was also responsible for all internal customer service classes taught throughout the organization,including training new trainers.

While carrying out those duties, Kristie got the opportunity to work with Food Tours—formerly a branch of Zingerman’s Mail Order focused on culinary traveling. In 2016 Kristie took a trip to Tuscany, and since then, she’s been leading tours, building relationships, and designing new adventures. She sees herself as a guide, educator, facilitator, protector, designer, manager, writer, collaborator, entertainer, excellent service provider, and all around great experience giver. Helming the business and embarking on Zingerman’s Path to Partnership was a natural evolution for Kristie, who became the Managing Partner of Zingerman’s Food Tours in August of 2018.

Kristie brings great enthusiasm and dedication to her role as a managing partner in this organization, and has an immense passion for training. She is always excited to learn and share with others and looks forward to traveling with you in the future!


Maggie Baylesstop

Managing Partner, ZingTrain

Maggie Bayless has been associated with Zingerman’s since the Deli opened its doors in 1982. Back then, as a student in the University of Michigan’s MBA program, she left at 4:00 AM every Saturday to drive to the Detroit suburbs and collect the bread needed to make the Deli’s world-famous sandwiches. According to Maggie, “After a week of dealing with business theory, it was great to get behind the wheel of the bread truck. I’d spend my day loading and unloading bread, selling cheese, and helping make a brand new business successful. I’d collapse into bed on Saturday night – physically exhausted but ready to face school again on Monday morning.”

Maggie originally moved to Ann Arbor in 1979 after graduating from Oberlin College with a degree in German Literature, and spending two years working in a Chicago bank. Her first job in Ann Arbor was as a server in a restaurant, where she met Ari Weinzweig and Paul Saginaw, founders of Zingerman’s. After graduating from Michigan’s MBA program, she worked for General Motors before joining American Natural Beverage (maker of Soho Natural Soda), as Midwest Regional Sales Manager. In 1988, she helped Zingerman’s computerize their inventory and product costing systems, while working full-time as project manager and instructional designer for Arbor Systems Group. At Arbor Systems, and later on a freelance basis, Maggie managed the development of training courses for corporate clients that included IBM, NCR, and the Ford Motor Company.

In 1994, Maggie decided to partner with her old pals from Zingerman’s, and Zingerman’s Training, Inc. (a.k.a. ZingTrain) was born. ZingTrain acts as “keeper of the corporate knowledge” within the Zingerman’s Community of Businesses, helping Zingerman’s managers improve their departmental training. In addition, ZingTrain shares Zingerman’s expertise with outside clients through seminars, consulting services and customized training. ZingTrain’s clients include specialty food retailers, as well as organizations from many other industries, including banking, real estate, health care, manufacturing and non-profits.

Maggie regularly leads Zingerman’s staff Train-the-Trainer classes, facilitates ZingTrain seminars and presents to outside clients. Her “Staff Training” column was a regular feature in Gourmet Retailer magazine for many years.


Mo Frechettetop

Managing Partner, Zingerman’s Mail Order

Mo founded Zingerman’s Mail Order in 1994. Zingerman’s Mail Order is the online shop for Zingerman’s, featuring a selection of foods from Zingerman’s food makers and artisan producers from all over the world. Mail Order produces 15 print catalogs each year and fulfills orders for nationwide delivery from its warehouse on the south side of Ann Arbor, Michigan. The business has 75 employees (400 during the holiday season) and annual revenue of $15 million.

Mo directs the online and print catalog product selection, editorial writing, website design and all aspects of the business look and feel. He also directs the company’s financial and marketing strategies. Mo received his MBA from the Ross School of business at the University of Michigan.


Rick Strutztop

Managing Partner, Zingerman’s Delicatessen

Rick grew up on a small farm in Wisconsin and spent his formative years milking cows and contemplating a career as a professional skier before pursuing an architecture and engineering degree at the University of Wisconsin at Madison.

He soon discovered that his passion was food, and leapt headlong into that world. He became consultant to start-up food businesses, and his experiences took him across the American geographical and culinary landscape. Rick worked with everyone from the owners of lone hot dog stands to big city, high-roller steak houses with just about every variation in between.

Rick came to the Zingerman’s Deli in 2002 as Deli Restaurant Manager and later joined Grace Singleton as co-managing partner in 2007. The Deli’s partnership team was rounded out with the addition of Deli Chef in 2010. You can usually find Rick on the floor of the Deli, or at his “office” –Table 24 in Zingerman’s Next Door coffee house.


Rodger Bowsertop

Managing Partner, Zingerman’s Delicatessen

Rodger started his career at Zingerman’s Deli making sandwiches, 15 years later he is one of three managing partners in what has grown into a $12 million, 187 employee business. Besides spearheading the food coming out of the Deli’s kitchens as Head Chef, Rodger also leads all Purchasing and Marketing operations. Rodger has been instrumental in profitably introducing local, small-farm produce into the Deli’s daily operations and streamlining a very complex buying operation that includes at least several nations and over 5000 products.

Before Zingerman’s Deli, Rodger trained at Chez Panisse and Ballymaloe Cookery School in Cork, Ireland. Rodger combines his passion for food and Zingerman’s commitment to the community by serving as an active board member on several non-profit organizations that are shaping the food system in Michigan, such as the Food System Economic Partnership, Ann Arbor’s Westside Farmer’s Market, and The Agrarian Adventure.

When not working with or on food, Rodger spends time with his wife and children and indulges his other passion, amateur bike racing. Rodger has been racing for over a decade now and runs the Ann Arbor Velo Club’s masters team.


Ron Maurertop

Partner and Chief Administrative Officer

Ron Maurer grew up on a farm outside of Frankenmuth, Michigan. His understanding of his family’s business set the groundwork for his career, sparking an early interest in the inner workings of organizations. Throughout the years, Ron has developed that interest into an expertise in finance and a passion for management and administration.

Ron earned both BS and MBA degrees in Finance and Accounting from Wright State University in Dayton, OH. He has also held CPA certification in Ohio. After graduation, Ron began his finance and accounting career working at the corporate headquarters of The Duriron Company, an international manufacturing corporation. In his next assignment, he spent 11 years at LexisNexis in Dayton, Ohio. There, he held various financial, planning and business management positions. Before coming to Zingerman’s in 2000 as VP of Administration, Ron also worked with Keybank in Cleveland, Cashman Equipment in Las Vegas and living.com, an internet start-up in Greensboro, North Carolina.

Within the Zingerman’s Community of Businesses (ZCoB), Ron directs the Zingerman’s Service Network which includes Accounting, Financial Services, Human Resources, Information Technology, Legal, Administration and Marketing. In 2016, he was confirmed as a partner and became an equity owner (Ron is the first ever administrative officer to become a Zingerman’s partner). He has also served as Chair of the Partners’ Group meetings since 2002.

As Chair of the Partners’ Group, Ron is responsible for the agenda and function of these regular board-level meetings, where many decisions affecting the ZCoB as a whole are made. As part of his centralized administrative role, he supports the entire organization, from reviewing new business visions and annual plans to real estate and banking. Ron believes that all decisions should be made based on what is in the best interest of the organization and when individuals understand how the company works, they’ll make better individual business decisions on a daily basis.

Financial education for staff is an integral part of Zingerman’s approach to Open Book Management. Ron developed and regularly teaches a number of internal finance classes for Zingerman’s staff and speaks frequently to outside organizations about Open Book Management, including ZingTrain seminars.

Ron is actively involved within the community, including roles in leadership positions on local non-profit boards.


Steve Mangigiantop

Managing Partner of Zingerman’s Coffee Company and Zingerman’s Candy Manufactory

After growing up in Philadelphia, Steve has spent most of his adult life in Ann Arbor. He has held a number of positions in a variety of industries (from wholesale to retail), including National Product Manager for a company that sold industrial photographic darkroom equipment as well as Director of Operations for a local retail electronics/appliance chain. He has an undergraduate degree in Management and Organizational Development as well as an MBA.

Steve wouldn’t have guessed that he would end up being a business owner in the coffee industry–when he had his first cup of coffee at age 19, he disliked it so much that he couldn’t swallow it. However, when he found his way to the Zingerman’s Coffee Company in 2006, filling the role as sales manager, his passion, knowledge, and love for coffee grew. In this role, Steve quickly saw that the Coffee Company could grow by expanding its channels of distribution. During this period of building the business, Steve discovered that the culture, work environment, and values so closely aligned with his own that he decided to fulfill his dream of being an owner in 2008.

Steve is involved in every aspect of the business from sourcing to roasting to building the wholesale base of customers. He travels to the beans’ countries of origin regularly, building relationships with producers. In order to build the business, Steve travels to potential wholesale customers to evaluate sales opportunities and provide training and support to existing customers. He also participates in a number of Zingerman’s Partner’s Group committees.

Steve became the managing partner of the Zingerman’s Candy Manufactory in 2018 and feels great that he can apply his same passion and knowledge for coffee to candy. With similar distribution models and Steve’s love of process improvement and quality, taking the lead of the Candy Manufactory was a natural fit.

Steve compares the structure of our organization to a “shopping” experience for any number of “satisfiers/needs.” We can stroll down aisle one and pick up some personal satisfaction. Down aisle two is ample gain-share and opportunity for those that are driven. Aisle three carries healthy peer relationships, and on and on. Ultimately, when we “check out,” we have in our shopping cart all the ingredients of a fulfilling work experience. This applies to employees at all levels of the organization, as there is no limit to opportunities available.

The chance to create opportunities for staff to learn and grow was a big motivator for Steve in becoming a partner, as he strongly believes in servant leadership. The principle of which is that leaders must serve those who choose to follow, not the other way around, as is the case in many organizations. One trip to the Coffee Company, seeing Steve interact with his employees and guests, shows that he lives this.

Steve is also active in a range of activities in the community. He shares his business knowledge by guest lecturing at the University of Michigan Ross School of Business and Washtenaw Community College. He also serves as a board member for Habitat for Humanity.


Tabitha Masontop

Managing Partner, Zingerman’s Cornman Farms

Tabitha Mason brings her diverse experience in customer service and business management to her new role as Managing Partner at Zingerman’s Cornman Farms. After serving as the business’s Venue Manager for several years, her new role allows her to focus on propelling the business forward and continuing to position the farm as a leading destination for unique events and culinary experiences, all while delivering the highest standards in customer service.

Prior to her role at Cornman Farms, Tabitha joined the Zingerman’s organization in 2010
as General Manager of Zingerman’s Roadhouse, one of Zingerman’s top performing businesses. Under her management, the business continued to flourish and excel in delivering top quality food and customer service, her true passion. As GM, Tabitha, and a team of more than 80 staff, was responsible for delivering “The Zingerman’s Experience” to the thousands of guests who dine at the Roadhouse each year.

In 2012, she was presented with the unique opportunity to serve as “Service Steward” for the entire Zingerman’s organization. In this role she was responsible for overseeing and implementing Zingerman’s nationally renowned approach to customer service for all 10 businesses. She did this by analyzing and leveraging company wide service data, managing internal customer service training and chairing a committee of service champions to execute company wide service improvements.

In 2015, Tabitha joined Zingerman’s Cornman Farms as its Venue Manager, a perfect match for her vast service experience. Inspired by the farm’s vision – from growing great food to taking great care of their people to delivering unique experiences with top level service – she was excited for an opportunity to combine her passion for hospitality with her service background. Her understanding of the importance of customer service in the events business allowed her to strengthen her team’s commitment to hospitality and integrate it into the culture from day one. In her role, she managed day-to-day operations, lead the event coordination, groundskeeping/maintenance and beverage coordination teams and oversaw the recruiting, training, scheduling and supervision of all staff. She continues to build and maintain long lasting relationships with everyone from clients to guests and vendors.

Inspired by the immense potential she saw in the business, Tabitha embarked on her path to partnership and joined Kieron Hales as Managing Partner in 2017. She is one of eight female partners within the Zingerman’s organization and is especially excited to continue expanding her role within the business and ensuring the farm reaches its ever-growing potential.

In addition to her position as managing partner, Tabitha has also been a trainer for ZingTrain since 2012. In this role, she shares the renowned Zingerman’s approach to giving great service with businesses throughout the country.

In her spare time, Tabitha enjoys spending time with her family as well as volunteering with various nonprofit organizations in the community. She currently is involved with Junior Achievement, a program whose goal is to instill work readiness, entrepreneurship and financial literacy in our country’s children. She also works with Give Merit, an organization working to enhance and extend educational opportunities to underserved youth.


Tom Roottop

Managing Partner, Zingerman’s Mail Order

Tom Root grew up near Youngstown, OH with a passion for business and entrepreneurship. After graduating from Miami University in 1993, he became a certified business counselor for the state of Michigan, advising entrepreneurs on business plan development and capital acquisition through the SBA’s Small Business Development Center program. Tom specialized in computer and software start-ups, and at the same time ran a consulting company to advise clients on website development.

In January of 1995 Tom became the first employee of Online Technologies Corporation, where he was Director of Development and Training. Over the next year he taught weekly classes through Walsh College and led the development of over 100 websites. During one of his teaching sessions, Tom was introduced to a team of people who had been charged with the creation of a website for a Michigan public electric utility, Detroit Edison. By February 1996 Tom was the principal web application developer for Detroit Edison. During his three years at Edison he managed a budget of over $1 million per year and organized a team of seven to create and manage Edison’s eight external web sites and its 50,000 page intranet.

In January of 1999, while attending a food conference in San Francisco with his wife Toni Morrell (then a manager at Zingerman’s Delicatessen), Tom struck upon the idea for a Zingerman’s website and began the process of becoming a Zingerman’s managing partner. On September 22, 1999 Zingermans.com took its first order, and Tom took on his first official role at Zingerman’s as Chief Information Officer. During the next two years he introduced Zingerman’s to email, established a wide area network, connecting all the various Zingerman’s locations and managed Zingermans.com (with lots of help from Toni!)

In 2002 Zingerman’s Mail Order and Zingermans.com merged and Tom took on the role of controller of the resulting business (known simply as Zingerman’s Mail Order). As controller, Tom has championed open book management and taken the lead on educating staff about the financial ins and outs of the business.

Tom teaches a number of internal staff classes for Zingerman’s employees and is also a frequent presenter for outside organizations. No doubt due to his technology background, Tom is the only Zingerman’s managing partner who routinely chooses to use PowerPoint.


Toni Morelltop

Managing Partner, Zingerman’s Mail Order

Toni grew up in Youngstown, Ohio and studied at Youngstown State University, where she received a BBA and served as president for the university chapter of the American Marketing Association. After graduation Toni managed at several retail stores before joining the Zingerman’s team in July of 1996 as Manager/Purchaser in the retail department of Zingerman’s Delicatessen. She has always had a passion for food and business.

Since joining Zingerman’s, Toni’s sights were set on becoming a managing partner in a new Zingerman’s business. In the spring of 1999, she realized that goal when she and her partner, Tom Root, launched Zingermans.com, the Zingerman’s online catalog. In 2002 Zingerman’s Mail Order and Zingermans.com merged and became known simply as Zingerman’s Mail Order, which sells and fulfills orders of traditional and gourmet foods. Zingerman’s Mail Order has annual sales of $15 million and employs 75 year-round and 400 seasonal employees.

Toni has also served many non profits, including the Ann Arbor Education Foundation, Jazzistry, and Ann Arbor Art Center. She is currently 826National’s board president and a board member of the U School. She lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan with her husband and business partner (Tom Root) and two sons, Ian and Henry