Mr. Vincent J. “Jim” Lipari of Birmingham, Michigan, died Nov. 7, 2019, at the age of 91 with his family by his side. Born on May 6, 1928, in Detroit, Mr. Lipari was a longtime Michigan resident.
Mr. Lipari founded Warren, Michigan-based Lipari Foods in 1963, after distributing unique products from the back of his Ford station wagon since the early 1950s. The first product was a barbecue sauce, Bazzo’s, that he and a partner created. Lipari would work a sales route on his days off from a grocery store he operated to peddle the barbecue sauce and soon after began selling Bella Mia Spaghetti Sauce. After he formed the company in 1963, other products were added to the Lipari Foods product line. In 1967, Frank’s Tea & Spice appointed Lipari as its distributor, and Mr. Lipari soon was known as the “spice man.” This was his big break. His customer base, which included many independent supermarkets, began to expand.
Today, the company is a major food distribution entity serving retailers in 15 states and employing more than 2,000 people.
“Jim has been a mentor, leader and friend to many not only in the food industry but also to anyone who crossed his path. His kindness and generosity set Jim apart from others. Jim was an extremely charitable individual and had a very generous nature and a soft spot in his heart for the charity Feed the Children,” Lipari Foods says in a news release. “Jim was a true salesman at heart and always reminded his employees that the customer comes first and nothing happens until ‘someone sells something.’ For all he did for others and for his success in business, Jim Lipari will never be forgotten.”
Memorial donations may be made to Feed the Children.