Nicholas Papanier

Stick with the things that work. Don’t try to hit home runs all the time, be happy with singles. Treat people right and fair and you will find it comes back to you threefold in health and happiness.


Nicholas Papanier, shareholder and consultant, knows a few things about food distribution. Although now semi-retired, he has seen a franchise business grow into 100 stores.

Thirty-five years ago, with the ups and downs of construction work and layoffs, he answered an ad for “Food Distribution” with a local manufacturing company. He was hired and given a route and found himself quickly successful.
Nicholas Papanier continued with distribution for about 20 years when the opportunity to buy into a sandwich shop appeared. The idea of working for himself was one that he had been thinking about and this was perfect timing. With demand for the product growing, the decision was made to go into franchising the business. In the first year alone, there were five stores open, the second year 10, and it just kept growing from there.

Nicholas Papanier has always had confidence in himself and never doubted his business. He knew that if he worked hard and treated people and customers right, the business would be successful, and he wasn’t going to accept defeat.

Where did the idea for your company come from?

The idea of a wholesale food distribution route was the description from the ad in the newspaper. They were looking for someone who could distribute and sell the products offered by the manufacturer within a specific territory.

What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?

Because I’m semi-retired now, I have the luxury to catch up on emails and spend time in the office on a limited basis and make sure I am there for any employees who may need support.

How do you bring ideas to life?

All ideas are good, however, some may not be feasible for our business. I encourage my staff and team members to share any ideas and then we can evaluate those ideas to see if they would be beneficial to our business and we certainly have to consider what impact these ideas might have on our business.

What’s one trend that excites you?

Watching my business continue to grow is certainly very rewarding to me and I feel very proud that I have built a great foundation for future growth. My son is getting involved in the business, and he is the one that really is overseeing the continued growth.

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

I have an excitement and passion for this business and I really enjoy helping others succeed. I have a thirst for positivity and success and I hope to inspire others to do the same.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Stick with the things that work. Don’t try to hit home runs all the time, be happy with singles. Treat people right and fair and you will find it comes back to you threefold in health and happiness.

Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.

None of us will live long enough to make all the mistakes ourselves…Most people don’t take advice from those who have experience. I have a lot of experience, however, most of my experience came way after I needed it. We don’t always have to be teachers, it’s ok to be a student once in a while.

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

I think you have to believe in yourself first of all. It’s also important to treat everyone fairly. Never take no for an answer. I think if everyone did this, believe in these items, they would find things go smoother more often than not.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?

Being very supportive to our customers and our employees and providing them with whatever assistance and support I can.

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

In the beginning, I didn’t realize how important building a relationship with individuals within chain stores was. I decided to get to know the offices of the companies and turn a business relationship into a personal relationship which helped me know and understand my customer’s needs much better.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

If you want to be successful in any business, the most important thing is to maintain the highest quality and service. Be consistent with everything, especially the food, because people will pay for a good product. If you’re consistently making people happy, they’ll continue to come back.

What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?

Probably a bottle of wine that I wouldn’t normally buy, but I did enjoy it.

What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?

We should all be grateful for technology and where it has taken us. My phone is my best example of technology. It provides me with real time information on my business in many areas. I can get financial reports on every aspect of our business as well as utilize the security technology to see every area of our business from the office to the warehouse with our security camera technology and allows me to have eyes and ears everywhere.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

My most recent book is titled “BOLD”. It is authored by Peter Diamonds and Steven Kotler. This book really explains how to “Go Big” and impact the world. It is a radical “How To” guide for using technology, creative thinking and tools to create impact on our community and positively impact the lives of many. It addresses everything you mentioned in this article. It speaks to entrepreneurs who want to go from “I have an idea” to “I run a billion-dollar company.” It references billionaires like Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos and Richard Branson.

What is your favorite quote?

I have to go back to “don’t take no for an answer” and treat everyone fairly and with respect”. That is the backbone for our culture.

Key Learnings:

– Treat people right and fair and you will find it comes back to you threefold in health and happiness.
– We don’t always have to be teachers
-Always believe in yourself first and foremost