Our company story starts like so many other successful American business histories – with an immigrant who wanted the opportunity to build something in a place he viewed as "the land of opportunity". Looking back we now realize how much his personal journey parallels the growth of our company.
Born in 1899 in the small farming village of Kaporelli, Greece, Clement Pappas dreamed of creating a new life for himself. Passage to America was expensive so he did the obvious: he walked 60 miles to Athens and found work there. In 1914 Clement landed at Ellis Island and joined his older brothers. After working together for awhile in a cannery in Alabama they traveled back north to New Jersey where they purchased land, started growing vegetables and eventually built their own cannery. In 1942, Clement sold his interest to his brothers and purchased a facility in Cedarville, N.J, renaming it the Clement Pappas Company. Specializing in processing local crops of cranberries, blueberries, tomatoes, peaches, asparagus and other vegetables, the company grew rapidly.
In 1962 Clement's older son, Dean joined the company followed several years later by younger brother, Peter. After Clement's death in 1966 the second generation took responsibility. Under their direction, the company continued to expand. In 1970 the company began a long period of sustained growth that resulted in creating a national production footprint via expansion to Seabrook NJ, Springdale AR, Mountain Home, NC, Ontario, CA and Baltimore, MD along with a specialized cranberry handling facility in Carver, MA. The company specializes in supplying the private label needs of retailers and foodservice distributors, creating high quality products for marketing under the customer's Own/Private brand.
The third generation of the Pappas family has joined the company ensuring the passionate commitment to quality products, sustainable growth investments and employing outstanding people will continue. The entrepreneurial spirit and drive of the company's founder lives on.
On June 18, 2011, Clement Pappas and Company, Inc. signed an agreement to merge with a subsidiary of Lassonde Industries. On August 12, 2011, Lassonde Industries Inc., along with members of the Pappas and Lassonde families, completed the acquisition. Lassonde has a beneficial ownership of 70.7%. Of the remaining 29.3%, 19.3% is held by members of the Pappas family and 10.0% by members of the Lassonde family. According to Pierre-Paul Lassonde, Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of Lassonde Industries Inc., "the combination brings together two leading fruit juice and drink manufacturers to form a leader in the North American market, one that will maintain its commitment to innovation, quality, and integrity."
"The two companies are very complementary and, together, have a balanced business and well-diversified product offering," said Jean Gattuso, Chief Operating Officer of Lassonde Industries Inc. "By leveraging the strengths of our two companies, we will be able to even better serve the current and future needs of our customers."
Effective as of the closing, Clement Pappas, grandson of the founder, succeeded Dean Pappas, who has retired after more than 50 years of service to the company and the industry. He and his late brother, Peter, steered the company through a long period of sustained growth. Clement Pappas commented, "the combination brings us tremendous opportunity to grow our business across North America while maintaining our strong core values."