Variety FoodServices began in 1928, on the cusp of the Great Depression. Founder Norman Nowak recognized that the increasing inability to collect payment from customers was a contributing factor towards business insolvency. Intuitively, Norman recognized that vending would be an excellent solution to this receivable issue since coins had to be inserted before products would dispense.
Since those rather humble beginnings, we have grown to become Michigan’s largest independent vending and cafeteria service provider and are now ranked in the top 5% of all vending and food service companies. With business expanding, we have now expanded our vending operations to a 2nd location in Warren, MI.
Much of Variety's success can be attributed to Ken & Don Nowak, son's of founder Norman Nowak. Coincidentally, the opening of Variety's 2nd location has taken place around the same time we are recognizing the anniversary of Ken Nowak's passing.
Larry Nowak, Vice President of Vending & Dining Operations and son of Ken Nowak, shares a few thoughts on how his father helped shape him into a leader and continue to grow a family owned & operated business now onto it's 4th generation:
"Variety’s foundation and success date back to Dad's understanding of knowledge. He knew that knowledge had to be gained and came in two main forms; from his hands on experience and from somebody else’s experience, which he had access to through reading. He attacked this thirst for knowledge from both ends; he worked hard in the company through the days and read as often as he could. Sounds crazy, but through all this he still had time for his family and his faith. He knew that to be successful in anything (life or business), it took hard work, homework, and good people. He never said it, but he was the greatest example of educating himself and trusting his people. This truly created our culture at Variety. In our world, we not only had a business opportunity, but a family business opportunity! This created new challenges for Dad and ultimately us….the 3rd generation. Knowing there were challenges to arise, we prepared for them in advance. For me, as a teen I was taught about family business through books and through the education from an expert in family business success. Ultimately, learning our business and learning what successful family business’ do helped me and the Variety team welcome in our 4th generation and to now celebrate our 90th year of Family Business Success."
- Larry Nowak
Vice President of Vending & Dining Operations