Atlas Wholesale Food Company is a recognized leader in foodservice distribution
with a commitment to servicing our customers, to improving the quality of life for our
employees, and to supporting the local community. Our company culture reflects
innovative thinking with an entrepreneurial spirit. Our consultative approach focuses
on developing long term customer partnerships. We deliver maximum value to our
customers through operational, logistical, and technological efficiencies. Customer
success is achieved from our team’s development of unique solutions. Quality and
service is the Atlas Way.
The Atlas Story
The food business was not a new endeavor for Athas P.
Kotsis. In the early 1900’s Athas owned a grocery store,
Athens Grocery, in Detroit Michigan’s Greektown area.
Athas eventually sold Athens Grocery and established
Atlas Importing Company during World War II (1939) in
the Eastern Market area of Detroit. Atlas Importing
Company was located in a larger facility with a location
that was more opportune for growing the business.
Athas chose the name, Atlas, for two main reasons:
- The new name needed to convey that this grocery
store was a place where people could always
find food from all over the world, not only
traditional local food.
- He also wanted a name that would be easy to
look up in the phonebook; Atlas worked well
since it would appear near the beginning.
Athas hired his second son, Jim Kotsis, at Atlas Importing Company in 1958.
Since Atlas Importing Company was growing at a steady rate, Jim’s helping
hand was a welcome relief to Athas and Pete. As Atlas continued to grow,
several duties began to require regular attention; both glamorous and not so
glamorous. Pete and Jim filled several different rolls at the company; selling
products, delivering orders, unloading trucks, and sweeping the floors at the
end of the day.
Atlas founder, Athas Kotsis
As Atlas continued to grow, other employees were hired. The new employees
filled the rolls of salesmen, order takers, drivers, and warehouse workers.
Since the strength of Atlas Importing Company proved to be in wholesale food
distribution, the name of the company was changed and was incorporated as
Atlas Wholesale Food Company in 1969.
The new facility included a single level warehouse, indoor truck docks, and large offices. This is the
facility that Atlas currently occupies. In 1987 the owners decided to expand the refrigeration/ freezer
capacity by building an addition to the existing facility.
In 2005, Michael Kotsis, Ted's oldest son, joined the company. His arrival marked the third generation
of family working with Atlas. In 2007, John Kohl, grandson of Athas Kotsis, joined the Atlas team.
Atlas Wholesale Food Company, with roots running back for nearly one century, and three generations
of family, is a reliable source of supply for restaurants in the metro Detroit area. With an ever-
expanding and changing product mix, Atlas is committed to one never-changing goal; “Quality and
Service is Our Motto”. With continued commitment from all of Atlas' employees, this motto will provide
the foundation for the ongoing success of Atlas Wholesale Food Company.
Atlas was a successful business and needed more
employees to keep up with the growth. In 1949, Athas
looked to his eldest son, Pete Kotsis, for assistance.
Pete learned his roll very quickly and took on an
important role at Atlas. His primary responsibility was
customized order fulfillment to restaurants in the area.
Pete’s significant and successful contribution of fulfilling
customer requests created the foundation for the
transition of Atlas Importing Company into Atlas
Wholesale Food Company.
After graduating college and pursuing other careers, John and Ted also
decided to join the family business. Ted and John took on specific
responsibilities at Atlas. John took ownership over sales and marketing
activities, while Ted took ownership over Atlas’ financial and accounting
Ultimately it became inefficient to operate the business in several buildings. In
1976 the decision was made to move to a single facility on Detroit’s east side.
Current Atlas Logo as of 2007
|Original Logo, and still on
Atlas In the News & Recent Awards
1. Service: The Customer is the center of everything that we do.
2. Profit: A Fair Profit is essential to stay in business.
3. Growth: Flexibility is built into our systems and people.
4. FUN: Business is fun and exciting for employees, customers, & suppliers.
The Three Guiding Principles of Atlas
Original Athens Grocery Store, 1930's