Kansas City MO-based Paris Brothers Inc was recently selected by the US Department of Agriculture as the National Small Business Contractor of the Year for 2011.

According to Bruce Nelson, acting administrator for the USDA, Paris Brothers was nominated and selected for this award as a reflection of its overall contract performance and for doing its part to make effective commodity programs.

Since 2003, Paris Brothers has provided contract food distribution services for the USDA’s Multifoods program, supplying a needed service to efficiently and effectively distribute food supplies to government-supported agencies throughout the western United States. What had begun as a test program quickly evolved into a permanent and successful government-private industry partnership.

Paris Brothers, a family-owned company, offers specialized distribution services, primarily focusing on specialty foods such as artisan cheeses. It has developed inventive ways to bring value to its products’ supply chains, starting with an innovative storage system. Occupying more than 650,000 square feet of naturally climate-controlled underground storage, this large storage area lets Paris Brothers quickly and efficiently move products, as well as maintain environmental standards since less is spent on heating and cooling. Known as SubTropolis, the facility owned by Hunt Midwest is Kansas City’s largest underground storage facility.

“We’re honored to have been selected for this award. We have a hardworking team that is dedicated to the superior quality of our products and has a true commitment to exemplary service to our customers,” said Joe Paris, co-founder of Paris Brothers.

In 1983, two brothers—Salvatore and Joseph Paris—started a popcorn manufacturing and distribution company called Sally Jo’s Old Fashioned Popcorn. What started with the brothers using one truck servicing Kansas City-area restaurants and foodservice outlets has grown to become a national specialty foods company providing warehousing, logistics, and distribution services. The company’s products consist of more than 4,500 food items, including 600 cheeses and charcuterie products. Paris Brothers has nearly 100 employees with expanded divisions in food product manufacturing, specialty coffee roasting, food product marketing, and supply chain services.