In 1900 there were over 200 coffee trading and importing firms operating in Manhattan’s “coffee district”. Sprague and Rhodes Commodity Corp. was one of them. It reorganized in 1954 and became a partnership with Donald A. Sperling as principal owner and President, and Gene David and Jack Bloom (former J. Aron) as Vice Presidents and minority partners.
Roland Veit was hired by the company in 1980 as a coffee trader after a career as a commodity buyer at Nestle’s world headquarters in Vevey, Switzerland (1972-1974), Nestle USA (1974-1975) and Nestle South Africa (1976-1980) where his principal function was green coffee buying.
Roland Veit and Donald Sperling formed Paragon Coffee Trading Company on May 1st, 1986 and ultimately moved the company from 99 Wall Street in Manhattan to White Plains, NY in 1995. Four years earlier in 1991, Haebler Capital, a private investment company in Greenwich, Connecticut, becomes a partner of Paragon. That relationship continues today.
Paragon adds two Managing Directors:
Michael Silberstein started in coffee in 1983 and joined Paragon in 1992. Throughout his career he has worked with both large corporate and family owned and operated roasters, providing both with specific solutions to meet their specific needs. He is proud to have kept many of his customers for 25 years or more.
Stephen Bauer founded Steaming Bean Coffee Co., a Colorado based roaster/retailer, in 1991. He later lived and worked in Nairobi, Kenya with exporter Uneximp Ltd. before returning to the US to act as the agent for African coffee trading firm Schluter S.A. He joined Paragon as a trader in 1999 and has been a licensed Coffee “C” Grader since 2008. Stephen has won first place in both the US Cup Taster Championship and Sintercafe cupping competitions.
Today, Paragon is a predominantly employee-owned ESOP.