Byrd Cookie Company recently hired consumer packaged goods and consumer food industry veteran Mark Paradiso as the company’s new national sales director. Paradiso brings more than 20 years of experience, ranging from large consumer to entrepreneurial food brands, as well as 10 years of experience as principal of a major food broker to his position at Byrd.
In his new role, Paradiso is responsible for the promotion of national sales and business development, creation of a long-term sales strategy, management of existing customer relationships and the establishment of a national broker network. He will be integral in helping Byrd Cookie Company reach its goal of becoming the leading innovator and manufacturer of specialty cookies and savory snacks.
Before joining Byrd Cookie Company, Paradiso served as the director of sales at Bodacious Food Company, another family-owned cookie and specialty food company in Georgia. During his tenure with the company, he provided key account management for all sales and promotion planning at big box stores and major grocers, including Walmart, Kroger and Food Lion. He also served as the National Sales Manager for Fusion Gourmet, a multi-brand specialty food manufacturer based in Gardena, Calif.
Earlier in his career, he founded Paradiso Specialty Foods, Inc., a $3.5 million food brokerage company representing well-known brands like Jelly Belly, Perugina/Nestle and Smithfield/Williamsburg Foods. He also served as the Regional Sales Manager of Keebler Company and as the National Sales Manager for 1996 Atlanta Olympics Product Licensee The Seckinger-Lee Company, which was later bought by Byrd.
“I have known Mark for nearly 20 years and have always been extremely impressed by his knowledge and success in the cookie and specialty food industry,” said Stephanie Lindley, Byrd Cookie Company’s CEO. “His strategic approach to business growth, keen understanding of the Southeast market and strong commitment to cultivating customer relationships will help us expand the Byrd legacy.”
Originally from Chicago, Paradiso attended the University of Memphis in Tennessee. He currently lives in Alpharetta, Ga. and divides his time between Atlanta and Byrd’s headquarters in Savannah, Ga.
Originally founded in Savannah in 1924, Byrd is one of the largest and fastest-growing independent cookie and snack companies in the United States. Byrd bakes more than three tons of cookies daily in 16 delicious bite-sized flavors, including Key Lime Coolers, Georgia Peach, Scotch Oatmeal, Benne Wafers, Chocolate Chip and Salted Caramel. Byrd Cookie Company operates successful retail stores in Savannah, Ga. and Charleston, S.C.
The company’s iconic Key Lime Cooler was the first cookie to win Dessert of the Year top honors at the Int’l Fancy Food Show. Byrd’s best-selling savory items include Benne Bits, Cheddar Crisps and Cheddar Pecan Biscuits.