Zingerman’s Delicatessen has become an Ann Arbor institution, and Maggie Bayless has been associated with it since the doors opened in 1982. Back then, as a student in the University of Michigan’s MBA program, she left at 4:00 AM every Saturday to drive to the Detroit suburbs and collect the bread needed to make the Deli’s world-famous sandwiches. According to Maggie, “After a week of dealing with business theory, it was great to get behind the wheel of the bread truck. I’d spend my day loading and unloading bread, selling cheese, and helping make a brand new business successful. I’d collapse into bed on Saturday night – physically exhausted but ready to face school again on Monday morning.”
Maggie moved to Ann Arbor in 1979, after graduating from Oberlin College with a degree in German Literature and spending two years working in a Chicago bank. Her first job in Ann Arbor was as a server in a restaurant, where she met Ari Weinzweig and Paul Saginaw, founders of Zingerman’s. In 1982, she enrolled in the University of Michigan’s MBA program. After graduation, Maggie worked for General Motors before joining American Natural Beverage (maker of Soho Natural Soda), as Midwest Regional Sales Manager. In 1988, she helped Zingerman’s computerize their inventory and product costing systems, while working full-time as project manager and instructional designer for Arbor Systems Group. At Arbor Systems, and later on a freelance basis, Maggie managed the development of training courses for corporate clients that included IBM, NCR, and the Ford Motor Company.
In 1994, Maggie decided to partner up with her old pals from Zingerman’s, and Zingerman’s Training, Inc. (a.k.a. ZingTrain) was born. ZingTrain acts as “keeper of the corporate knowledge” within the Zingerman’s Community of Businesses, helping Zingerman’s managers improve their departmental training. In addition, ZingTrain shares Zingerman’s expertise with outside clients through seminars, consulting services and customized training. ZingTrain’s clients include specialty food retailers, as well as organizations from many other industries, including banking, real estate, health care, manufacturing and non-profits.
Maggie regularly leads Zingerman’s staff Train-the-Trainer classes, facilitates ZingTrain seminars and presents to outside clients. Her “Staff Training” column is a regular feature in Gourmet Retailer magazine.