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Jeno, The Power of the Peddler by Jeno F. Paulucci ... Paulucci International
Casebound | 570 pages
ISBN: 0-9715532-03

The Power of the Peddler

Jeno F. Paulucci

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JENO FRANCESCO PAULUCCI is larger than life. He is one of those rare individuals who seem to dominate a room just by walking in the door. Whether involved in business, politics, or social activism, he is the master of the moment without even raising his voice —though Jeno can do that too.

Over many years, Jeno has used his strength of character and power of persuasion not only to gain great wealth for his family, but also to change the lives of the less fortunate, from handicapped people and ex-convicts who needed a job to Native Americans living on their bleak reservations.

Jeno knows what it means to be disadvantaged. Born in poverty on the Iron Range of northern Minnesota, he suffered and stood up to ethnic discrimination. With his steely resolve and rollicking sense of humor, he became in turn . . .

—The funniest and most successful street barker the old town of Duluth had ever known

—A hard-living traveling salesman so skillful that he made more money than the president of the company

—The builder of several empires in the foods business, with famous brand names like Chun King Chinese foods, Jeno’s Pizza Rolls, Michelina’s Frozen Entrees, and others

—A legendary pioneer in unconventional, humorous advertising that stirred a revolution on Madison Avenue

—A major influence in local, state, and national politics, whose voice of good sense has to be heard whether you agree with him or not

—An advisor to almost every president since Eisenhower

Along the way, he never hesitated to take business risks that would scare the pants off less adventurous entrepreneurs . . . or to spit in the eye of the elite who opposed him . . . or to reach out his strong arm to lift up the downtrodden.

Now in his late eighties, Jeno continues to direct his wide-ranging business, social, and political enterprises—still working seven days a week with boundless energy. He shrugs off the many honors that have come to him over the years, saying, “To hell with all that. I’m just a peddler from the Iron Range.”

However, he has finally agreed to do what his friends have long been urging: tell his uniquely American story.

But it’s not one story; it’s a collection of stories that will make you laugh or cry, or both. You don’t just read this book. You feel it. Meet Jeno! You’ve never met anyone like him.


Barbara and I have the highest regard for Jeno Paulucci. Throughout his years in business, he has exhibited great leadership. When tackling a difficult problem, he always comes up with the right answer. We Bushes salute Jeno as well for being a true Point of Light. His willingness to help others is not only well known, but admired. Jeno, you da man!
—President George H. W. Bush

“Jeno’s immense self-made success as one of the nation’s great entrepreneurs reminds us how real the American Dream is. And his open-hearted patriotism and generosity inspire all of us who have had the pleasure of knowing him. Get to know him: Read his book!”
—Mario Cuomo
Former Governor of New York

“I’ve known Jeno for 45 years. He is the classic American success story. No one can shake things up and push an agenda like Jeno, and his life is a testament to working hard and sticking to your ideas. I’m proud to consider him a friend and compatriot.”
—Walter F. Mondale
Former Vice President of the United States

“Jeno Paulucci has lived a magical life, the sort of towering success that is the stuff of mythology. Except Jeno’s story is real, fascinating and enticing. Read and enjoy!”
—Jack Valenti Former President of the Motion
Picture Association of America

“Jeno is a great Floridian who has led by example. He generously enriches the lives of those he encounters. I treasure his friendship and admire his leadership, character and enthusiasm.”
—Jeb Bush
Governor of Florida

“Jeno Paulucci was almost the first name I heard when I came to America in 1971, and the last name when I stepped down as chief executive of Heinz in 1988–and for good reason. He is unique, and his inventiveness and will to win have added an important dimension to the American frozen food industry.”
—Sir Anthony O’Reilly
Former Chairman, President and CEO of H. J. Heinz Company

“Jeno is clearly the king of entrepreneurs.”
—Gary L. Wilson
Chairman of Northwest Airlines

“Jeno is one of the most entrepreneurial, imaginative, and caring people I have ever met during the course of my career, and he serves as a role model for corporate and civic responsibility. For decades he has reinvented himself time and time again through his businesses, perhaps more than any other person in the United States. I have witnessed firsthand the wonderful difference he has made in the lives of the people of Ohio. Jeno realizes that one of the greatest things that one can do for his fellow man is to provide the opportunity to work.”
—George V. Voinovich
United States Senator from Ohio

“Like Judy Garland, Bob Dylan and the iron ore that won two wars, Jeno Paulucci came out of the cold, hard earth of Northern Minnesota to change the world. When you look up ‘entrepreneur’ in the dictionary, they should have his picture. He is the scrappiest, hardest-working, most irrepressible, biggest-hearted lover of life you will ever meet. Anyone who comes around his life is inspired to ignore the nay-sayers, grab life by the throat and say, ‘Why shouldn’t I dare to do something great?’ He is a true-blue American success story, a testament to the amazing power of a regular guy.”
—Norman Coleman
United States Senator from Minnesota

“Jeno Paulucci, over the years, has demonstrated integrity, creativity and splendid leadership as one of America’s outstanding business successes. I am very proud of my relationship with him.”
—Bob Strauss
Former Ambassador to the
Soviet Union, Former Chairman
of the Democratic National

“Jeno Paulucci has without doubt given strong support to the valor of Italians in the United States and to a new type of relationship with the country of origin. Because of his work with the National Italian American Foundation, he remains the founder of such progress with respect to the initial hard times of our immigrants.”
—Giulio Andreotti
Former Prime Minister of the
Republic of Italy

“I have known Jeno for well over 30 years and have found him to have one of the sharpest and most entrepreneurial business minds of anyone I have ever met. He forges forward where others dare not tread. He follows the avenue which he believes is correct and proceeds with full force, notwithstanding critics who may challenge the soundness of his ideas. He is an outstanding leader of the Italian American community, and having worked with him, I have the greatest respect and admiration for the leadership and contributions he has made to that community.”
—Arthur J. Gajarsa
Circuit Judge United States Court
of Appeals for the Federal Circuit

“Jeno is an old friend and political cohort, a keen and successful businessman with an irrepressible spirit . . . one of the most engaging men I’ve known, who is devoted to family, community and country.”
—Chuck Colson
Chairman of Prison Fellowship

“The best evidence of the American Dream is the life of Jeno Paulucci. He breathes the divine fire of free enterprise, and his success as an entrepreneur is exceeded only by his contributions to country and family.”
—Mike Hatch
Minnesota Attorney General

“I have known Jeno for 50 years. No one is his equal for motivating others to share his vision for building our nation, our state and our communities.”
—Judge Gerald Heaney
United States Court of Appeals Eighth Circuit

“Jeno Paulucci’s life epitomizes the American Dream: immigrant roots, hard work, success only limited by your reach. My mother said of her neighbors: ‘The Paulucci family was poor like the rest of us. Jeno just worked harder than everyone else.’ At the pinnacle of success, Jeno always remembered the communities that nurtured his progress and the people who extended a helping hand. He invested in those communities and lifted friends out of distress. Jeno truly is the American ideal.”
—James L. Oberstar
United States Congressman from Minnesota

“Jeno is the epitome of the entrepreneur. Leave Jeno alone with a small pile of money and in time he’ll have a large number of customers plus a big pile of money.”
—Charles (Mike) Harper
Chairman Emeritus of ConAgra Foods

“Jeno is one of those special people in life that once you’ve met you’ll never forget. Jeno combines enthusiasm, determination, caring, kindness and forcefulness into an unbelievable human package. Jeno is a tough man to say ‘no’ to—hell, he’s a tough man to say ‘yes’ to! I truly admire and respect my friend Jeno Paulucci.”
—Steve Sviggum
Speaker of the House of
Representatives, State of Minnesota

“Jeno Paulucci had the rare acumen to foresee the vast potential for prepared frozen foods in the hectic economy of post–World War II and the courage to confront giant corporations moving into the market at the same time. That Jeno has survived—indeed flourished—in building one of the nation’s major frozen food marketers, attests to the commitment and capabilities that have characterized his career. Nor has preoccupation with business deterred him from fulfilling what he considers his obligations to the community, as reflected in the numerous charities and benefits he has supported and for which he has been honored by both his native city and state.”
—A. H. Rosenfeld
Former Publisher of Frozen Food Age magazine

“Jeno is truly an amazing American success story. Starting from nothing as a young boy living on the Iron Range of Minnesota, he gleaned lumps of coal from nearby railroad tracks for the family to get by. From those humble beginnings he built a food empire. From bean sprouts and eggs rolls to pizza and frozen dinners, he has had more good ideas on how to make money than anyone I have ever met and he still has more energy than most men half his age.”
—Joseph Hall
Former COO of
Food Lion Supermarkets

“Having represented Jeno for over 15 years and won many millions for him—no, not for him but with him—I know that Jeno has a sixth sense about the future, both in business and in court. He has the uncanny ability to feel the future and the true grit to see a case through to success.”
—Attorney David Simmons

“Read this book. It will move you. It will inspire you. You will be transported back in time. You will be motivated by the greatest American ‘peddler’ of all time. Although only five feet four inches in height, Jeno Paulucci towers above all other‘peddlers’ of the 20th Century. His book does too. I just wish I could have tasted an ‘Argentine banana’ [see Chapter 2].”
—Attorney George G. Eck
Dorsey & Whitney LLP

“Jeno is a true ‘Iron Ranger.’ He has never forgotten his roots; he has never forgotten his friends. He has a heart as big as a whale, and who else but Jeno could sell bikinis to the Eskimos. He has to be the finest salesman in the world!”
—Tom Dougherty
Classmate, Hibbing High School Class of 1935

“Jeno, the iron man from the iron range. Although Floridians have not yet discovered any iron ore under our state, we appreciate the great contributions your entrepreneurship have and are making to our state. Heathrow has set a standard of community excellence which has influenced the present and future of town planning in our fast growing Florida. You have a lot of wisdom to share—thank you for doing so.”
—Bob Graham
United States Senator from Florida

“If you would enjoy reading a book about how a unique man rose from the hardscrabble Northern Minnesota Iron Range to great success—and not just in money—this is a book for you. Read about a man who is tough-minded, imaginative and caring at the same time—a paradoxical genius with a great sense of humor. His wife Lois still finds him charming. So will you. He’s challenging, creative, inspiring, honest, and full of common sense. Give this book to your children to read too. Jeno, glad I metcha!”
—John Phillips
Former CEO of R. J. Reynolds Foods

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