Owner of Paramount Fine Foods says his company’s purchase of the Hershey Centre naming rights shows that the Canadian dream is achievable in Mississauga
Chances are you’ve already sampled the great Middle Eastern fare offered by a Paramount Foods restaurant—there are at least eight of them in Mississauga! And chances also are that you’ve visited Mississauga’s famous Hershey Centre to see a game or a concert or some other grand event.
Here’s a development that will fill two such needs with one deed come this summer: Paramount Foods has purchased the recreational and entertainment centre’s naming rights, and as of July 1, will be serving some of their popular Middle Eastern dishes at the centre, which will be renamed the Paramount Centre.
The owner of Paramount Fine Foods, Mohamad Fakih, is very happy about this partnership. He says his company’s purchase of the Hershey Centre naming rights is proof that the Canadian dream is achievable in Mississauga.
Mississauga’s director of recreation, Shari Lichterman, said the city chose Paramount to replace Hershey—whose naming rights contract is expiring —because of the synergy between the brand and the community. “You want it to be a company that’s a fit with the community — one that has a good name and is easily remembered,” said Lichterman. “Mohamad and Paramount are big players in the community … so to have a company like Paramount, that really does so much and is so well known, that’s really an added benefit.”
“I came to this country with nothing”, says Fakih. “For any immigrant entrepreneur that has come to this country with a dream, this shows that this dream is possible with persistence and commitment.”
Fakih arrived in Mississauga in 1999, and 8 years later bought a struggling Lebanese restaurant, eventually turning it into the restaurant juggernaut it is today. Paramount is a chain of over three dozen eateries and butcher shops across Canada. And it’s crossing borders. With franchise partners, Fakih has begun opening locations in the United States, Lebanon, and Britain.
Fakih is not just a brilliant businessman. He is also a philanthropist, known for his support of the refugee and immigrant communities. “He’s just an outstanding, hardworking, dedicated individual who happens to be a newcomer to our country and we’re so very, very proud of him,” said Mayor Bonnie Crombie.
For Fakih, having the iconic centre named after his restaurant chain is not just about business. It’s about community partnerships and engaging more immigrants and newcomers in Mississauga. “Fifty per cent of Mississauga residents have been here for less than 10 years. Having the name of a Middle Eastern company written on the facility shows the city’s inclusiveness and diversity.”