Dennis Food Service History, Becoming a Broadline Food Distributor

Personal Commitment to our Customers Since 1908

Rich in history, Dennis Food Service has been serving Maine with pride for generations. Five immigrant brothers originally founded the company as a bottling service known as Washington County Bottling Works.

Deliveries were made by horse-drawn wagon, limiting the territory covered to the Cherryfield area. Eventually, Max Dennis bought his brother’s share of the business and moved the company into Ellsworth in the early 1920’s. Though troubling times were ahead, Max Dennis was able to keep the business running during the depression and World War II, with the help of his wife and son.

When his son, Lawrence Dennis (above), took over operations in 1945, productions had increased dramatically. The company had developed its own brand of soft drink known as University Club Soda, and was now bottling and distributing national brands such as Hires Root Beer and Nesbitt’s Orange. In 1949, the company incorporated and came to be known as the Dennis Bottling Company.

In the 1950’s Dennis Bottling Co. began distributing malt beverages. This development was so well received by the community that a warehouse was opened in Brewer to accommodate distribution and in 1968 the company’s headquarters were moved to Veazie. Distribution then became the main focus of the company, resulting in a change of name to Dennis Beverage Company.

Soon after the move to Veazie, Dennis Beverage Company expanded its operations once again, this time to include paper and plastic disposable products and janitorial supplies. In an effort to best reflect the nature of the business, the name changed to Dennis Paper Company.

The company continued to grow, thanks in large part to the dedication and hard work of Lawrence’s wife Lee, his sister Bertha and the children of Lawrence and Lee: Michele, Ron, Mark and Hayden Dennis.

After close to 40 years in the Veazie area, the Dennis Paper & Food Service Company moved to Bangor briefly before settling in Hampden, Maine in 2005 and upgrading to a 75,000 square foot distribution center (below).

In 2015, then owner Ron Dennis, sold the company to his employees. The decision to sell to the employees and form an ESOP was intended to keep Dennis an independent, locally owned company.


A family owned and operated business for 107 years, Dennis Paper & Food Service became the largest employee owned foodservice distributor in New England in 2015. Ron Dennis, saw how the deep personal commitment of his employees had developed into a culture that deserved the ultimate recognition. So, he sold the company to the employees in January of 2015, and the Dennis Employee Stock Ownership Plan was formed.

Although the ownership changed, the 100% employee ownership signaled to Dennis customers that they could expect the same, and even greater, commitment to service and the quality brands that they had come to trust.

Starting in late 2022 we rebranded our company to Dennis Food Service. The change better represents our core competencies and the key market segments we serve.

dennis food service logo graphicFor over 20 years, we carried the name Dennis Paper & Food Service. We are proud of our heritage and the work we’ve done to grow our business, which now covers two states and all customer segments, including: all restaurant types, school food service, camps, c-store, catering, and many other hospitality and dining establishments.

Dennis Food Service has grown to become one of the largest independently-owned foodservice distributors in New England and a shareholder in UniPro Foodservice, the world’s largest foodservice cooperative.

Through all the changes in the past and the ones yet to be made in the future, one thing remains a constant. The focus, vision and dedication of Dennis Food Service will always be focused on the growth, success, and satisfaction of the valued customers we serve.