John Moscahlaidis, the founder of “KRINOS” Foods, “the largest importer and distributor of Greek foods in North America”, passed away in Athens where he lived for a number of years.
According to an announcement issued by his family, he was born in the small town of Amfissa. After high school he went to the Athens Law School until he was drafted by the army to fight in the Civil War.
Lieutenant John Moscahlaidis spent four years (1946-1950) fighting the communist guerillas in the Greek mountains and became one of the most highly decorated Greek officers of his time. He was awarded the Cross of Valour, Greece’s highest decoration for acts of bravery and distinguished leadership on the field of battle and received a dozen other medals as well.
By 1950, the wars had destroyed Greece completely forcing many Greeks were forced to leave and seek a better future abroad. Moscahlaidis’s family had been in the olive business for many generations and was one of the largest olive growers and exporters of the time. To further grow the business, Moscahlaidis was sent to the United States to try and sell the family olives in a new market.
In the early 50’s, Moscahlaidis started a small company in New York named ARISTA OLIVE Co Inc. At the same time, he enrolled in and graduated from New York University’s business school.
Moscahlaidis developed a market and soon began to import other products such as olive oil and cheeses. His olive oil which was branded “KRINOS” became a big success. When his small trucks were delivering to Greek stores in Astoria, the store owners always announced the deliveries by saying “KRINOS has arrived”!
In 1958, Moscahlaidis bought a building in the Tribeca neighborhood of Manhattan and moved Arista into its first real office. In 1960, he bought the building next door thus doubling his storage capacity. In 1965, Moscahlaidis expanded into Canada by leasing a warehouse in Montreal.
A few years later, he leased a building in Toronto as well. Later that same year, he bought a competitor, Salona Importing Company. The business continued to grow and in 1971 Moscahlaidis bought his own warehouse in Montreal.
By 1973, people were familiar with “Krinos” so Moscahlaidis renamed both the United States and the Canadian companies as KRINOS FOODS Inc. and KRINOS FOODS CANADA Ltd.
In 1974, Moscahlaidis bought another competitor, George E. Athens Co., better known by its market brand, Big Alpha. In 1977, Krinos Foods Canada moved into its own new warehouse in Toronto. In the meantime, Krinos in the US had outgrown its space in New York and Moscahlaidis bought a larger building in Tribeca and moved operations there.
At the end of the 70s’, Moscahlaidis bought a controlling stake in Athens Pastries & Frozen Foods Inc., a manufacturer of phyllo and phyllo dough based products in Cleveland, Ohio. Soon thereafter, Athens bought its largest competitor, Apollo Foods, located in New Jersey from Pillsbury Foods.
Moscahlaidis merged the operations into the Cleveland facility and underwent a major expansion. The newly named Athens Foods Inc. thus became the largest phyllo manufacturer in the world.
In 1981, Moscahlaidis built a new warehousing and manufacturing facility in Long Island City, New York. The facility won an award and was recognized as the “Best Industrial Design Building of the Year” by the City of New York.
Finally, in 1986, Moscahlaidis bought his largest competitor, Standard Importing Company in the US and SICO Foods in Canada. The combined entities firmly established Krinos as the largest importer and distributor of Greek foods in North America. Sometime, thereafter, Moscahlaidis retired. In the early 2000’s, he moved back to Greece permanently to be with his family and especially with his four grandchildren.
Moscahlaidis’s personal interests were opera, history and politics. He was an avid reader and inveterate traveler.
He was also very philanthropic and established his own Foundation dedicated to supporting Greeks in the US. Moscahlaidis was on the Board of the Archdiocese of the Cathedral of Holy Trinity and a lifelong supporter of the church both in the US and Greece.
He was also on the Board of the American Farm School and one of its biggest contributors. In addition, he was a supporter of the Ronald McDonald House especially for cancer stricken Greek Children.
He was a significant benefactor of the Friends of Nemea and instrumental in the restoration of the Temple of Zeus in Nemea, Greece. He provided dozens of college scholarships to aspiring students and was a donor to numerous other charities.