Garner Foods has always put a great deal of time and commitment to making sure our Texas Pete® and Green Mountain Gringo® brands have always resonated with our loyal customers and have provided a gratifying experience reflecting our passion for food and people. Last year, we added Associate Brand Manager, Wendy Frye, to our internal marketing and branding team. Wendy’s professional experience in the food industry will support Garner Foods’ messaging efforts as we continue to delight our customers.
Brashears: When did you begin working for Garner Foods?
Wendy: I started in early 2020 as the associate brand manager.
Brashears: What attracted you to the Garner Foods organization?
Wendy: I’ve never worked in a family-owned company, most of my career was with large multichannel food companies. This was an opportunity to work in a new scale of organization and bring my new product development skills to bear.
Brashears: What was your prior experience before coming to Garner Foods?
Wendy: I primarily worked in large corporate multichannel food companies and I’ve also worked in the hotel hospitality industry.
Brashears: What do you love about working in the food industry?
Wendy: I’ve always enjoyed how easy it is to identify with the food industry. Most people have some form of passion, or at least enjoyment, around food. Most people are also really open about their food preferences and what motivates them to support their chosen food brands.
I also really love how quickly many brands are innovating and re-inventing themselves on a regular basis. There’s always new change and new opportunities to grow and better understand the audience. I really like that aspect.
Brashears: What are your favorite ways to unwind and recharge?
Wendy: It’s changed quite a bit in the past few years. We have a lot of family here now, so we spend a lot of time with family entertaining. I used to love running and am doing that more now. I’ve done 5 marathons and am currently training to potentially participate in the New York Marathon. I love the focused time I have while I’m running. We love going back to New York and visiting with friends.
Brashears: What’s your favorite way to help or inspire other professionals around you?
Wendy: That’s a good question. I’ve always enjoyed having the opportunity to lead certain internal projects to improve our organization. I’m looking forward to doing more of that as restrictions improve so we can get together as teams and work together to develop new opportunities.
Brashears: What is your favorite food or cuisine?
Wendy: I love to cook, and generally cook fairly traditional soul food dishes. We eat a lot of seafood, and I enjoy challenging myself to try new foods and new dishes. I love being inspired by new foods that we would generally go out to eat, and then learning how to make these dishes at home.
Brashears: What are your top 3 favorite places to travel?
Wendy: New York is absolutely number one, because that’s my home and there’s so much to see and appreciate when you’re there. It’s such a historic place and I love the culture and people. The other place that I really like is Paris because it’s a lot like New York in that there are so many museums and small boutique galleries. And then my third would be Chicago, there so much to see and do there.
Brashears: What is a professional goal you have for 2021?
Wendy: What I started out with was to develop a new product strategy and process with our team. My goal is to enhance the strategy and improve efficiencies throughout the process of launching new branded product options. The second piece is to focus on our ideation and be bolder in how we can participate in new market segment opportunities, especially in the healthy eating sector.
Brashears: What was the last Garner Foods product you used?
Wendy: Green Mountain Gringo® Medium Salsa with some GMG Strips while we watched a movie. I love them!
Brashears: If you could have been born in any era of history, what would you choose and why?
Wendy: I would say probably the era my daughter is growing up in. I see what she is able to do and the opportunities she has and think I would have enjoyed experiencing the culture and technology that she’s enjoyed.
Brashears: What was the last thing (podcast, book, speaker, etc.) that really inspired you?
Wendy: I’m heavily involved with my church, and we just studied the book of Genesis. I really enjoyed that study and how deep we went into it and how much it applies to modern times and what we’re dealing with in our own generation.
Brashears: If you were going to write a book, or some other piece of media, what would it be about?
Wendy: I would probably write a book about running. It’s been such a big part of my life and happiness. Running has so many applications for life. I started as a sprinter and then some years later I became an endurance runner. What I learned from that is how important and how powerful mental strength and attitude is in accomplishing the kind of performance that marathon running requires. Changing your mindset can change everything. I would enjoy writing about that.
Brashears: What are you binge watching right now?
Wendy: I’m enjoying the Fresh Prince of Belair and the King of Queen’s. I’m really enjoying going back to some of those older shows that I didn’t finish earlier.
Brashears: What is your favorite musical artist?
Wendy: Right now, we’re listening to a lot of The Weeknd and H.E.R… but my favorite of all time is Earth, Wind, and Fire. Their songs are about harmony, love, and friendship. They were a large group (physically) and they play all their own music. I always loved that about their musical dynamic.