My Journey to Fresh

This week, I spent three days in Philly, assisting a supermarket chain facing operational challenges. Later in the week, I was piloting a set of new produce items for a different retailer and the manufacturing vendor at a chain in New York.

So, how did I get here?

At 14, I decided to grow a garden in our backyard. Growing up in the biggest city in the country, our backyard, a miniscule patch of land in Queens, was ample by New York standards at about 35 by 30 square feet. My parents, always encouraging, allowed me to grow my garden. With thoughts of truckloads of vegetables to sell at harvest time, and just knowing that my parents would never again have to buy a single bit of produce, I began my project.

But, everyone knows, that at 14, friends, and not gardens, are the focus of our existence, and so, after careful planting and attention for exactly six days, I regressed to my teenage self. The garden produced one very sad looking cucumber, a few bug eaten tomatoes, and many two-inch carrots. (To this day, I still believe I cornered the market on inventing the baby carrot.)
Skip ahead to college, I got a job at a fruit stand in Manhattan, and thoughts started to germinate in my head about ways to keep foods fresh.

Fast forward again to the Information Age, with the rise of the Internet and online shopping and home delivery. Now, we were getting somewhere. I was racking my brain to figure out a way to maintain the integrity of fresh food ordered online for delivery to people’s homes. Thus, began my foray into the world of fresh food integrity.

I put together a team to figure out how to keep a chill chain for this new burgeoning business idea. We started with 20 coolers lined up in a wareroom, all with thermometers, waiting like soldiers to be checked at all hours of the night. The team successfully developed a chill chain that has helped the industry and customers to stay safe from foodborne illnesses, and our success also facilitated my push into the world of digital media.

And, here I am now, more than 30 years later, still rolling the e-commerce boulder up the hill, assisting technology companies, retailers, and others in their quest for that perfect experience for their businesses and their customers, whether single channel or OMNI channel. It does not matter if you are a grower, shipper, vendor, manufacturer, wholesaler, retailer or consumer, the need for assistance in operational perfection is there. I am just so glad that I get to play a part in helping businesses to realize their potential.

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Heidi Chapnick

Heidi Chapnick

Being passionate about ‘fresh’ food is who we are. Some of us volunteered, feeding the hungry and got interested in all the waste in this country, always wondering how to make things better for our hungry masses and keeping it, "fresh". We also feel for the growers who are scrambling to sell their products and keep them fresh and the retailers who keep us fed. Working with all channels of sales and from seedling to table, it gives us the ability to assist with making sure the integrity of fresh items remains, keeping food borne illnesses and cross contamination at bay for happy growers, shippers, retailers and shoppers.