If you’ve been to our location at 64 Weldon Parkway, then you probably have met Jess! She is one of the first faces you see when you walk in the door. Continue reading below to learn more about Jess and her role here at Fred and Ricky’s!
Tell us about yourself and your background. Where were you before Fred and Ricky’s?
My undergrad actually wasn’t related to health, nutrition or diet. However, I started researching the Daniel Fast, which is biblical based fast referenced in the Bible, and I thought it was amazing. It’s a fast where some foods are eaten while others are restricted like meat and dairy. So, it’s very similar to a plant-based diet, but it’s more of a religious experience you go through for 21 days.
I also thought food was terrifying in the college dining hall. The only food I felt safe eating was plant-based. I actually lost 25 pounds unintentionally in college because I mainly ate plant-based foods. After that, I started caring more about nutrition and what I eat.
I went on to be an intern at an urban garden where my passion for food and nutrition grew. This internship stemmed from my food cultures class where I learned the origins of food and how it affects us. I learned food’s impact from every background. The internship was like farming therapy. I was able to see how much food can do and how little we need prescription drugs.
After my internship, I got a job at Whole Foods. I gained a lot of education about food and certain diets. I was able to answer customers’ questions and continued to learn from coworkers who were plant-based and vegetarian. Oh, and did I mention that my parents own a farm? After learning from my own experiences as well as coworkers and my family about the prevalence of food deserts (even in St. Louis), and the importance of where your food comes from, I knew I wanted to work somewhere that alleviates the issue.
What do you enjoy doing most outside of work?
I have always been an avid reader and really into exercise and diet. I’m so interested in how exercise and diet affects your well-being. I like yoga and being out in nature is my all-time favorite. I love it most when you can’t even hear a car.
I’m also very involved in my church. I’m actually going on a mission trip to India in March! We are going to try to establish a feeding program to provide both educational and health benefits to vulnerable children and families.
What is your idea of happiness at work?
Not doing the same thing all day! I love customer service and answering questions because there’s always versatility. At Fred and Ricky’s, I’m doing something I’m excited about every day, which is making connections with customers. I’m also a multi-tasker and I like to do a variety of things. That’s why I love working here. They allow you to wear multiple hats and take on responsibility, but they also won’t let you do down like a sinking ship. There’s freedom to grow in any direction you want to go.
How did you know that Fred and Ricky’s was the right place for you?
I actually wasn’t looking to leave my previous job. It was a scary risk to leave the job I had for a while, but it was a great opportunity that I knew I would grow into. Stepping out of your comfort zone is the best way to grow. I never want to be comfortable. Fred and Ricky’s is constantly evolving and changing so much, so it’s impossible to get bored, lazy or too comfortable.
I found out about the job opening when my previous boss actually recommended that I check out Fred and Ricky’s website. As soon as I met them and the whole team, I knew I could see myself working here. I loved the mission of helping people improve their health issues and giving the community a chance to improve their lifestyles.
What excites you most about your role with Fred and Ricky’s?
Encouraging people wherever they’re at in life and educating them. It’s a very open-ended position with endless room for growth. It’s exciting to know that so many opportunities are here and that they come from my interactions with customers and the rest of the team. You never really know who’s going to walk in and what’s going to happen on any given day. It’s exciting!
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