#19: Jack Gridley – VP of Meat & Seafood at Dorothy Lane
Jack Gridley Podcast Transcript
Neil Dudley: Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the Pederson’s Farms podcast. We are so excited you’re here. We appreciate you joining us. And we look forward to sharing these conversations with thought leaders from our industry. They’re going to paint a picture from every perspective – consumer, customer, vendor, employee, and peer – that I think is going to be super valuable, and we’re really excited to share. So, thanks for tuning in. Remember don’t tune out, and grab life by the bacon.
Okay, so everybody that’s listening, tuning in, thank you for being here. This is the Pederson’s Farms podcast, and I’m having one of the most exciting – what would you call it? – kind of bucket list interviews for this show with a guy named Jack Gridley, and fly to Dayton, Ohio, and get lucky enough to get Mike and Jerry as well. So, I’m going to have everybody introduce themselves in a second, but for you guys that are listening, this is the team, this is part of this Dayton, Ohio, based grocery chain called Dorothy Lane Market. And hey, Norman, if you’re listening, shout out to you and your family for building this beautiful business, and we’ve been so lucky and so happy to have you guys as a customer, have Jack as a friend, Mike, seeing him at a million different shows, now getting to meet Jerry. In case you’re wondering, Jack is hanging up the official hat and moving to some kind of a different, what’d you say a minute ago?
Jack Gridley: It will be a new chapter in life. An old chapter closes, we start a new chapter.
Neil Dudley: Yeah, that’s right. And we all have chapters, right? I think we’re always moving from some chapter to the next thing. And I’m rambling a little bit because what we really need to do is get you guys talking because who cares what I say. At the end of the day, it’s all about Pederson’s saying a thank you to Dorothy Lane for the great relationship we’ve had for many years and just being a partner, a mentor, and a friend. So, Jack, if you don’t mind, let’s start with you. Tell everybody who you are, where you’re from, kind of some of what makes you tick.
Jack Gridley: Well, Jack Gridley, I’ve been here at Dorothy Lane for 46 years. I’ve had two W2’s in my life. So, how unique is that? I worked for two places. But like I say, I started here many, many years ago, just like a lot of us here at Dorothy Lane have, we’ve grown up in the business. And we’re fortunate that we work for a family business that really looks out for us and just says take ownership of something and do whatever you want with it, just make it the best, make it a good customer experience. And that’s what I’ve enjoyed the most about the business is being able to do that and the customer relations we’ve built up and the relationships we have with the suppliers and then all the people we’ve been fortunate enough to work with over the years and watch them grow up and have families, and their kids come to work here.
Neil Dudley: I mean, you’ve watched me get married and have a family. It’s the truth.
Jack Gridley: The first time I met you, you came here, and you were just a wild bull riding cowboy, but you fell in love. You were broke, you were hopelessly in love. And I think I even told you, I said, Neil, here, this woman is in Nashville, five hours away from Dayton, Ohio. You don’t need to be here trying to sell me bacon because I’m already going to buy it. Here’s the keys to my truck, drive to Nashville, find this woman, and bring her home.
Neil Dudley: That’s so true. It’s absolutely true.
Jack Gridley: And you didn’t listen to me.
Neil Dudley: Well, that’s right, but I did bring her home.
Jack Gridley: It all worked out in the end. You brought her home and everything’s wonderful. So, I’m glad everything worked out. But more importantly, I’m glad everything worked out with us partnering with Pederson’s because it’s been an excellent experience that we’ve had with you guys and what you have done for us. And just the- I say partnership, and that’s a word that’s thrown out very loosely, but a true partnership is something that both sides enjoy the benefits from, the trust factor, and moving forward, everything’s geared toward the customer and providing the best quality experience. And you just can’t get that anywhere. It’s only certain suppliers you get that partnership with.
Neil Dudley: And it takes a little time to build that. I mean, what’s great I think about our relationship is it’s long-term. I mean, we’ve built this- we’ve messed up and made it right. You were just saying earlier, you missed an order, and you needed to rush one through, so we have to forgive you for that. That’s tough on us. That’s a scramble on our side. That’s the partnership.
Jack Gridley: And this whole COVID environment has really put that in the forefront because time and again, the big guys were out of product, they had empty shelves. And here’s little Dorothy Lane, three stores, but we had true partnerships. People took care of us. We had product on the shelves when no one else did. And it was really a great feeling. So, thank everyone at Pederson’s for everything they did.
Neil Dudley: Right. Well, and just you guys for the partnership. Now for everybody listening, you’re going to hear a little background noise because it happens to be we’re on the porch at a store, one of the Dorothy Lane stores right here in Dayton doing this interview. I just felt like I wanted to tell everybody that because I’m listening in my earphones, I hear a little- some people walking by and stuff, but it’s kind of a great environment for this conversation. So, you’re not here, but I want to tell you what it’s like if you’re listing. We’re sitting on the porch, we’re having a beer, and everybody that walks by says hi to these guys. These are the leadership of Dorothy Lane, and the people at the stores know their names. It’s so cool. I just think that’s so cool and wanted to mention it. Jerry, tell us who you are.
Jerry Post: Yeah, my name is Jerry Post. I’m in the process of trying to replace a legend.
Neil Dudley: Good luck buddy.
Jerry Post: Exactly, there’s no replacing. I’m just going to step into the role and see what I can do and try not to mess things up too much.
Neil Dudley: But even my advice is make it yours. And I think you will. I think you probably already know that, but I’m excited to work with you. I just think there’s kind of a rejuvenating feeling there like, ooh, here’s kind of a new perspective.
Jerry Post: It’s part of our process, I think. It has been- Jack built this thing and he’s done with it some amazing things. The thing, well, you guys were talking earlier about this partnership and stuff like that, it’s become a symbiotic relationship where we need each other, and we turn it to that as quickly as we can. And that’s a huge part of what we’re able to do as Dorothy Lane. And when we’re dealing with something that’s as cool as what Pederson’s is offering, it allows us to get there quickly to a point where we kind of need each other in a lot of ways. And it helps out immensely and takes care of a lot of customers in the area. So, I don’t know. I’ve been around this program and what we’re doing here with the Mayne family for over 30 years. And I love every bit of it.
Neil Dudley: Now, you just went by that real fast. But you’ve been working for Dorothy Lane for 30 years. You’re fixing to replace 40 years of experience. And we’re fixing to talk to Mike who I’m going to guess has a lot of years of experience.
Jerry Post: He’s got a little bit more than me.
Neil Dudley: I feel so blessed to sit at a table with this amount of experience and willingness to share. We don’t have to leave this piece in there, but I just have to say it, like you guys share with your competitors around the country. Like people are watching Dorothy Lane to figure out what to do next. Also, you openly share with people, I would say other grocers, that this is working for us, maybe you should try it. It’s so beautiful.
Jerry Post: The biggest thing, I don’t know, to me about that is there are lots of lessons out there for any retailer that they should pick up on. And we’re borrowing from other people all the time. We’re seeing what’s going on out there, and we’re learning our lessons and trying to take them in and see how we can develop them. But at the same time, what is better for our industry as a whole, you might as well share.
Jack Gridley: Better for the consumer, better for the environment, better for the world. I mean, here we are taking products and putting a good, wholesome product on the plate of the consumer that has less chemicals in it. There’s no antibiotics used and on and on and on, and it’s just a better product. Long-term sustainability.
Neil Dudley: I would bet you guys feel like each consumer, each person that shops in your store is a family member. And you want those family members to be as healthy and as well fed, as well taken care of, as appreciated as they can. So, I just feel it, just sitting at this table with you guys, I feel your love for this business, this industry, and the shoppers.
Jerry Post: It’s the number one line in our mission statement: to make our customers happy by providing constantly better food and service every time. It really is about making people happy.
Neil Dudley: Mike, we’re going to get to you, buddy. Come on, tell us-
Mike Naber: I’m ready to jump in because every time they talk, I’m ready to talk too. But we have a great relationship with our customers. And when we talk to our customers, we’re knowledgeable about the products we sell, we’re proud of the products we sell. I’m proud to tell them about Pederson’s bacon and how many different varieties we have, and they come from happy hogs, that we ship stuff from Quebec, Canada, to Texas.
Neil Dudley: How often do you really do something like this? And how often do you guys sit around-? Really, it’s almost better for me, like how many times in my life will I get to sit in front of three super willing to talk, experienced and just friends, and pick your brain about stuff?
Mike Naber: I respect everything Jack has to say, and he respects everything that I have to say. He respects what I have to contribute. And there’s been times I’ve told him he’s wrong.
Jack Gridley: Many times. We’ve been right here doing this together for so many years, and we’re like a family. We speak what we feel and that’s the important thing. But everything’s done respectfully. And that’s the other key thing.
Neil Dudley: I think you may not give yourself enough credit for this, Jack, but there’s a piece of leadership you brought to this team in that way. You are willing and able to take a criticism from your team, or even a disagreement – criticism might even be the wrong word, I don’t know the right word – but just that dynamic truth, and then you don’t make them feel bad for it, or then shame them or fire them or any of those things. I think it is a great- for any listener out there that wants to be a leader someday, that’s a good example of how you build a great team.
Jack Gridley: And it’s the Dorothy Lane philosophy, because as a leader or a boss, you need the people that work for you more than they need you. And it’s been just ingrained in our DNA, and we take care of each other. We look out for each other. We’re family. And it’s over and over again. You see it over and over again. And that’s what’s a wonderful feeling is seeing people progress in their careers and promote and go on to other aspects of life. And I look back over the years, and Mike and Jerry, you can attest to this, how many people that we have worked with that have gone on to do other things in their career and come back years later and thanked us for what we’ve done and what we’ve taught them.
Neil Dudley: Would you say you’re easy to work for?
Jack Gridley: I’m sorry, what was the that?
Neil Dudley: Would you say you’re easy to work for? Or y’all might be able to answer that. I think that’s why people come back and tell you thank you. Because as a youngster, as an inexperienced person in any business, when you’re held accountable- like I have no doubt you guys are accountable and you hold people accountable. It’s just you know it. Sometimes somebody that’s being held accountable doesn’t appreciate that until later. It’s kind of like being a kid and then one day you, oh yeah, my parents did love me, they did know what they were talking about.
Jack Gridley: Well, I look back and I can remember a moment where I went to a young man, and I say this over and over again, you get these young guys that come to work for you, and they’re 18 years old, they don’t know what they’re going to do with their life. They don’t know. I mean, it’s the worst possible moment of their lives. They are in such turmoil.
Mike Naber: We’re watching them become men.
Jack Gridley: And we need to turn them into men. And I can remember going over to a young man’s house that he hadn’t shown up for work for several days, but he was a good person, he was a good worker. And I asked his mom, I said, can I go talk to him? And I went upstairs, and I knocked on his bedroom door. And I said, you open this door or I’m going to kick it in. And he opened the door, and we had a conversation. And today that person still works for Dorothy Lane, and he is a wonderful person. But it was just that one moment that he needed somebody in one manner or another to know that somebody cared about him, and we need more of that today.
Neil Dudley: Leaders out there, please remember that. Think about that. Are you showing your counterparts, partners in your business, that kind of- I mean, it wasn’t easy for you to drive over, find this guy’s house, go into his house, but you cared. Like it’s just, I’m begging you, people, just care about your people. Care about your customer. It’s like the trick. It is the magic sauce to everything.
Jerry Post: Every now and then, you get to see someone, and they’re going to show you a glimpse of promise. And it’s like hang on to it and buy into it and figure out a way to make it work. Because it does pay off. It’s not every time, but there are times where you see it and it’s just like identify it and go after it and protect it. Now they’re going to be something special.
Neil Dudley: That’s cool. That’s a great, well, that’s just a great story, and I’ll bet each of you have something similar. It might not be going and threatening to kick in their door. You just know there’s something off with them. Like just man, something’s happening in their life, and I care about it.
Jack Gridley: I guess HR probably would have a problem with that today. Might have to go for some sensitivity training.
Neil Dudley: Oh gosh. Now this is the big question. Why is Dorothy Lane only in Dayton, Ohio? As beautiful and awesome and as badass as it is, it just begs that question. Like why?
Jack Gridley: Neil, you haven’t heard the headlines.
Neil Dudley: Oh, are you going somewhere else?
Jack Gridley: We’re going to Cincinnati. We’re opening a store in Mason, Ohio, Northern Cincinnati, and that community is pumped up. They’re ready for us to come. And we like to under promise and over deliver. And that’s what’s kept us from just rolling out cookie cutter stores in different areas. It needs to be the right place, the right clientele.
Neil Dudley: People don’t- I can really only imagine the amount of purchase offers that have come across the table. Somebody would love to buy this franchise or this group of stores and the amount of people that said that same thing to you – wow, y’all have this down, just go replicate it, be 400 stores, and you’ve always just stuck to this is what we do, and that’s such a good example of one way to be super successful.
Jack Gridley: Yeah. We just don’t want to dilute the brand that we offer.
Jerry Post: This culture is not something that you can just replicate and keep adding on to exponentially and just see it keep reproducing itself. We’re nervous about that. And then, so as we grow, we want to do it very slowly so we can keep an eye on it and on the temperament and make sure that the associates that work here feel it, and that we can keep that family environment. I don’t even think we know exactly what we’re doing to make that happen, but we know it’s not going to work if we grow fast. So, we’ve got to take our time.
Neil Dudley: Awesome. Well, that’s kind of cool. I’m glad to hear the store’s going to Cincinnati. The people in Cincinnati are lucky. Hey, everybody listening from Cincinnati, go check out that Dorothy Lane store or drive to Dayton, it won’t be a disappointment. Before we started recording, you sang into the mic, and it sounded good. Do you sing sometimes?
Mike Naber: It’s a well-kept secret. I do sing in church quite a bit.
Neil Dudley: There you go. Well, man, that’s a blessing. You should just do it more often. Don’t keep it such a secret. I enjoyed it, and it was about – what was it? – six notes maybe. It wasn’t a lot. But that’s kind of cool too, that here’s a guy that said. I’m guessing Jack doesn’t sing a lot. Maybe Jerry doesn’t sing a lot. So, all of that is cool too. That’s a cool part of the relationship.
Mike Naber: It’s not just about the stuff that we sell. It’s not about those things that we’ve done right. It’s more about the people that work here, the employees, the management. I could talk all day about Jack Gridley. He’s been a mentor, a friend, a confidant. We’ve been together side by side for 40 years. I told a story last week that I remember him teasing me when I was going to get married, and I’ve been married for 37 years.
Neil Dudley: That’s a beautiful thing. It really is. I mean, Cody, the president of Pederson’s, is my friend since kindergarten. You can’t bullshit Jack, and Jack can’t bullshit you. You know each other too well. You’ve been together too long.
Jack Gridley: Amen. This is true. And it was so much fun because I’ve watched Mike and his family and his kids and his grandkids now. And just being with them for a surprise birthday party for Mike last week, because here’s a guy in retail, I mean, retail is a tough job. It’s a tough business. Anybody that’s in retail, I don’t have to tell you. Holidays, when everyone else is enjoying life with their families, we are working the hardest. So not only has he had to give up that portion of his life with his family, but his birthday is on Thanksgiving Day. He loses his birthday on top of it, because come Thanksgiving Day, he’s asleep by noon because he just worked an 80-90 hour week, and he’s exhausted. So just seeing that type of thing with his family, his grandkids, is very special.
Mike Naber: I come into the party and Jack Gridley’s holding my granddaughter. She’s all of three months old.
Neil Dudley: Well, that’s just- isn’t that what life’s about? Ultimately, when you’re dead and gone, isn’t that what it’s about? All of that love and friendship. And I’m not as close as that to you guys, but I feel real close to Jack. I mean, I’ve seen him marry his daughters off. We’ve just had this time together, and it’s hard to replace it. It’s so valuable. Now we’ll get off memory lane a little bit and go to looking forward. There’s a lot of experience here. I think about this, I wonder if you guys do, how do you build the next generation of Dorothy Lane leadership? Will there always be 30 years of experience to come in behind 40 years? How do you start changing your thought process towards Baby Boomers are moving out of the biggest buy-in, the biggest purchasing power, Millennials are kind of moving into the biggest, then there comes the- there you go right there, Gen Z coming by.
Jack Gridley: That was timed perfect. It really was.
Jerry Post: The shame is we have to embrace it.
Jack Gridley: Because we have to embrace it, and work ethic of the different generations has changed dramatically. And we need to understand it. Do we need to embrace it? I guess we do. But we need to learn how to coexist. And I know that I’m an old-fashioned meat guy. I’m like a Neanderthal. And as this proceeds forward, you’re going to have to make your own, and you’re going to do things differently than what I did and the same way with that next generation. And that’s what I am so excited about because you asked me are we going to have people staying for 30 years? That’s what I’m excited about with this new store. Because you can offer people jobs, but when you offer them a career, that’s something totally different. And by having that slow growth, like we’re having, we can offer great growth potential for our associates.
Neil Dudley: Yeah, you can paint a picture of get involved with Dorothy Lane and you might be here 40 years later saying I never expected this, but man, I’m so proud of it.
Jerry Post: It’s the buy-in factor, and that’s just getting them on early, getting them to understand as quickly as you can, without pushing. They’ll see it, they’ll feel it with the other people they work with. And as they grab on, they’ll find their niche. And there’s so many niches in the grocery business. It doesn’t matter, we’d love everyone that walks in the door to want to be a meat cutter, but that’s not going to happen. Some people are going to be- well, everyone’s passionate about food in some way. Whatever it is, let’s figure out a way to filter to them and try and help them project their passions into what we’re already doing, and they can keep that going. And we’re fortunate because we’re in a situation where we’re providing the best of the best all the way around the board.
Neil Dudley: You guys should almost be hired as culture consultants. I think ultimately that’s what Dorothy Lane has built, the most beautiful culture. You don’t even have to do it, it’s the whole group of the team that says this is our culture, this is who we are. Like you’re going to learn it just by working here. It’s not a thing that we’re going to sit you down in a chair and tell you about. That’s how you build culture.
Mike Naber: We start with the people that we hire in, during their first 90 days, they have to do a passport. So, when they do that passport, they walk around and talk to all the managers in the store, and the manager gets to tell them why we’re different then the guy next door. And they start with that passion right then. And then they go home, and they’re excited about what they learned. It becomes kitchen table talk at home. They’re going to be proud to sit for Thanksgiving and tell them a little bit of information about the turkey and what’s special about that turkey. And we start training people and start teaching people young. Right after they start, they start to develop that passion for what they’re doing. And we have people that down to the sweep the floors and bag the groceries that have worked for us for 30 years. And they didn’t make it just a job, they made it a career, and they’re excited and they know their customers, the same way that I do in the meat department.
Jack Gridley: To watch you out in front of the meat case talking to customers is something to behold because everyone knows your name. I mean, I would say that the meat managers at our stores are probably the most well-known person in that store.
Neil Dudley: So, let’s talk about that. So, I’m an outsider; I’ve never worked in grocery retail, so I only have speculation. Which I feel like it’s researched speculation, it’s experienced speculation. But the exterior of the store is super important at a brick-and-mortar. So, we need to touch on e-commerce in a second. We need to touch on, I’m talking to meat heads, so I want to hear your perspective on vegetarian, Beyond Meat and those kinds of things. I mean, this is what the podcast is all about is having these conversations, giving people insight into your perspective, your thought process. Nobody has as good of one as well-developed. So firstly, the exterior of the store in my mind drives a lot of the basket size in retailers. Is that true? Is it not true? Is that how Dorothy Lane feels about it?
Jerry Post: Okay. As a store manager, former store manager, I probably have a little bit of different insight on this versus- but the big thing for us is we do feel that way. We feel that making sure that the store is beautiful, and it has a good presentation. Your first impression is before you get in the door. So, we’ve got to do our best there. And the other thing is we’ve got to make sure the back of our buildings look as nice as the front of our buildings.
Neil Dudley: Oh, see, I don’t even think about that.
Jerry Post: A lot of people don’t, but if you would-
Jack Gridley: It’s a reflection on what the inside of the store is going to look like.
Neil Dudley: What I parallel that to is the maintenance department at Pederson’s or any manufacturer. Like go check out the maintenance shop and see what it looks like. It’s going to tell you a whole lot about even restaurants, drive around to the back of them. You’re going to learn a lot by seeing the backside. I’ve never thought about it like that, Jerry. It’s so true.
Jerry Post: Every little detail counts to some level. But the biggest thing is, you’ve got people pulling up to your building, you want an impression that they see as soon as they pull up, and then you want that impression – hopefully it’s a good one – you want that impression to stay with them to get into the door. Once they get in the door, that’s when your product gets-
Neil Dudley: Right. So maybe when I said perimeter, what I meant is the outside wall inside, which is kind of the prepared foods, meat department, dairy, etc. Is my thought process right? Do you think of it like this drives our basket size and then the other stuff is what people carry out on their way out?
Jack Gridley: Very much, and to me, if you can make it past the first two departments without some personal touch, somebody saying hello to you, somebody looking at you and smiling at you, then we’re failing because we’ve got to make that personal touch, that personal contact.
Neil Dudley: There’s a trick to that, isn’t there?
Jack Gridley: There is. And a lot of the newer, younger generation, the Millennials and the Zs, they don’t like that personal contact, but when you bring it on them, they love it. They love it though. They would rather have a self-checkout experience, but when they have the right personal checkout experience, it changes them forever.
Neil Dudley: That’s such good insight. Like I’m sitting here thinking my poor brain is going a million miles an hour on all the things that we could talk about. We’ll just run out of time eventually, but it’s almost like you have this knee-jerk kind of thought like let’s somehow work out a system that when they walk in, text them hello because you think that’s what they do. They like to text, they like to be on social media and that kind of thing. But no, humans are built to communicate with each other.
Jack Gridley: Exactly. We are built to communicate.
Neil Dudley: I think it’s almost our job as the older generation to kind of hold on to that really hard because we need it.
Jack Gridley: That herd mentality.
Jerry Post: The thing that we’ll talk about a lot as people are coming in, and especially with our new youngest generation of 16-year-olds that are joining our company, is be neighborly. We’re in an area where Midwestern hospitality is already a known thing, but be neighborly to everyone that comes in the door. And you don’t have to be pushy. You don’t have to be trying to push sales or anything like that. Just say hi, wave, make eye contact.
Jack Gridley: Look people in the eye.
Neil Dudley: There’s this wild trick my mom taught me years ago, which I’m going to have her on another podcast.
Jack Gridley: I want to hear that one.
Neil Dudley: But she said, Neil, find something about anybody and everybody to compliment them on, anything. It could be your hair looks nice, cool vest, man, I like that tie. It’s simple. It doesn’t even take this long to look at it. Like I hadn’t made that up, but I just said it real quick just looking at you guys. It’s easy, and it’s so valuable. You’ll walk into convenience stores, and there’ll be somebody behind the counter. When you walk in, it’s like somebody told them, say hi to everybody that walks in, that almost pisses me off. I’m like quit. Somebody told you to do that. You don’t care that I came in here. But I think if you come into Dorothy Lane, you’re going to get a greeting that feels personal.
Jack Gridley: You’re going to get a genuine-
Neil Dudley: It’s such a great culture. Okay so onto the next topic. What was it? Beyond Meat, the impossible burger, the vegetarian meat alternatives.
Jack Gridley: You don’t want to talk to me on that subject.
Neil Dudley: Yeah, I do. Look, your perspective might not necessarily be the same as everybody else’s, but you’ve got an important perspective on it.
Jack Gridley: I respect everyone’s opinion. And to me, some of my best friends are vegetarians. I call them cattle.
Neil Dudley: You got me with that one.
Jack Gridley: And I shouldn’t say that because I love produce. I love vegetables. But protein is an important part of life. It’s something we all need to embrace instead of running the opposite direction and trying to make everything plant based, vegetarian.
Neil Dudley: Well, and it’s one of those subjects you get a little bit nervous talking about because it could polarize your customer base. There are vegetarians shopping in your store right now. If they listen to this, is this going to make them mad and have them quit coming? I hope not. Please don’t take it that way.
Jack Gridley: I respect their lifestyle. I respect what they do. But at the same time, I think it’s such a small percentage, and for me to take a protein department and convert it to plant-based protein, there are other departments in the store that are trying to do it, and they’re carrying the products, and I support it a hundred percent.
Neil Dudley: You can come to Dorothy Lane and find a plant-based product if that’s what you are looking for.
Jack Gridley: And we’ve tried to cross merchandise with the other departments, but it’s just not there.
Jerry Post: Yeah, you can even find a dynamite veggie burger that we produce in the meat department because we want to make sure we’re offering something. It’s just that a lot of those products that are out there, what else is in there besides just the vegetation? It’s a little frustrating. You want to see that it’s a clean product all the way around but it’s not always the case. So, you’ve got to be careful.
Neil Dudley: I had a great conversation with a guy who’s all about turkey bacon. And that’s not bacon, that’s not pork bacon. I’m like why are you so inclined to lean towards turkey bacon? He said in my life experience, my mom died from health issues, I think turkey bacon is healthier for me, so that’s why I want it. That’s the same exact sentiment of anybody, vegetarian or meat eater, what you think that’s better for. Look, I accept all of those positions. I may not agree with it and that’s fine too. It’s like I’m so sad when we all get so unwilling to accept that somebody else disagrees with us.
Jack Gridley: I agree wholeheartedly. And I think everything is wonderful in moderation. And if we all just eat a mixed diet of proteins, of seafood, of produce, we’re all going to be just fine. We all want to run in a certain direction, and it just is crazy sometimes.
Neil Dudley: Geez, fellas, I’m telling you, this conversation, whether anybody ever listens to this episode ever, which I know there will be a lot of people that listen to it, but if nobody ever listens to it, you’ve blessed me. I appreciate your time. Jack, I appreciate the years we’ve worked together. Jerry, I’m so glad to meet you. I look forward to the years we’ll work together. Mike, dude, you got to sing for us, man. This is how we’re going to end this show. Do you have like a favorite gospel hymn? I’m telling you like Amazing Grace or something. On the spot, do you do it? I wish you could see his face. He’s like Neil, when we get off the mic, I was going to be punching you in the face; I’m going to clobber you. Actually, I won’t make you sing. Everybody, if you didn’t find value in this conversation, I want to know because it’s almost impossible. There’s too much value in the perspectives and the experience. One thing I was going to say earlier is I’m in the middle of trying to write a blog that addresses this idea of vegetarian, humane raising of animals. I was raised on a farm or ranch, so I have a unique perspective on animals and what is humane and that eating animals is not actually an inhumane thing. But I can also allow that somebody raised in the inner city that maybe only has certain access to information could totally disagree with that and just not have that understanding.
Jack Gridley: Neil, I agree with what you just said so much because, I mean, I have valued the relationship I’ve had with your company and the products we’ve done, and I’ve come down and had a great time working with you guys, branding, and on the ranch. And my oldest daughter is married to a farmer. He raises grass-fed beef for us. I’ve watched my grandkids grow up through the Forage Program. What a wonderful thing. I’ve watch them raise animals that are for meat consumption. And it’s so powerful that we let people know where our food comes from and how it’s raised. And it’s done humanely. It’s done respectfully. And at the same time, I see that other side of it, like what you were talking about, because I watched my son-in-law from New York who came during the pandemic to live in Cedarville, and he experienced farm life and experienced all of that, but at the same time, he’s a supporter of plant-based protein. Well, I understand that. That’s fine. To each his own, but at the same time, keep an open mind and eat what flavors everything.
Neil Dudley: That’s right. Flavor is everything. And I am not going to live in the inner city. So, I need to be willing to hear that piece of the conversation, that perspective, because I didn’t live it. It’s almost like I’m a white guy. I need to be able to hear and understand a perspective from somebody that’s not white, somebody that speaks Spanish, somebody that has lived in a country just differently than me. So, I hope the listeners also kind of take that into their mindset a little bit and just say- Hey, I have a perspective and I believe in it. I don’t even hold it against somebody- I think it’s kind of sad if you don’t hold strongly to your passionate feelings about your life and how you fit into this world. But it also can’t mean that you might be wrong. You’ve got to allow the truth that you might be wrong.
Jerry Post: We’ve all been wrong before.
Jack Gridley: We all have.
Neil Dudley: All right, Mike’s not going to sing us away. So, what I’m going to do is say thank you so much for listening. Mike, Jerry, Jack, thank you so much for being on the Pederson’s Farms Podcast. It’s been pure enjoyment for me, a blessing for me. And I can’t wait to let everybody hear it. Now, if you enjoy this conversation, come back for the next one because I promise we’ll be talking to somebody interesting with another perspective you’ll like to hear.
Jerry Post: It was a pleasure to talk to you, Neil.
Neil Dudley: Thanks, fellas.
Hey, everybody. Thank you so much for listening to this episode of the Pederson’s Farms podcast. It’s been a blast bringing this to you, and I sure hope you enjoyed it and found value. If you did, tell a friend, share it out on social media, hit that subscribe button, or go check us out at pedersonsfarms.com. We sure hope you do. And thanks for being here.
(2:07) – Jack, Jerry and Mike’s background and careers
(10:52) – The Dorothy Lane Dynamic
(16:53) – Why are you only located in Dayton?
(19:15) – Mike’s secret singing ability, Friendship and loyalty
(22:35) – How do you build the next generation of DL Leadership?
(25:59) – Building a world-class culture
(27:55) – The importance of building design and in-store experience in Brick & Mortar
(33:36) – Thoughts on meat alternatives
(37:26) – Wrap Up
The Pederson’s Farms Podcast is produced by Straight Up Podcasts & Root and Roam.