Working at Advantage

From frosting cupcakes to frying chicken, stocking bananas and everything in between, front-line team members from R2 Fresh Solutions, an Advantage Solutions company, are out in the field every day servicing retailer delis, produce and meat departments, as well as fresh bakery operations, dairy and cheese sections across the country. Here are just a few of the front-line associates R2 Fresh leaders encountered as they participated in “A Day on the Front Line” as part of Advantage’s Front-Line Appreciation Month in August.

  • In her role as bakery specialist, Jessica Foley (photo at right) travels the Midwest region to assist bakery operations in retail stores, including Spartan Nash’s Family Fare store in Byron Center, Mich., where she was frosting cupcakes on the day of this visit.
    “In-store bakeries are slowly becoming a thing of the past, but we will always need people who know how to decorate cakes, cupcakes and desserts,” says Anne Rakosky, senior business development manager at R2 Fresh Solutions Midwest. “I can’t say thank you enough to our associates who travel all over to help our bakeries and stores in general. I’m proud to be part of a company that can reach out and help when stores are in need!”
    What she loves about her job: “Working with multiple bakery employees and being able to work in multiple aspects of the field.”
    Something we learned about Foley: She began her cake-decorating career at Meijer.
  • Fresh food specialist Emerson Stansbury has been with R2 Fresh Solutions (formerly Advantage Fresh) for 12 years, joining Advantage as part of the company’s Waypoint acquisition. He works in Bel Air, Md., where he takes part in retail in-store executions and resets for his clients as well as new store openings and events.
    What he loves about his job: “My connections and relationships with store managers and associates are what I most enjoy about my job,” he says. “I feel like I’m making a difference in my community because in this post-Covid world, we’re all aware of how delicate and important the food supply chain is.”
    Something we learned about Stansbury: His birthday is on Halloween, and he plans to visit all 50 states before he turns 50.
  • Jennifer Bach, a business development manager in the West region, started her retail career at a Safeway store before joining Advantage 15 years ago. Her role includes sales, distribution, resets and store support in the Oregon market.
    She recently ran a successful Meat Bonanza anniversary sale at Sherm’s Thunderbird Market in Roseburg, Ore. “That means selling a lot of meat, and Jennifer was right in there helping, greeting customers and working side by side with the store manager to make this day successful and fun,” says Linda Lee Miller, retail supervisor at R2 Fresh Solutions West. “We are so fortunate to have one of the most dedicated and passionate front-line teams who will always do what it takes to make every event more successful than the last.”
    What she loves about her job: Sales and new-item distribution.
    Something we learned about Bach: She can fix most anything. When she’s not at work, she can be found enjoying the outdoors and playing on the river.
  • Talk about doing it all! On the day of her supervisor’s visit, Laura Barela, customer development manager for R2 Fresh Solutions West, was at a Safeway in Highlands Ranch, Colo., setting cases for walk-through by upper management, frying chicken wings, building displays and preparing for grand re-openings.
    “Laura always does what is needed,” says Dana Padilla, business development manager at R2 Fresh Solutions West. “Her dedication to her work and overall professionalism are outstanding.”
    What she loves about her job: “Working with Safeway team members and fellow workers in other grocery stores.”
    Something we learned about Barela: A former deli manager, she has been with R2 Fresh Solutions for seven years.
  • Gary Vogt, a fresh food specialist based in Glen Burnie, Md., has been performing in-store executions for three years and loves the variety of his work. He was setting up a produce display with bananas on the day of this visit.
    What he loves about his job: “Interacting with people and helping customers.”
    Something we learned about Vogt: He is a great cook and enjoys sports and traveling.