Born in Franklin County, North Carolina, Wendy is a true Southern Belle with roots there and in Johnston County. Except for brief spells living in towns where she attended college, she has never ventured far from her hometown of Zebulon and still resides in the area.
"My roots are from generations of farm families who worked the land to provide for their kin folk and others in the communities where they lived. Both granddaddies owned grocery stores at one time or another, one in town and one way out in the country. To this day, I love grocery shopping, a pleasure that befuddles my friends, and the fact I often spend hours piddling in them, even when traveling, likely dates back to my early childhood 'playing grocery store' with cousins at those granddaddy-grocery-stores! I like looking into folks' grocery carts too, to see what they are buying... what's trending and what they are feeding their family. Other than hopping on the tractor and mowing fairways and helping mama in the pro shop at the golf course daddy built when I was a little girl (Zebulon Country Club), my first job was at the Piggly Wiggly in Zebulon. So you see, I truly do love grocery stores!!"
It is from those lineages she grew to be passionate about food and everything about it...
cooking it, eating it, playing with it, experimenting with it, helping others like and appreciate it, marketing it (even as a little girl she was setting up store displays), and fascinated by all the equipment and gadgets having to do with it and the kitchen... all the while serving it pretty too… with garnishment and on proper dishware with cloth napkins! Wendy's best friend Giny will tell you today her mud pies were the prettiest, because she garnished them with a dusting of Comet!
Surrounded by all these influences, Wendy developed an appreciation for hard work and all the rewards that brings while offering products, services and customer service exceeding expectations. Additionally, having grown up on the seat of a tractor, she has garnered respect not only for the earth that nurtures us, but also for those who toil in the hot humid days... or the pouring rains... or the frosty morns well before the suns peeps over the horizon... to feed us goodly foods planted and cultivated not by greed or lust for money, but by their weathered hands, hearty souls, and inner passions...
Recollecting what her daddy always said, "Agriculture came before culture!," so let us not forget!"
Freshness! Be it in food or the preparation of, eating and its surroundings, breathing new life into menus, home essentials or any facets of these things, I strive to stay abreast of current trends as well as those coming around the bend to tailor my creations and marketing efforts (as well as those of my clients) with an eye on what’s coming “over yonder” and not what’s “back there.” And these things need not break the bank, so rest assured consulting with me can actually save and make you money! In other words, I'll earn my keep. I can hardly wait to see what will be on our plates, in our grocery carts or comforting us at home next! Keeping things fresh also requires...
Resourcefulness! Folks tell me all the time... "Wendy, you know everybody. You should market yourself as 'the resource lady.'" I suppose there is a lot of truth to that, but having spent an entire career in multiple facets of the kitchen and culinary worlds, I have collected a variety of colleagues, many who have become personal friends... and when I come upon a need I may not have in my Rolodex (yep, I still have one!), I surely know folks to call upon (or someone who does)... I can't imagine any other industry with folks as willing to share and help others than culinarians, who give me...
Inspiration! An educator by degree and experience, teaching inspires me... be it in a demo setting, hands-on, or in marketing products in various ways. My quest for knowledge is great, and even when teaching others, rare is the circumstance when I do not learn from my students or clients and their products. Not a “ho hum” kind of gal, I believe that any subject or product can be marketed in a fun and charming manner, no matter who the audience.
For me, variety is the spice of life…. I thrive on filling my pantry with interesting people and opportunities that are rewarding for all ~ my clients, my audiences, and of course, myself! Like a chef in a well-orchestrated kitchen, many small pots are on the burners simmering to fill the plates of my customers' varying needs and tastes. I’d like to share with you a few of the “seasonings” that make me Wendy, so you can see what I bring to the table for my clients and yours!
Authenticity… at the core of my being! I believe that if one is not true to one’s self, they cannot be true to others or in what they do. I am who I say I am and my word is my word… when I contract with you, nothing or nobody will hamper me in giving you my all, which leads to my next ingredient...
Passion! Goodness gracious, as you see, my passions are many. I have an innate “need” to share my knowledge with any and everybody that will hear me, (and sometimes with those who have no such inclination). But if I see a way something is serviced or merchandised, my inner “marketing maven” from a consumer viewpoint takes over! I sometimes find it hard to simply walk away without gracefully offering my idea(s) when I just know it will be profitable, or at least worthy of a mere suggestion or try, which goes hand-in-hand with…
Professional & Personal Affiliations...
Southern Foodways Alliance
East Carolina University Alumni Association
NC Agri-Business Women
East Carolina University ~ BS Home Economics Education
North Carolina State University ~ Social Media Management
John C. Campbell Folk School
ECU "100 Incredible Women Alumni" ~ ECU "Legacy of Leadership" Award
Numerous cooking contests and trade show "Best Booth Design" awards!
Featured at Our State Magazine's "Best of Our State"