A little note from Darren:
I have spent over half my life working at Meadowbrooke Gourds. I started in the mid-’90s like a strawberry picker and worked my way to lead our sales team for the past 16 years. When you go on a job interview and tell them that you have been working with the same company for 22 years, and you are only 37 years old you raise some eyebrows. But here we are, 22 years later and it is time to move on. There have been ups and downs along the way, but to me what I gained the most was experience and the skill set to communicate with people. I worked with over 2000 different companies over the years and was the voice you would hear when we would get calls. I was there when you needed to order, or needed to complain, and most importantly I was there to listen. I listened to the stories you would share about your life, about your store, and about how our gourds had put a smile on someone’s face. In a time when everything moves so quickly, I was here sitting in my broken down chair waiting for your call and to hopefully make your day. Most people say customer service is dead, but from my desk, it was always a goal of 100% satisfaction.
I will be starting a new chapter in my life. I will be a mortgage consultant with Wells Fargo Home Mortgage. Some people think I am crazy but I am lucky to have three friends in the industry to help me along the way. I am also lucky enough to have the communication skills to talk with many different types of personalities. I will have an advisory role with Meadowbrooke for the 2017 year if any questions may come up. For anybody that would like to reach out to me here is my personal e-mail. firstname.lastname@example.org
Most importantly, thank you to every single owner, buyer, store manager, and store employee that I have worked with over the years. It has truly been the best experience I could get moving into my new profession. And Thank You to Meadowbrooke Gourds and Ben Bear for putting up with me for 22 years and allowing me to stay here until this transition was complete.
A little note from Meadowbrooke:
As we say good-bye to Darren, we are really excited to have Nathan Bear stepping in and taking over wholesale sales for Meadowbrooke Gourds. Nathan mostly has been a man behind the scenes. Many of you have praised him about his incredible packing skills without knowing who he was. He has been our shipping manager for many years. So, although you might not know his name, he is already very familiar with all your names, where you are, and how you order. Some of you were lucky enough to meet him in Atlanta or at the Oaks show in Pennsylvania. He is eager to meet as many as he can personally so he can put a face with the name.
As the wholesale manager, you can be guaranteed you will receive the same top notch customer service and a friendly voice on the other end of the line. He is a very friendly, organized, and detail oriented person who takes his job very seriously. We suspect he will be bringing all these traits along to his new job. He is very knowledgeable about our product line, our company, and what it takes to do a job well done.
Nathan actually started at a very young age since his parents are the ones who actually started the business in 1995. His first jobs started out in the fields, planting, pollinating and picking up the gourds. He has also helped with construction jobs on the farm, worked crafting gourds when needed, and was on the shipping crew during the busy times. When he graduated from school he became the full-time shipping manager. He took the job from a crew of six in the busy season to do it all by himself. As I said, he is very organized and just kept working until he found the best way to pack and ship.
Along with Nathan, you may get another cheery voice on the phone. Her name is Diane and she is helping with wholesale orders and retail web orders. You will be able to place orders with her, ask her questions, and check with her about anything concerning paying your invoice. She started part-time many, many years ago and then about 5 years ago, took a more full-time position doing both Accounts Receivable and Payables. This year, we have added sales to her resume.
If you get a chance, stop by our booth at wholesale shows, call into the farm or better yet if you are in the area, stop by the farm and introduce yourself. You will find them very welcoming and willing to show you around a bit.