Since we’re an online store, we don’t get to interact with our customers much. That’s why we’ve decided to start featuring some of the SPUD people that help get your groceries to your doorstep. This time our focus is on Rick and Susan Hollingshead. Rick works at SPUD HQ in East Vancouver, but Susan’s work as our resident vegan blogger is enjoyed by SPUD fans in all locations!
Tell us about your SPUD background – what is your job, how long have you worked here, what drew you to SPUD to begin with?
At age 58 I started working at Spud in August 2014 as a delivery driver. Because I have a lot of vehicle maintenance experience I started doing repairs to the delivery vehicles. Now my title is Fleet Coordinator/Manager. I am responsible for keeping our fleet of SPUD vehicles maintained including Mainland Milk and Be Fresh vehicles. I also conduct new driver applicant driving tests. I am also part of the facilities team. This role encompasses minor repairs at all locations, SPUD HQ, Pender Commissary Kitchen, Powell Warehouse. and all five Be Fresh locations. I have also been to Calgary and Victoria SPUD to help with warehouse improvements. Periodically I am needed for SPUD and Mainland Milk deliveries as well.
What makes SPUD different from other places you’ve worked?
Well, my working career has been extremely varied from farming, factory worker (Molson Brewery), small engine mechanic, ski lift supervisor, long-haul truck driver, equipment sales and rental, resort owner-operator, small business owner-operator and more. The biggest difference with Spud is feeling like I am part of a progressive company that is helping people make easy choices for a healthier lifestyle and Spud is a company that supports local and really cares about the environment. These things are all very important to me.
What is something you really love about your job?
Everything really, but mostly working with fun like-minded people. Being extremely busy every day is great (my days fly by). I also love that my role includes a lot of the skills I have.
We’ve noticed that your ringtone is “Yeah” by Usher – what is that about?
Really no significant meaning, it’s just really loud so I can hear it in my back pocket! I do like the reaction I get from everyone, most people start to dance! My wife loves it too.
Your wife is our resident vegan blogger, how is it being a recipe guinea pig?
Awesome!!!! I like sharing her vegan creations with Spud staff as well. (Editor’s note – we all love that as well!)
What do you love to do outside of work?
Mostly spending time with Susan and our family. We love to walk and cycle this beautiful city. I enjoy motorcycling as well. I’m also a big Canucks fan!
How/when did you become SPUD’s resident vegan?
After having a conversation with Peter, SPUD’s owner, about 18 months ago about what drew me to become a vegan, he asked me if I would be interested in writing a blog post from my perspective. Having maintained my own blog for 4 years previously (not food related) I thought sharing my vegan views would be a fun change.
Why did you make the decision to become vegan?
We became vegetarian for health reasons back in 1994 (Rick comes from a family with a long history of colon cancer). Five years ago, mostly due to social media making us aware of the livestock industry, we decided to no longer participate in it in any way. Veganism is about the animals and the environment and feeling healthier is a by-product of that.
Where do you get inspiration for your posts?
It comes from some of my day to day experiences, questions and challenges. With the recipes I share, they come from experiments with food that I create that turn out well.
How does Rick help with the recipe development process?
He gets to eat my creations. Not always the most unbiased judge, he does let me know when things just are not worthy of sharing or making again. I’ve stopped creating desserts so he may not be as happy as he once was!
What do you love about SPUD?
I love the concept and the simplicity of shopping from home! We became SPUD customers back in 2008-9 and I loved the convenience of not having to go into a store and grocery shop. That saved me about three hours a week right away. Then knowing that if I really want to browse everything, I can go into “Special diets” and browse the vegan section for anything I want without reading labels. I have since gotten to know some of the staff outside of work and have so much fun with them. Great company!