Celebrating Team Tropical: Carolyn

February 7, 2019

Carolyn Bennett, Owner and Commodity Buyer

In our Celebrating Team Tropical series, we commemorate our employees’ work anniversaries by getting to know them and their role at Tropical Foods better. Meet Carolyn who is one of the owners of Tropical Foods and our Commodity Buyer and self-described Nut Nerd. She celebrates 35 YEARS with the company this week!

Tell us about your role at Tropical:

I have worked at Tropical 35 years. After graduating from Queens University, I worked in our retail store during Christmas season. It was just a temporary job until I found a “real” job! I then moved into inside sales and really enjoyed working with our customers, but was frustrated by outs on some candy items. I asked if I could do the buying for the candy line we were always out of.

This is when I found my true love job at Tropical.

After buying all the non-commodity items for many years, I trained for buying our commodity items with my father, Jerry York. I sat across the desk from him for 3 years, listening and learning all I could about nuts and dried fruits. He also taught me the “formula” for making great mixes that stand out from the competition! So now my job is buying our commodity items and creating wonderful snack mixes for our customers.

What’s your favorite part of your job?

The favorite part of my job is using my creativity to create new or custom mixes. I also enjoy the negotiation aspect of purchasing and the relationships I have with our vendors. Every day is something new!

What project/success are you most proud of here?

I am proud of many things, but I think I am most proud of our quality commitment. We don’t deviate, cheapen or cut corners on our mixes. The mix you bought 10 years ago would look the same today with the same quality and quantity of delicious ingredients. I am also proud that we are still able to ship orders in less than 24 hours.

What’s your favorite memory from working here?

Working with my parents and watching our company grow! My parents’ intention was just to make a living and get all us kids through college. They thought the most employees we would ever have would be 25! Presently, we now have over 200 employees and 6 locations around the United States.

What is on your wish list for your next five years here?

For continued sustainable and profitable growth and for the success of our employees who are coming up in the ranks.

What would you do (for a career) if you weren’t doing this?

I am creative and have a vivid imagination. I would have gone into some kind of career that would have allowed me to write.

If you could choose anyone, who would you pick as your mentor?

I already had the best mentor, my father, Jerry York.

Tell us something that might surprise us about you:

I love professional football and have won my Fantasy Football league 4 times.

I also love wildlife and save all the nut and fruit samples I get to take up to our mountain home and put out for the deer! I have not yet found a nut or fruit that they won’t eat!

If they made a movie of your life, who would play you?

I can’t think of any actress as short as me!

Tags: carolyn bennett, owner, team tropical, tropical anniversary

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