Every year, QuickChek announces their Vendor Partner of the Year Award: an opportunity to honor vendors who go above and beyond in their duties. With a large network of quality vendors, choosing just one award recipient might seem daunting – but Jordan Singer, owner of Automatic Ice, made this year’s selection process an easy one.
The New Jersey based convenience store chain, QuickChek works with a variety of vendors that supply ice machines, refrigeration, and other essential equipment for made-to-order fare. Singer has worked with QuickChek since 2004, when the company inquired about Automatic Ice’s equipment. Singer’s family-owned company offers an impressive selection of new ice equipment, various refrigeration products as well as commercial cooking equipment.
But when QuickChek first called, “it was all about ice,” Singer said: “QuickChek expressed interest in selling ice by the bag, which they always were doing – but they got upset with one of their suppliers, who couldn’t keep them supplied in the heat of summer. So they called us and asked about getting their own ice machine in one of their stores.”
That initial request graduated into supplying ice machines and bagging bins to fill up 8- and 10-pound bags. After Singer’s team fulfilled this request, QuickChek asked them to install large,1300-pound ice machines in their stores’ back rooms. Later, Automatic Ice installed ice machines at QuickChek’s “bev-serve counters,” followed by equipment for their iced coffee program. Today, Automatic Ice also provides QuickChek’s blenders, microwaves, and sandwich-prep tables, as well as electric convention ovens for their baked goods.
All these graduations required a “pretty significant investment in both inventory money and space,” said Singer. But whatever the challenge, he’s always prepared to meet the demand. For a one-stop shop like QuickChek, Automatic Ice is a one-stop vendor – and when problems arise, Singer and his team show up to solve them.
“QuickChek shows brutal loyalty to the suppliers that have been brutally loyal to them,” said Singer; and Rick Wisler, Director of Engineering at QuickChek, confirmed that the loyalty goes both ways. Throughout their partnership, Singer has consistently gone “above and beyond,” said Wisler. “He supports QuickChek charity events, smooths out vendor relations, and never says no.”
But most recently, Singer “seriously stepped up” during QuickChek’s supply chain issues, reflected Wisler.
“We were having a hard getting refrigeration products, but Jordan found other products that we don’t normally buy from him. He secured them for us at a good price and on time, which was huge. We were going to miss openings because the companies we’d normally buy from couldn’t supply their products in time.” During this time, Singer even took deliveries from other companies and held them in his warehouse.
With Singer on their side, “something that would have been a complete pain was suddenly not that big of a deal,” said Wisler. This ability is one of Singer’s greatest strengths, and it defines his relationships with vendors. With a fiery spirit and total customer dedication, “he just never says no,” affirmed Wisler. “He’ll just look forward, climb over the hills, and around whatever else to get things done. We had a problem with a blender manufacturer that had changed a design and Jordan stepped in to fight and win that battle for us.”
Singer is equally grateful for the relationship with QuickChek, and he’s proud to have maintained their connection for 19 years. “This is an account we get to brag about,” Singer said – but for good reason. Automatic Ice is committed to consistent, quality service, backed by real people who understand companies’ equipment needs.
For companies like QuickChek, bottom-line solutions aren’t always the winners. Instead, when QuickChek selects their partners, “it’s all about what the vendor can do for them,” said Singer. And with Singer leading the company, Automatic Ice does plenty.
Over the years, QuickChek’s fresh food and beverage business has become more sophisticated. In turn, Automatic Ice has expanded its product offerings and logistical planning for the company: always with a focus on real people, fair prices, and authentic customer service.
Singer describes his company as an “old-fashioned dinosaur” of a business – but that doesn’t preclude Automatic Ice from the honor of Vendor of the Year. If anything, Singer’s retro approach and customer-driven philosophy are the criteria for this year’s award. After years of steady partnership with QuickChek, “it’s nice for someone to recognize that dinosaurs can still exist on the earth.”