Looking Back on Great Lakes Hotel Supply

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When I filmed the fifth episode of the We Supply America series with Great Lakes Hotel Supply, I was impressed by the way the team came together to drive a core goal during the 2020 pandemic: to keep foodservice operations up and running.

They played a critical role in the world of distribution during the pandemic. With foodservice, everything is time-sensitive. Equipment must be precise, and so must the distribution of that equipment. Businesses can fail overnight if these needs aren’t met, and knowing this empowered Great Lakes Hotel Supply to center their efforts on serving their customers and helping them survive the pandemic. It’s been a while since the episode aired, but I reached out to Marketing Director Diane Sorenson and asked her about her experience during my visit. Here’s what she had to say.

Dirk Beveridge: What compelled you to be a part of We Supply America? 

Diane Sorenson: Well, the communication came through our owner, Marc Israel, who had been connected to you through SEFA, our buying group. I remember getting the email about it, and I immediately went to Marc and said “Is this real? Is this right?” He said yes, and we were so excited. 

DB: What was your experience like while filming? 

DS: It was a fun, fun day. We had a few planning meetings just to get the lay of the land. 

We knew that we wanted to get a variety of different people in our office to tell their stories because we have so many unique people here, and so many different backgrounds that relate to the foodservice industry and why our company has been so successful. So we put a lot of thought into who we wanted to introduce you to and who would be comfortable to talk to you on camera. 

When you came, it was just smooth and easy. The camera crew was easy to work with—they weren’t intrusive. You also just immediately put everybody at ease. That made it super easy because a lot of people get nervous when they get a camera in their face, and they think, “What am I going to say?” 

But putting people at ease is one of your gifts. You just know how to talk to people and bring out their stories.

DB: Do you have any stories or takeaways from the filming? 

DS: I thought it was great for Marc and the leadership team to be able to hear our employee’s perspectives about working here. I don’t think they get to hear a lot of these things firsthand on a daily basis because everybody’s so busy.

DB: Do you think the episode accurately depicted you and your team? 

DS: I do. Everyone is so busy, so we rarely get to connect and talk about our experiences in-depth, but I think it was really refreshing to be able to hear everybody’s perspectives.

DB: Is there anything you want the viewers to know about your company that wasn’t clearly illustrated in the episode? 

DS: I wish we would have been able to get into more detail with other employees, the ones who really make the magic happen here. 

DB: What was your team’s reaction to the episode? 

DS: I think we got a lot of good feedback and people really enjoyed it. The people I personally spoke with said that they thought it was really well done. And, of course, I think everybody liked a little bit of fame for the company.

DB: How has being part of We Supply America impacted you and your team? 

DS: I think the whole focus made everybody, take a step back and say, “Oh, maybe we are part of something bigger than what we do on a day-to-day basis.” And, we are very involved in our community. We do a lot of community outreach programs that are totally unrelated to anything we do on a daily basis just because we like to give back. So I think it was good to look at what we do for the foodservice industry and how we are able to impact the restaurant industry locally. We impact the employees, the mom-and-pops, and then not only that, but we’re doing things around the country with big corporations and universities. 

I think it was a chance for everyone to kind of take a step back and look at the bigger 30,000-foot view of why we’re doing what we’re doing and why it’s important. 

DB: How have things been going since the filming and since the airing of the episode? 

DS: We’re busier than ever. Lately, we’ve been expanding our office in Colorado, adding new team members, and updating the website. We’re really focusing on what makes us special and what makes people want to work with us. It’s the people, it’s definitely our people. 

DB: Is there anything else that you would like to add? 

DS: We just totally appreciated the experience. It was awesome meeting you and watching you highlight some great family companies around the country. We were honored to be part of it.
If you missed the episode we filmed at Great Lakes Hotel Supply, check it out here. You’ll be inspired by the way this team interacts and their commitment to their customers and each other. I had the pleasure of speaking with the leadership behind the Great Lakes team, owner Marc Isreal and COO Dave Hubbard, in an exclusive interview. These leaders have incredible insights and thoughts on how to persevere through challenges and staying grounded in your purpose.

Infor is proud to be a Sponsor-Partner of the We Supply America tour in partnership with Dirk Beveridge and UnleashWD. Infor is a global leader in business cloud software specialized by industry, with a special focus on wholesale distribution. We use data-driven insights to solve emerging industry challenges and provide our customers with the modern tools they need to innovate and transform their businesses.

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