Andrew Slagel sees potential in Selma
Andrew Slagel plans to spend the rest of his life in Selma.
Slagel is currently Territory Manager for U.S. Foods, where he sells food service supplies and supplies to independent restaurants throughout the region. He also consults with restaurateurs about different ways to make their back of house and front of house operations more efficient.
“I love getting to build relationships with people that are passionate about what they do day in and day out,” Slagel said. “Running a restaurant is one of the hardest professions that I know and get to know the people that have chosen to do it as a profession is a lot of fun for me. I get a lot of satisfaction seeing others succeed or overcome hindrances to their success when it comes to running a food service operation. I truly enjoy trying to figure out ways to help people make it in an industry where 60% of operations close within the first three years.”
Slagel, 31, describes a typical day in a hectic work schedule,” Slagel said. “I am on the road a lot since I manage a larger territory than just Selma. Everyday is different and could change at a moment’s notice, but I schedule meetings with customers to address needs or concerns, discuss new menu ideas, collect payments and look for new clients.”
Slagel wears many hats in the Queen City: Treasurer for Blackbelt Benefit Group and a musician on the worship team at Christ the King.
“I was born and raised in Selma and do not plan to leave,” Slagel said. “I love this town and like many others, I have dreams for it that I can’t seem to shake. We have a lot to do in Selma to make it the place that I believe it is destined to become. But I love that no matter who you are or where you come from, you can dig your hands in an effect positive change. That can’t happen everywhere. I think sometimes I take for granted the great privilege and opportunity I have living here.”
Slagel said Mark’s Mart Owner Rodney King made the biggest influence in his life.
“I had the great honor and privilege to work for him for nine years,” Slagel said. “Rodney taught me more things than I could possibly tell in this interview, but above all I think the largest influence he had on me is about how to treat people. His parents before him, who we all called Pop and Memaw, owned Marks Mart and worked to create a culture where everyone who came through your door was made to feel welcomed and wanted. I think that kind of customer service has shaped a lot of aspects of my life.”
Slagel has a vision on how Selma should improve conditions for the city’s youth.
“Growing up in Selma, there weren’t a lot of the amenities that larger cities had like full service
chain restaurants, large movie theaters, outdoor shopping malls, or concert halls,” Slagel said. “We do have other amenities that wouldn’t be very hard to capitalize on and make Selma a destination instead of a place to flee from for young people. I think that creating an Outdoor Outfitter to safely introduce young people into water activities like kayaking, canoeing, and rafting or a bike trail from water avenue through the riverside district and cemetery connecting to Bloch Park to Downtown.”
Slagel and his wife, Emily, have a two-year-old daughter, Emily and they are expecting a second child in January.