Dave Frost has been working in wholesale since 1967 and is a retail sales executive at Palmer and Harvey (P&H), the UK’s largest delivered wholesaler servicing the multiple, convenience, forecourt and CTN sectors, working with 63,600 retailers.
What was your first ever job?
I left school aged 15 and went straight into the Royal Navy, working in the stores department. That wasn’t for me so I left and started looking for a job in food. I found a role as a picker at a wholesale company called FJ French, assembling orders for customers. The company was taken over by P&H which recognises my continued service.
What does your average day involve?
At the moment, seasonal pre-sales for Easter is my main objective. I’ve got around 160 trading customers in East Sussex, West Sussex and parts of Surrey, although I have worked with customers all around the south coast at one point or another in the past.
When I go out on the road, I like to plan what I’m going to do. I start work at 7am and don’t clock off until around 6.45pm so I can get ready for the next day. Every day, I take my laptop and a healthy lunch – usually packed by my wife, who I met while working at FJ French. On average, I make around six to eight calls a day with existing customers, selling pre-sales. I also do some work towards getting new business.
What is your favourite thing about working in wholesale?
The main thing I enjoy is speaking with customers face-to-face. I never get bored of meeting people.
What changes have you seen at the firm over the years?
When I started in 1967, everything was done with pen and paper. These days, everything is done electronically with EPoS and barcode systems. I had to teach myself to use a computer years ago. Today, everything I need for my job is on my laptop and I couldn’t survive without it now. It saves a huge amount of time and benefits the customer with greater accuracy.
What would your colleagues say about you?
I think they would say I am someone you can call for advice at any time of the day and rely on for an answer to your question. My colleagues are always contacting me for advice.
What do you do in your spare time?
My main love is drag racing. I go to Santa Pod at Wellingborough – I love the smell, the noise and the speed. Top Fuel dragsters reach 330mph and can complete a full quarter-mile in 4.4 seconds, creating a bigger g-force than the Red Arrows. My favourite driver is Urs Erbacher.
Other than that, I love spending time with my family and my grandchildren. I also love holidays and tend to go abroad at least three times a year.
If a film was made of your life, which actor would play you on-screen?
There’s only one person – it’s got to be Jack Nicholson. He’s got the same sense of humour as me. He’s a very funny guy, but he can also do serious roles really well. And I think that would be key.
What’s your philosophy for work?
You’re never too old. Even though I’ve been here 47 years, I’m still always ready to learn something new. A good example would be when I taught myself to use a computer. You’ve got to keep adapting.