Another hiatus from fresh produce seems less likely than earlier in her career.
“It’s a fascinating business, it’s fun, people are great, the atmosphere is casual and friendly,” Kreidler said. “I feel I fit in well with the atmosphere of the produce industry. Most people in it are passionate about what they do.”
If Anna Martin was Kreidler’s first produce industry mentor, her husband, Mike Martin, president of Rio Queen, has now assumed a similar role.
“He is an incredible leader who runs the company morally and technically,” Kreidler said. “It’s just a pleasure to work with him.”
The respect and admiration appear to go both directions. The company is fortunate to have Gretchen as a member of the Rio Queen family, Martin said.
“Gretchen is a great communicator and has an excellent ability to relate to people,” he said. “This, combined with a growing passion for the produce industry, makes her an ideal candidate to become a leader of industry issues, causes and organizations in the years to come.”
Kreidler’s passion for produce is reinforced these days by the satisfaction she receives from marketing the company’s commodities.
“What’s important to us is pleasing our customers, doing the best we can for our customers,” Kreidler said. “They come to us not for price. They’re coming to us for our service.”
When Kreidler’s busy schedule offers a break from her pleasing customers, marketing and public relations duties, she becomes what some may view as a stereotypical Texan.
“I’m an outdoorsy type,” Kreidler said. “I like hunting, fishing and skeet shooting.”
There is, however, an artistic side.
Kreidler’s indoor hobby is making jewelry.
“I’m a silversmith,” she said. “I make silver and gold jewelry from melting the silver to hammering it out to creating my own designs.”
Her customers are often friends and acquaintances, Kreidler said, and not as often customers from her jewelry website, which, she said, “hasn’t been updated in years.”
“When I get orders, it kind of overwhelms me, because I don’t always have that much time to do it, and I feel guilty when I have not finished a piece,” Kreidler said.
Not overwhelming to Kreidler are the letters Rio Queen receives from consumers.
“I write personal thank you notes to every person who writes to our company,” she said.
The vast majority of those consumer letters praise the Rio Queen products, Kreidler said.
“In three years, we’ve received maybe two letters from unhappy consumers,” she said.
As for the exterior scars sometimes found on Rio Grande Valley citrus cause by the region’s frequent winds, Kreidler’s reply indicated why she’s in marketing.
“We call them south Texas beauty marks.”