Sitting Down With Jim Escola of AMG Foodservice

We recently sat down with Jim Escola of AMG Foodservice to learn about his amazing organization and why he chooses to work with Arctic Industries. A slightly edited transcript of the conversation can be found below.

To kick things off, why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself and AMG?

“We’re a manufacturer’s rep firm, we cover MAFSI region 6 and 7. It’s pretty much middle America which encompasses Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, Western PA, and West Virginia. There are six people on our team, and the company was founded in 1994. We represent various food service manufacturers from refrigeration and cooking equipment to smallwares and furniture. We basically cover the whole gamut- calling on food service equipment dealers, end-users, and consultants.”

How long have you been with the company, and what’s your background in the food service industry?

“I’ve been with the company for about 12 years, and if you know much about food service, you know it’s a family-oriented business. My father is the owner of the company, and I jumped on board fresh out of college. I had a history of working at different restaurants, waiting tables, amongst other things, but really just got started from the ground up at our distribution center.”

How did you and Arctic come into contact, and the formulation of the partnership and how did we get here today with Arctic? 

“The AMG team has a long history of being refrigeration solutions providers in our territory.  Walk-in refrigeration is a very detailed and customized process and we understand what it takes to guide our clients through all stages of the buying process.  When talking to the management team at Arctic, we quickly realized that they can provide solutions to a lot of our customer’s needs in the marketplace. The Blue Line, which is more of your standard box, quick ship, and fills that void for a lot of our customers. What we really like more though, is the Signature Series. We work with our design dealers to customize a box that utilizes Arctic’s capabilities and engineering, to make an excellent product for the end-user.”

How has the food service industry shaped your values as an organization?

“The food service industry is definitely family-oriented; we merged 10-12 years ago with another rep firm, that was also a father-son group. That’s how we grew our business, expanding into Ohio and Pennsylvania. In this business, relationships are a key feature. We want to get to know them and help them be successful.”

Would you say that your focus on building relationships is what helps your organization stand out from the rest?

“Yes, but I would also say we’re able to adapt really quickly because of the size of our organization. We have several experienced sales people, with everyone on the team having at least 20-30 years of experience, except for me. We’re a mid-size rep group, representing less than 20 manufacturers.  This helps us focus on our vendor partners, to make sure we are giving them the attention and communication they deserve. I think that’s a huge benefit to having us as a partner in this field.”

Can you describe how COVID has impacted your business?

“When COVID first hit, we were all in the same boat where we didn’t know what to expect. I think the first thing that we really did was to make sure that we reached out to our key customers, and let them know that we’re there to help. No one in the industry was really selling, it was mainly focused on where the customers were at. How could we help? Was there anything that needed to be done? The key thing that we all talked about on our weekly calls was to make sure everyone is doing alright and see how we can assist. Last spring we started to get into a pretty normal routine, but we focused on making sure that our customers were comfortable seeing us again too, and I think that they really appreciated that.”

How are the current supply-chain issues affecting your clients and projects? Are there any sort of new industry norms that your team is noticing? 

“I think the biggest thing that we’ve tried to do is tell our partners that we are giving them the latest information at that time, and reiterating that it’s subject to change. All that we can really do is just be upfront and transparent as possible with them during this current climate. The one thing that we talk about all the time is making sure we’re following the right protocols to being as transparent as we can, and for the most part the dealers really do appreciate that.”

Do you think that the market opportunity for AMG is going to increase over next year? 

“To be honest, I really think it opened back up 6 months ago. The opportunities are there and they’re continuing to be there.  I think the biggest thing is getting the supply-chain to catch up with the customers’ demands to grow.  Time will tell whether we can continue to meet their needs or not.”

Is there anything else you would like partners, customers, or vendors to know about AMG?

“You can always visit our website, it’s We’re not going anywhere, we’re here for you, we’re here to support you however we can. We appreciate the opportunity to partner with Arctic and really look forward to where this takes us both.”

Thanks for taking the time to sit down and chat with us, Jim!