Parkchester resident Jacki Blount grew up wanting to be a mortician, but never in her wildest dreams imagined being in the food service.
Yet, for the past 22 years Blount has worked at Baldor Specialty Foods in Hunts Point.
Blount, 50, was raised between Harlem and the Bronx and recalled that life as a child was not easy. Both areas were filled with violence and drugs, but she stayed focused and never got involved with those things.
At 19 she moved to the Boogie Down and never left.
“I love Parkchester and I love the Bronx,” she said. “I couldn’t see myself living anywhere else.”
Blount went to high school in Manhattan, but dropped out. Sitting at home wasn’t an option, so she got a job as a cashier a supermarket. But she soon realized this was not the path she wanted and got her G.E.D.
She eventually landed a better paying position at Jetro, where she stayed for six years. During that time Blount met a woman who worked on Wall Street who asked her if she was interested in a career change.
Blount took her up on the offer and took a job in Manhattan. She made copies and put packets together, but wasn’t happy.
“The dressing up every day wasn’t me — I’m a more casual person,” Blount explained. “I thought I was much more than that.”
After six months she called it quits and returned to the food service. She worked at Gourmet Garage supermarket for three years before joining Baldor in 1999.
Blount told the Bronx Times she had always wanted to work at Baldor, but never had the opportunity. But fate was on her side as it turned out that Sales Executive Elizabeth Dickens was a neighbor hers.
After they got to chatting and realized they both were in the food industry, Dickens got her an application and the rest is history. At that time Baldor was in Queens and Blount took two trains and three buses to get there.
She began as a sales assistant and fell in love with the job. Later Blount was in charge of buying products and today is the senior inside sales supervisor.
“I love sales,” she stressed. “I love talking to my customers.”
For more than two decades Baldor has been her second home. Yet, when COVID-19 arrived a year ago, it lost 80 % of its business, Blount said.
According to Blount, 2020 was not easy for anyone at Baldor. While it took a while to adjust to the life during the pandemic, she and her colleagues persevered.
“For the first time we had to work from home,” she recalled.
Blount, who sometimes misses not becoming a mortician, said her biggest regret is not going to college. With two sons, Dayvon, 31and Dondre., 28, she describes herself as a homebody and a basketball fan.
She credits her late parents, Otelia and William for her work ethic and success.
“I love this industry and love Baldor,” she said.