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A Strong Lineage of Dedicated Entrepreneurs 

Jamie Arguello
Grady’s Foodservice & Equipment

Jamie Arguello took over as president of Grady’s in 2018, succeeding her father Paul Gradishar, another highly respected industry professional and genuine human being. Arguello says she discovered what matters most at her family’s business from her grandfather, Warren Freeman, who purchased Grady’s in 1965.

Arguello didn’t intend to follow in the family footsteps, though she did study business at the University of Denver. After graduation, she started a side business with her brother in the real estate industry but was soon facing the 2007-09 recession. Armed with some experience selling custom apparel and uniforms to the government, she suggested leading an effort to secure government work for Grady’s. That quickly led to success and Arguello realized there was plenty of opportunity in the foodservice equipment and supplies industry, and she’s been a part of Grady’s ever since. She’s since led the company into becoming the 48th largest dealer in the country, according to FES magazine’s 2023 Distribution Giants list.

The Relentless Pursuit of Excellence
Arguello says Grady’s approach to success is deeply rooted in the belief that true achievement lies in the relentless pursuit of excellence, all while keeping its customers’ welfare at the heart of everything the company does. “By embracing the mindset that our journey is never complete and there is always room for improvement, we cultivate a culture rich in learning, innovation and adaptability,” she says.

This philosophy ensures that Grady’s consistently meets, if not surpasses, its customers’ expectations. “It’s this steadfast commitment to enhancing our service and offerings, motivated by the unwavering desire to support our customers, that defines Grady’s path to sustained success and resilience in an ever-evolving world,” she adds.

Sticking to this strategy has helped Grady’s tackle obstacles and maneuver through uncertain times. Arguello believes the refusal to become complacent ensures Grady’s is better equipped to overcome difficulties and rebound with increased strength. “We foster an environment that encourages everyone to show up and do hard things,” Arguello says.

Be Authentic and Unapologetically You
Reflecting on her success in the foodservice equipment industry, Arguello says she owes a deep debt of gratitude to the countless female trailblazers in the industry who mentored her and offered their invaluable guidance. “Heartfelt thanks to each of you,” she says.

Today, Arguello’s daily motivation springs from seeing real improvements in people’s lives. “Love, I’ve come to understand, is a powerful yet often overlooked force for change in the world. It’s about striving to help others succeed, often beginning by boosting someone’s self-view,” she says. “My mentors instilled in me a new self-perception, a gift I now strive to pass on, helping others recognize their own potential.”

Arguello credits Grady’s team members with playing an instrumental role in shaping her into a more effective leader. By actively engaging with and listening to the diverse worldviews of the company’s younger talent, for example, she gains insights into new opportunities for growth and transformation. Thanks to their input, Grady’s now offers many services beyond equipment and supplies distribution, including project management and installation and CAD to 3-D rendering.

“Their fresh perspectives are not only enlightening but also pave the way for innovative approaches to leadership and organizational development,” says Arguello, who has one simple piece of advice to emerging women leaders in the foodservice equipment sector: “Be authentic and unapologetically you.”

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