Kristjan Grimson: Operations Manager & Man of Many Hats
When Marco and Romana started Vibrant Meals, they did not anticipate the never ending load of tasks that pairs with becoming business owners. However, Kristjan Grimson, Vibrant Meals Operations Manager, came in two years ago with just the right support and knowledge to ensure an effortless, efficient, and successful system behind the company.
Originally from Winnipeg Manitoba, Canada, Kristjan grew up a couple of hours away in Nashville, TN. When it came to the inevitable “what’s next” after high school graduation, Kristjan had planned on playing hockey, but Chattanooga was pulling him a different way.
“I realized I didn’t love hockey as much as I thought, so I applied to UTC simply because the deadline was later than other schools,” he laughingly said. “Came here as a transfer, then fell in love with the city. Then I met Alex, my wife, and so I didn’t want to go anywhere.”
Throughout his time in school, Kristjan embarked on numerous job opportunities, each setting him up for the position he holds today.
“The through line of every job I’ve had is that it's been ‘we kind of know what this is, but at the same time we don’t,’” he said. “So, kind of coming in and helping figure out what a position is and where help is needed.”
Right before starting work for Vibrant Meals, Kristjan had experience working with Bellhop and a digital creative agency, but realized he wanted to do something different. At the time, Kristjan was involved in a Bible study group led by Marco and felt their connection would be helpful in him finding work better suited for his skills.
“I told Macro in any capacity that he could use me, I would be down to come over. So, I came in, jumped into retail, jumped into portion control, and then kind of found my way into filling a hole in operations where we had a gap,” he said. “I saw I could provide him some head space and not be focusing on everything like he was for so long.”
With the original intent to work alongside someone he respects, Kristjan found his place at Vibrant Meals constantly lending a helping hand wherever and whenever needed.
“Structuring something from nothing has always been the position I have been in,” he said. “This definitely feels familiar, but it's fun to be in a smaller environment where it's much more tangible. I can very much see what happens when I do something right or when I do something wrong.”
With the main goal of ensuring efficiency and accuracy once the product leaves the kitchen, Kristjan holds the role of “a man of many hats” taking form in portion control, delivery fulfillment, dispatch, and all things management.
“It’s kind of like, once the product leaves the kitchen that’s where I become more of a piece,” he said.
Outside of his daily duties as operations manager, Kristjan possesses a passion for all things film and movies, not only in viewing, but starring.
“In the last two years, I realized long term I want to be in film to some capacity. That’s the thing I care most about,” he said. “COVID has made it very difficult because all productions everywhere are pretty much shut down, but I got a short film that I’m actually shooting in a couple weeks and I am the star of it. It’s my first substantial thing, so it’ll be fun.”
Besides his side career in acting, Kristjan is extremely dedicated, reliable, and beloved at Vibrant Meals. It is evident in the way he cares for his coworkers and the purpose of the company.
“I truly consider it a very safe place for customers and for the people that work here,” he said. “If you work here, we truly, truly value you and pour a lot into you. We protect our culture, making sure we cultivate relationships with people that walk through our front door and people that make this their place of work.”
After almost two years working with Vibrant Meals, Kristjan enjoys creating a safe and welcoming environment for his coworkers and customers, allowing the company to flourish and grow more and more each day.
“The biggest thing is we never want it to feel like a burden for someone who works here or someone that comes in here, but just like a place where you can come and it feels safe and comfortable; that it’s home, no matter who you are or what your role is here.”
Written by Abigail Frazier
Photography by Uriah Young