Natural Foods Merchandiser

Frontier Heads Back to Iowa

Continuing to shore up its core business operations, Frontier Natural Products Co-op closed its Boulder, Colo., office and restored its corporate headquarters in Norway, Iowa, in early October.

Frontier also announced it had filled four key positions with veteran employees who left the company after most management operations were moved to Boulder under former CEO Steve Hughes. Hughes resigned in July. Soon after, Frontier began to reassess the planned rapid rollout of the Simply Organic and Aura Cacia brands.

Interim CEO Andy Pauley said Frontier will continue to expand distribution of Simply Organic and Aura Cacia. "We will continue to harvest the Simply Organic deals we have out there, but Simply Organic is only a piece of the business," he said.

Simply Organic spice and sauce mixes, add-meat dinners and side dishes now are carried in about 3,000 conventional and naturals grocery stores nationwide. Clint Landis, who developed the Aura Cacia aromatherapy line, has been hired to direct marketing of the Frontier, Simply Organic and Aura Cacia brands.

Despite a period of benign neglect, Frontier's core herb and spice operation logged growth in 2002. The company hopes to revitalize operations by rehiring herbalist Kathy Larson as bulk brand manager. "It is fair to say it has been on the back burner," Pauley said. "It kind of ran itself. There was not a lot of focus on it last year, but it still did 8 percent better."

In the administrative offices, previous interim CEO Tony Bedard has returned to serve as vice president of operations. Bill Kooistra returns as vice president of finance.

Natural Foods Merchandiser volume XXIII/number 11/p. 10

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