Baker sets new offerings
February 4, 2014
While last year was all about growth for Nature's Bakery, this year will be about innovation and development of new products.
Nature's Bakery, founded in 2010 by Dave Marson and his son, Sam, will spend much of the coming year cementing international distribution contracts and creating new product lines, says Sam Marson, the company's operations manager.
Nature's Bakery manufactures a line of flavored fig bars from its 30,000-square-foot baking facility on Convair Drive in Carson City. Last year, it added a 60,000-square-foot warehousing and distribution facility on Trademark Drive in South Meadows to improve the flow of baking operations. The company also recently moved its headquarters and offices to south Reno as well, leasing an additional 10,000 square feet.
The extra space created in Carson City allowed Nature's Bakery to expand its production capabilities.
"We decided to improve quality and make things run little smother by taking all the warehousing out so it is manufacturing only," Sam Marson says. "What is needed for the day comes in, it is processed and packaged and sent via truck to the warehouse. We are not storing anything, and it makes it more efficient and gave us room to add another production line."
Nature's Bakery chose Reno for its distribution and warehousing operations because there wasn't suitable industrial space available in Carson City, Marson says. The climate-controlled building formerly served as a distribution center for Kendall Jackson Winery and has an additional 100,000 square feet for future expansion.
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Between its three locations Nature's Bakery employs 165 — and employment could nearly double by the end of 2014. New accounts in the United States include Walgreens, Navy Exchanges, Roche Brothers, Hess Gas Stations and an additional 1,480 Krogers grocery stores. In Canada, Nature's Bakery accounts include Whole Foods, Choices, Community Market and Bulk Barn.
The company also is increasing its presence in overseas markets.
"We went from a regional-type model to shipping products nationally to internationally," Marson says. "We are sending products to Singapore and Mexico, and we are about to ship to Poland. From there they will be distributed throughout Europe."
Marson says the company's explosive growth — revenue is up more than 400 percent in the past 18 months — is driven by the product and not by well-polished sales pitches when Nature's Bakery executives meet with corporate buyers.
"I knew that this product had legs, but I didn't realize how it was really going to be responded to by consumers throughout county," he says. "It caught us by surprise a bit, but we are prepared and are good at growing production.
"We are letting (buyers) taste the product, and it is selling itself. It has to be a quality product when you are competing against national brands like Nutri-Grain and Cliff bar."
Also in 2014, Nature's Bakery is looking to partner with Nevada-based farmers to source locally grown wheat and explore the possibility of growing figs indoors. It will use roughly 5 million pounds of figs in 2014.
"We are looking at developing new product lines to launch along side the bars and create a whole family of products," Marson says. "We really want to take this next year and put some more quality products into the marketplace. It has been a wild yet exciting journey that has been really fun, and we are looking forward to what is coming down the pipeline."