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Annie’s Homegrown: Natural And Organic

June 23, 2014

Annie Withey and Andrew Martin co-founded Annie’s Homegrown, Inc. in 1989 in Hampton, Connecticut. The goal back then was to make healthy and delicious macaroni and cheese for families. The establishment of the business was not solely for profit but to also to show people that a successful business could also be socially responsible.  Annie had a pet rabbit named Bernie and used the rabbit as the brand’s “Rabbit of Approval”. Her business had a personal touch to it; she put her own address and phone number on each box to encourage customers to connect to her.

There is a “business side” to any business and in 1995 Annie’s completed a direct public offering that raised $1.3 million. One person would go beyond buying Annie’s stock. This was John Foraker, an owner of Homegrown Natural Foods which made flavored olive oils and mustards.

In 1999, he and his company invested $2 million in Annie’s. As part of the deal an agreement was made that would buy out Withey and Martin’s share in the company; Annie’s became a private company again. The firm started to distribute its products to chains such as Costco, Kroger and Safeway.

The company’s philosophy of natural and organic food also caught the attention of Solera Capital which became the majority investor in the company in 2002 with a $23 million investment. They also added the company of Foraker in the business and Annie’s headquarters was transferred from Boston to Berkeley, California.

Another Annie by the name of Annie Christopher of North Calais, Vermont was also into organics, she founded Annie’s Natural. This company was bought out by Annie’s Homegrown in 2005. Annie’s today is a maker of natural and organic pastas, meals and snacks.

In 2011 Annie’s filed with the SEC to raised $100 million in an initial public offering. The company’s shares trade in the New York Stock Exchange.

Annie’s announced in January 2012, the introduction of a certified organic rising crust frozen pizza line.

As for Annie Withey she lives in her certified organic farm in Connecticut with her husband and two daughters.


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