What a year 2015 was! The madness, the moves, the launch of our new products...there was just so much that happened. And I have a feeling 2016 will be even busier and more amazing.
This time last year we were still distributing our products ourselves out of a warehouse in South San Francisco. I had just learned how to drive a forklift and was personally loading and unloading hundreds of pallets every month to keep up with our burgeoning orders. I managed a crew of up to 15 people getting all those orders ready and we hustled to get product out as part of our national expansion.
We were gearing up for Expo West (the largest natural products trade show in the US), where we unveiled our two newest products: Peanut Butter Cookie Mix and Oatmeal Cookie Mix. Those products have since launched into hundreds of Whole Foods Markets stores and independent grocers - and they're so popular we're adding new stores every day!
Also at this time we put the finishing touches on our new product formulations, making our recipes 100% plant-based and Non-GMO Project Verified. This was a huge business challenge for us: make our products plant-based but still taste like our original recipe, which had contained eggs. It was also a challenge because we needed to refine our supply chain to achieve Non-GMO Project verification, reflecting what we already knew was so important to us and our customers: transparent, healthy ingredients.
This time last year was also a big personal growth period as we decided to leave our warehouse (and my days of driving a forklift) to utilize a distribution and warehouse partner and relocate our day to day operations to Los Angeles. I spent August 2011 to March 2015 starting Cherryvale Farms and living in the Bay Area and it was finally time to go.
In April 2015, I handed over the keys to the warehouse, packed up my ever-reliable, product-hauling Prius, loaded in my husband and, of course, Walnut, and moved to LA. And it's been the best decision we've ever made!
Charging into 2016, I now lead the Cherryvale Farms team out of our office in Venice, CA (hence the many beach pictures I'm sure you've seen!) while my father (aka best business partner ever) Michael works from Cherryvale Farms HQ (the little farm that started it all!) in Santa Cruz, CA. Business is growing and we're adding new stores every day (now topping 1,400!).
Looking ahead to 2016 we have our sights set on national expansion with some key grocery chains (we won't jinx it by naming names), adding some exciting new products and sharing new recipes for making our mixes into family-friendly treats that you'll love to eat.
Cheers to an exciting, healthy and prosperous 2016!
P.S. Guess what? I finally took a vacation! Here I am on New Year's Eve in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. It was a blast!