Case Studies Region: West

Protected: Leslie Surber – Latitude 36 Foods

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Darden Coors – MAD Greens

Going out to eat with children can be challenging, especially if they’re picky eaters. Darden Coors had been seeing this at MAD Greens, the fast casual restaurant chain where she’s CEO, and wanted to offer more than salads. Now, with macaroni and cheese on the menu, she’s hoping the restaurant will appeal to a wider […]

Luis Castaneda – Café Vida

Growing up, Luis Castaneda remembers his family hosting large gatherings where his mom would cook for 80 to 100 guests. He’d be in the kitchen as she moved between the stove, the counter, the sink and the fridge, mesmerized by how his mother managed to do so much at once. Later, he’d join the guests […]

Richard Wardwell – Superior Grocers

On March 19, 2020, Superior Grocers President Richard Wardwell was driving across town to visit a store in Santa Ana, California when he heard the news that Gov. Gavin Newsom was issuing a stay-at-home order due to rising cases of COVID-19. With the mandate going into effect within 72 hours, there was plenty to do […]

Jim Floyd – Hammer & Wikan

Jim Floyd isn’t descended from the Norwegian founders of Hammer & Wikan, the unique grocer and commercial retailer in tiny Petersburg, Alaska. Nevertheless, today’s owners seemed to recognize at least a spiritual connection when hiring Floyd as general manager and chief executive officer in November 2019. “When they said, ‘welcome to the family’ it sounded […]

Nancy Coupal – Coupa Café

Under other circumstances, Nancy Coupal might still be in Venezuela. Though born in Berkeley, California, the South American country was her home for 30 years, she having moved there during the late 1970s with her husband, Jean Paul Coupal, after they graduated UCLA, she with a bachelor’s in psychology and a master’s in public health. […]

Maral Barsoumian – Amoretti

When Jack and Maral Barsoumian walk through a grocery store, they’re always delighted to see their products on the shelves. Regardless of what aisle they’re in—condiments and sauces, baking, beverages—they’re bound to see something they made. As the creators of extracts   , concentrates, purees, syrups, fruit pastes, compounds and more, the family team sell their […]

Tyler Rodrigue – Noble Vineyard Management Inc.

Tyler Rodrigue and David Downey know their grapes. As a third- generation farmers, they’ve picked the vines in the September sunshine in Northern California. After almost a decade away from the family business, Rodrigue returned in 2012 to help manage its organic vineyard. Downey has long worked in his own family’s vineyards, as well as […]

Brent Willis – NewAge, Inc.

From its product lines to its distribution model, NewAge is a company aptly named for its mission to encourage people to “Live Healthy.” Since 2016, CEO Brent Willis has been building brands for his direct-to-consumer, organic and healthy products company across three platforms: health and wellness, healthy appearance and nutritional performance. To get these products […]

Bruce and Abbie Leeson – The Ginger People

In the early 1980s, Bruce Leeson worked for an Australian multi-national company that grew macadamias in Australia and Hawaii. In 1982, however, he left the Australian farmlands for the Hawaiian coast, where he helped develop the U.S. market for the nuts indigenous to his native land. To advertise and sell macadamias, he’d occasionally fly to […]

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