I’m James Lacey. Crunchies Natural Food Company was one of my greatest business successes. In January 2005, I not co- founded the company, but I created a new snack food category in the process. Crunchies is a company that produces a wide variety of freeze-dried fruit and vegetable snacks. Before the company existed, there was nothing quite like it in the snack food industry.
Crunchies began as a small office-based company. Under my leadership as President and Chief Executive Officer, our business team quickly grew the company into a major snack food player. Despite our humble origins and the economic recession in 2006-07, we were able to thrive, rapidly expanding our operations. Eventually, the company occupied a 17,000 square foot manufacturing and distribution facility in Westlake Village, California. By 2014, Nielson Research called our company the number one freeze-dried snack in the world as compared to six other competitors.
As my company grew, we continued to develop new flavors and new products. By 2015, we offered our customers over 32 unique snack food items. Crunchies distributed our products around the United States and into nine other countries across the globe. The products were featured in over 30,000 stores including CVS and Walmart. As the CEO, I was responsible for a wide range of operational tasks. Day to day management operations were a major part of what I did, but I was also instrumental in raising capital with investors, developing marketing strategies with our sales team, and training support staff. My background in sales and marketing gave me the tools I needed to grow the brand organically. Some of my biggest challenges came with coordinating trademarks and licensing agreements in the foreign countries where we distributed our products. Our grandest challenge, however, was raising capital during the recession and ensuring the company stands strong during the rough economic time. Sourcing vendors both locally and abroad, public relations, and contract negotiation were also parts of my typical workload.
In 2015, I was able to sell the company to a group of investors. The journey from small operation to snack food powerhouse taught me many things and left me ready to take on future challenges in the consumer packaged goods industry.