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February 15, 2022

Hiram granola maker rebrands, gets a single owner

Aaron Anker holding two bags of products showing new company name Courtesy / Grandy Organics Aaron Anker is the longtime CEO and new sole owner of Grandy Organics, previously known as GrandyOats.

GrandyOats has changed its name to Grandy Organics and now has a single owner in CEO Aaron Anker, the Hiram-based granola producer announced on Wednesday.

The ownership change took effect Feb. 11. Anker, who has led and owned the company with Chief Operations Officer Nat Peirce since 2000, said the change comes after months of conversations, but did not disclose details about it.

"Like in any partnership, you're not always going to be on the same timeline," Anker told Mainebiz by phone on Tuesday. "It was one of those things where we've had a really successful partnership for 20-plus years, and he's been doing it a few years longer than me, and it seems like the right time for him."

Looking ahead, Anker said, "I feel like the business has got more energy to put into it, and the brand has so much potential, we're in such a strong place ... I feel like, 'Why not lean into that?'"

Though Anker looks forward to learning more about operations, he said that Peirce would stay on for a little while to help with the transition. Both were honored on the Mainebiz Next List in 2015 for their contributions to Maine's economy.

The newly christened Grandy Organics employs 32 people, many of whom have been with the company for more than a decade, producing roughly 2 million pounds of roasted nuts, trail mix and granola annually from a solar-powered, renovated schoolhouse.

The company worked on the rebranding with Portland-based digital agency Space Pilot after seeing a jump in online business since the start of the pandemic. Online sales went from 5% to 10% of the company's business to 30%.

Besides changing its name, the granola maker in November began rolling out new compostable packaging that Anker said no one noticed. He said the company is testing the feasibility of the packaging across all retailers and has to ensure it holds up through nationwide distribution and will keep well on shelves.

"The packaging is pretty amazing and adds another dimension of sustainability that our customers and our employees can feel good about," he said. "It can literally be composted in your backyard or commercially."

Wednesday's announcement comes as Anker prepares to head to Anaheim, Calif., for next month's Natural Product Expo West, the nation's largest natural food show. The event will take place at the Anaheim Convention Center from March 8-12.

Anker said he's looking forward to attending his first trade show in person in a while, recalling the last time he flew out in March 2020 for a show that ended up being cancelled.

"It's going to be a really good one" this year, he said. "People are eager to get back to seeing each other." 

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