“Berkeley has long been the home of the natural and organic food movement,” said Aimee Sands, marketing director for Annie’s. “It’s also close to a lot of good options for employees and it gives us access to a better talent pool.”
The company has 60 of its 70 employees at its Napa offices, and “hopes” that all will make the move to the new Berkeley location. “We’re putting a lot of effort into making it the right working environment for us,” Sands said. The company is planning to get LEED certification for the building and is transforming part of the parking lot into a green space with organic beds.
Annie’s has been in Napa since 2004, but it was founded in Connecticut in 1989 by Annie Withey, who continues to run an organic farm there. Withey also continues to be “very much involved” in new product development, according to Sands.
The 34,000 sq. ft. the company will lease on Fifth Street also provides room for expansion, Sands said. Another foodmaker, GU Energy Labs, will lease another part of the building — 26,000 sq. ft. at 1609 Fourth Street. GU Energy Labs, which makes performance sports nutrition products, is moving from 1204 Tenth Street, where their 50 employees are crammed into 13,000 sq. ft.
Interested in issues surrounding doing business in Berkeley? Be sure to attend Berkeleyside’s first Local Business Forum on Monday January 24, 7-9pm at the Freight & Salvage. Doors open at 6.30 and it’s free.