Natural products distributor picks Boulder

BOULDER – KeHE Distributors LLC plans to open an office in Boulder this spring that will focus on sales and marketing for its Tree of Life natural and organic products division.

The Romeoville, Illinois-based grocery distributor will employ eight to 10 people and increase that to as many as 16 in Boulder in the future, said Rickard Werner, vice president of natural sales for the KeHE’s Tree of Life division. Werner was in Boulder Wednesday looking for an office site.

“There’s a tremendous amount of industry energy and talent and manufacturing based here,” Werner said. The company hopes to benefit from the Boulder community’s rich talent base and deep roots in the natural products industry, according to a press statement.

Brandon Barnholt, KeHE’s president and chief executive, said the creation of an office in Boulder is “the next logical step in our process of developing a world-class natural products industry team.”

The new office will house sales, account management, category management and event and publication resources, according to a press statement. Tree of Life has been a natural products division of KeHE Distributors since 2010.

KeHE representatives have talked to the city of Boulder’s economic vitality office about potential economic incentives available to the company, Werner said. For example, the city’s flexible rebate program pays money to employers who generate at least 50 percent of company revenue outside of Boulder and remain in the city for at least three years.

KeHE sells natural and organic products, specialty and gourmet products, international products and others to more than 35,000 retail outlets in North America.

The company was started in 1952 by Arthur Kehe in his basement. It reported $2 billion in revenue in 2012, according to Hoovers, a Dun & Bradstreet (NYSE: DNB) financial research company.

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