"Frontier began as a two-person operation in 1976 in a cabin along the Cedar River in Eastern Iowa. We have grown steadily since then to become a major supplier in the booming natural products industry. This outstanding performance throughout the years reflects our close harmony with both industry trends and the values of natural products consumers.
Frontier has demonstrated an aptitude for associating itself with trends that fuel success. The business was originally structured as a cooperative that supplied herbs and spices to its members, all of whom were cooperatives engaged in retailing natural foods or cooperative buying clubs. Being a co-op itself helped propel Frontier into national distribution in rapidly expanding natural foods "co-op movement."
Frontier also embraced many of the positive ideals underlying the popularity of co-ops. The early management envisioned a workplace where employees would enjoy their work, families would come first, the quality of products would be unsurpassed, organics would play a key role in the business and social responsibility would be inseparable from their actions. These values have been sustained—and have contributed significantly to Frontier’s success—throughout its entire history.
Initially Frontier acted as a wholesaler, repackaging several hundred varieties of herbs and spices into smaller one- and two-pound bags. Customers then resold these products in bulk to their retail customers, typically at a substantial discount to equivalent consumer-packaged products available in traditional supermarkets. In an effort to meet as many customer requests as possible, Frontier expanded its selection to include many uncommon herbs and spices, building both its supplier contacts and its reputation as a comprehensive source of botanical products.
In 1978 Frontier bought and converted a grocery store building in Fairfax, Iowa, into a 5,200 square foot operations facility."
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