Tanimura & Antle's Scott Grabau Shares Details of Green City Growers Acquisition
SALINAS, CA - Tanimura & Antle’s recent acquisition of Green City Growers serves as a reminder that the company continues to put innovation at the forefront. In order to dial into the decision-making process behind this deal, I spoke with Scott Grabau, President and CEO.
“We’ve always tried to stay a few steps ahead in innovation, whether that was on the mechanical side, in launching new products, or learning how to address the market,” Scott began. “When we began our hydroponic business 13 years ago, we saw that as a next consumer interest, so we jumped in at a really key stage.”
This investment in greenhouse production became a deeper dive in addressing the needs of the market before they arose, a business tactic that continues to drive Tanimura & Antle’s growth. But there’s another aspect to the grower’s investment strategies that aligns with its match with Green City Growers—one I think truly sets Tanimura & Antle apart.
“There’s this sensory side to people’s love of organics. The nostalgia of the farmers market and the co-op is what resonates with shoppers when they think of organics. In addition to the lack of pesticides and the sustainability aspect of taking care of the soil, organics is about engagement,” Scott noted. “Our interest in Green City Growers stems from that initial interest in our greenhouse business, of how to develop products locally and closer to consumers’ backyards. Taking that one step further, we were looking for the opportunity to get more engaged and involved at the consumer level.”
Naturally, the next stage involves more greenhouses and additional acreage. But it also includes a vision that promotes consumers’ own desires to connect to the foods they’re eating.
Here’s where the acquisition of Green City Growers takes root.
“Chris [Grallert, President,] is someone we’ve been working with for 20 years. He’s a really innovative guy, well-rehearsed in the produce industry and transitioning his experience into this hyper-local marketplace,” Scott remarked before explaining that addressing this interest—from Tanimura & Antle’s standpoint—will go beyond contributions to school salad bars or local charities. “We want to truly educate consumers on how to get involved.”
This positioning of Tanimura & Antle as a thought leader within the health and wellness movement is an important one, as Scott and I comment on how this move ultimately affects the industry as a whole.
“I think that it’s great for the industry because it’s going to have a lasting effect on people’s interest in their food and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. There’s going to be a lot of opportunities for customers and industry organizations to participate,” he noted.
Participation is key. As Scott reminded me, a child growing kale is far more likely to eat it than a child who’s just had it placed in front of them.
But it’s not just the participation factor—it’s the sense of community as well. The lines of businesses that Tanimura & Antle will be involved in through its partnership with Green City Growers will be Boys and Girls Clubs, retirement centers, and elementary schools, to name a few.
“If people see that the products they’re buying at a big-box reflect the products being grown in their community, it makes the shopper see the retailer as a part of that community,” Scott expressed. “Right now, our partnership with Green City Growers—and we’re only a few weeks into this—is to enable people to get involved. We support people becoming self-sufficient.”
Concentrating on putting people first and the business second—the Tanimura & Antle way.
I for one am excited to see how this partnership continues to expand, and AndNowUKnow will be here to report when it does.