BrightFarms forms new commercial team
BrightFarms, a leading provider of locally grown packaged salads, operates six commercial, indoor farms across the East Coast and Midwest. The company recently promoted Abby Prior to chief commercial officer and formed a new commercial team.
Previously, Prior served as senior vice president of sales and marketing, and has spent more than six years with BrightFarms across business development, sales and marketing roles. She introduced the greenhouse-grown model to some of BrightFarms’ earliest retail partners, who remain some of the company’s most committed customers.
In her new role, Prior will spearhead the new team and focus on retail and distribution growth, customer service and consumer education.
“Sales and marketing are so closely aligned that we made the decision to bring them together into a commercial team that is focused on marketing the brand for our customers and all the way through to consumers,” she said.
Additionally, BrightFarms has promoted Matt DiNitto to vice president of sales operations and regional accounts; and Suzy Dollak to vice president of sales strategy and national accounts. Dollak is charged with looking at where indoor farming and indoor salads are going to be going over the next five years.
“We want to make sure that we are best-in-class in our service to customers,” Prior said. “That our fill rate is above expectation, our communication and partnerships with customers is as good as it can be and best in the industry.”
Altogether, the team consists of 16 sales and marketing professionals and is expected to grow in the coming year.
“As we work to expand our footprint across the country and grow our presence in current markets, there is no better person to lead us there than Abby,” said Steve Platt, BrightFarms’ CEO. “She will play a pivotal role in accelerating growth with our valued partners, going above and beyond to ensure their needs are met at every point of the process, from greenhouse to store shelf, and into people’s refrigerators.”
This new structure will allow BrightFarms to grow rapidly over the next five years, expanding growing capacity tenfold to reach two-thirds of the U.S. population by 2025.
BrightFarms operates hydroponic greenhouse farms in the communities it serves, enabling it to limit time, distance, and costs from the food supply chain. BrightFarms leads the indoor farming industry in retail availability, recently reaching the 4,000-store mark with the addition of lēf Farms’ Northeast customer portfolio.
The New Hampshire-based greenhouse was acquired in June 2021, with BrightFarms entering Whole Foods, Hannaford and Shaws for the first time. A two-acre expansion is currently underway, with plans to turn the facility into a 14-acre hub for the New England region.
With Cox Enterprises onboard after its August acquisition of BrightFarms, the company is poised to continue its expansion across the U.S., going from 16 acres to 180 acres under greenhouse glass in the next five years alone.
The company opened up a bunch of new capacity in 2021, with the opening of a farm in North Carolina and the acquisition of lēf Farms’ in New England.
“We were fortunate to bring on a lot more capacity in 2021,” Prior said. “In 2022, it’s going to be largely about building. The next generation of farms we are looking at are going to be around 10-times the size of our current farms. We’re going to build our capacity for a true transition from field into indoor with farms that are large enough to single-source the category up and down the East Coast and into the Midwest.”