Orange juice may be a breakfast staple, but if Brad Oberwager has a say in the matter, it won't be for long. In 2004, he launched Sundia, a juice company he describes as a "branding company first." Indeed, he's leaving the watermelon production to the nation's estimated 1,070 watermelon growers and offering them discounts on the stickers retailers require on produce. It's a way to make a name for Sundia and drive sales of the company's line of watermelon-based juices, which can already be found in 3,000 retail locations nationwide.
In the early days of his startup, Oberwager, 36, found his niche while painstakingly researching the market: "I realized there was an opportunity to brand watermelon--and that no one had done it before."
Until Sundia, that is. And sales in 2006 are expected to reach a sweet $2.2 million--not surprising, now that 1 in 3 watermelons sold in the U.S. carries the Sundia brand label.