Then: We profiled Horst Rechelbacher, the mastermind behind hair- and cosmetic-products manufacturer Aveda Corp., in March 1993. This Minneapolis-based company, which Rechelbacher started in 1978 (first-year sales just under $1 million), developed products from natural plant and flower essences. With a staff of 335 churning out its 700-item product line, Aveda had landed shelf space in 25,000 salons and opened seven Aveda Esthetiques retail stores at the time.
Now: After selling Aveda to Estee Lauder for $300 million in 1997, Horst moved on to a new line of vitamins, foods, powders and supplemental pills--Intelligent Nutrients. Rechelbacher is now expanding the concept through distribution via his Web site and through health-bar stores called Wunderbars. With a pilot store open in Minneapolis and plans to integrate Wunderbars into spa, restaurant, grocery and retail environments, the "conceptual products experience centers" are Rechelbacher's latest approach in allowing consumers to "sample and experience nature's elements for wellness."
Moving In Together
Then: According to our January 1999 "Buzz" column, brothers Jay and Shep Wainright had one hot food concept in their hands. With the upscaling of consumer taste buds, the brothers' Cosi Sandwich Bars were ringing up sales of $13 million with their high-quality gourmet sandwiches complemented by olive oil-basted, freshly baked flat-breads. With 12 Manhattan locations and one in Boston, Cosi was turning all food lovers on to the concept of the posh sandwich.
Now: In September, Cosi Sandwich Bar agreed to merge with Xando Inc., parent company of Xando Coffee and Bar, an upbeat coffeehouse and full liquor bar. Now titled Xando Cosi Inc., this New York City-based conglomerate projects sales of more than $50 million for 2000. The merger of the two concepts creates a casual sandwich/coffee bar by day that morphs into an energetic restaurant/social hub by night. The 22 Xandos and 18 Cosis will undergo the transformation, while Chicago is targeted for their next expansion location.
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