Shroom to Grow

The secret to keeping gourmet food fresh isn't Ziploc.
Magazine Contributor
2 min read

This story appears in the May 2002 issue of Entrepreneurs Start-Ups magazine. Subscribe »

How do you keep a brand relevant for 25 years? Gourmet Mushrooms Inc.'s secret is evolving while still staying true to its original vision.

Before

Co-founders Malcolm Clark and David Law drew on their strong scientific backgrounds to unearth their positioning as "the pioneers in exotic mushroom cultivation." In 1977, they targeted the culinary and nutritional supplement markets with the nation's first commercial shiitake mushroom farm. Within 8 years, sales, er, mushroomed to $1 million.

During

By 1981, shiitake mushrooms were ubiquitous; major corporations had entered the market, the floodgates from overseas importers were open, and even Midwestern farmers had converted to shiitake farming. Because Gourmet had never stopped its quest for exotic mushrooms, Clark and Law were able to extend their brand by successfully cultivating the Pom Pom and later introducing a special variety from Bali that they named Baby Blue Oyster. Today the company offers 29 different varieties of mushrooms, with less than 5 percent of sales coming from the shiitake variety.

After

By year-end, the firm will have multimillion-dollar sales and a 43,000-square-foot facility. Despite the company's success, it's still got one branding problem: its name. "Gourmet Mushrooms" doesn't make inroads into the minds of restaurant-goers and chefs. While brands such as Starbucks coffee and Laura Chanel's chevre cheese routinely earn a place on upscale menus, this brand can't. This year, the firm is contemplating a more distinct, yet consumer-friendly, name. Gourmet Mushrooms refuses to stick its head in the sand.


Elizabeth J. Goodgold is CEO/chief nuancer of The Nuancing Group, a brand consulting firm in San Diego, and author of the monthly newsletter Duh! Marketing.

Contact Source

More from Entrepreneur

Kim's expertise can help you become a strong leader, pitch VCs for capital, and develop a growth strategy.
Book Your Session

In as little as seven months, the Entrepreneur Authors program will turn your ideas and expertise into a professionally presented book.
Apply Now

Are paying too much for business insurance? Do you have critical gaps in your coverage? Trust Entrepreneur to help you find out.
Get Your Quote Now

Latest on Entrepreneur

My Queue

There are no Videos in your queue.

Click on the Add to next to any video to save to your queue.

There are no Articles in your queue.

Click on the Add to next to any article to save to your queue.

There are no Podcasts in your queue.

Click on the Add to next to any podcast episode to save to your queue.

You're not following any authors.

Click the Follow button on any author page to keep up with the latest content from your favorite authors.