Aha Pure Foods Expands its Greater Gainesville Location to Waldo; Food Manufacturer takes Advantage of Regional Facility Space
Cityof Waldo— aha Pure Foods (or just “aha’), food manufacturer of vegan, non gmo, plant-based soup was founded in 2015 in Gainesville, Florida and incubated at UF Innovate | The Hub. Since their formation, their product has been stocked in major grocery chains such as Lucky’s and Ward’s. aha was the recipient of the 2018 Cox Business: Get Started Gainesville Pitch Competition. Their most recent announcement is an expansion in the Greater Gainesville region at Waldo City Square. There, they will continue to manufacture their product and grow their base. This expansion has taken their footprint from 800 square feet to 3000 square feet.
“The City of Waldo provided a collaborative location and great access to infrastructure we needed to produce our product quickly and at top quality” says Chef Alfie Crescentini, a 40-year culinary industry veteran as well as the Director of Culinary Research and co-founder of aha Pure Foods. He added, “the renovated school already had a commercial kitchen in place, making it was the perfect location for our work. When the FDA rep came to evaluate our site, shesaid ‘this is exactly what you needed’, and we couldn’t agree more.”
“Having aha in the Waldo City Square collaboratory is a great sign of growth for both the city and the region at large. Waldo’s space—formerly Waldo Community School—is great for nurturing companies looking to expand, and aha Pure Foods has been exemplary in showcasing what our area can provide. We hope to see more manufacturers and offices open in our City Square” shared Waldo City Manager Kim Worley.
The startup currently runs a robust internship program, usually staffed by students at the University of Florida. They receive about 26 applications a semester but only take on about 5 or 6 per semester. The interns leave the program with experience operating a real business through market research, running e-commerce, marketing, and advertising.
They plan to add up to 10 jobs to keep up with demand. The Greater Gainesville Chamber met with one of their team members when they were in development of their first soup products several years ago. “We were excited to introduce them to regional partners, help them to secure additional interns and track their progress. We are so proud to have aha Pure Foods expand as a food manufacturer in Greater Gainesville” shares VP of Economic Development at the Greater Gainesville Chamber, Staci Bertrand.
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