After a quarter century of growth, Natalie’s Orchid Island Juice Company is poised for the future with an expanded leadership team, product line and their newest certification as a Women’s Business Enterprise by the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council.
The Treasure Coast Juice Company was founded in 1989 by Marygrace and Bobby Sexton, a Vero Beach native and fourth-generation citrus grower. Their goal was to squeeze the world’s finest citrus to make the freshest Florida juice available.
The company began squeezing orange and grapefruit juice in a small 3,000-square-foot building in Vero Beach, Fla., with just three employees. Marygrace landed her first sale to Carnival Fruit Company in Miami, Fla., on Thanksgiving Day, 1989.
As the company grew, the time soon came to move to a larger facility in Fort Pierce, Fla., including 107,000 square feet of production and cold storage space. Today, Natalie’s employs over 85 personnel, and produces 11 different kinds of juice that are shipped to over 30 states and 24 countries around the world. The company’s expanded product line includes Honey Tangerine, Natural Lemonade, Strawberry Lemonade, Orange Mango, Orange Pineapple, Lemon Juice, Lime Juice, Margarita Mix, Sweet and Sour Bar Mix and a line of frozen juices. New product lines are on the horizon as the company plans for the future.
Expanding to markets in Japan and South Korea has been key to Natalie’s international growth. The introduction of frozen product lines was vital to this success. “When you come across the best tasting real orange juice while you are staying in Japan, there is a good chance that it is from us, through Natalie’s,” said Takaaki Abe, president of Marugen USA and Citrus Elite of Florida, which distributes Natalie’s to Japan. “We’ve been enjoying the best quality all-Florida orange juice at a very steady manner with Natalie’s Orchid Island Juice Company.”
“Our customers in Korea now see Natalie’s at department stores, high-end markets, hypermarkets, wholesale businesses and online,’’ said Jay Lee of AIO International, which distributes Natalie’s in Korea. “Natalie’s is becoming the name of the freshest juice in Korea.’’ Natalie’s continues to seek out new opportunities internationally, with the focus on expanding business in the European and Asian markets. The company is currently working with the United Kingdom, China, Malaysia and Thailand to bring Natalie’s squeezed fresh Florida juices to more countries abroad.
Despite Natalie’s tremendous growth, one thing hasn’t changed – the juice is still squeezed to order every day to ensure freshness. This dedication to quality has resulted in 10 different awards for Best Tasting Florida Juices by national media such as NBC’s Today Show, Good Housekeeping, Cook’s Illustrated, Woman’s Day and bon appétit magazines.
As the local, international juice company enters its next quarter century, it remains under Sexton family ownership, and looks forward to moving into the future as a Women Owned Business. “Our company is now 25 years old. As we continue to grow we maintain the same philosophy we started with – making a difference by providing the most excellent, squeezed fresh Florida citrus juices and respecting others with our impeccable customer service,” said Marygrace Sexton, owner/CEO.
The company welcomes the second generation of juicing experts as Natalie Sexton, the company’s namesake and current Director of Marketing, and Lucy Sexton, a college student, both daughters of Marygrace, recently joined the family business to take more active roles in the direction and ownership of Natalie’s. “The honor to serve our customers while working hand in hand with the next generation of family is humbling,” said Marygrace.
Today, what once started as a mom and her baby in the groves is now an award-winning leader within the juice industry, providing America’s Best Tasting Florida Juices to families throughout the world.