Our History

Frontier Co-op began as a two-person operation in 1976 in a river cabin in Eastern Iowa. Since then we‘ve grown steadily to become a major supplier to the natural products industry. Our success throughout the years reflects our close harmony with the product needs and the values of our members and consumers.

Body

Each year, Frontier Co-op gives back 4% of its pre-tax profits to causes and organizations around the world that inspire wellness in communities where our products are produced.

 

1970-79

1970-79

  • Begin selling herbs and spices to local co-ops as a two-person operation in a small riverside cabin.
  • Add first organic products to line and lead in promoting the environmental and social benefits of organics.
  • Buy 5,200 sq. ft. grocery store in Fairfax, Iowa, and move operations there.
  • Begin bottling Frontier Co-op essential oils in response to store requests.
  • Begin selling other manufacturer's products in response to store requests.
  • Incorporate as cooperative owned by customers.

1980-89

1980-89

  • Return first patronage refund to Frontier Co-op member/owners.
  • Elect Frontier Co-op's first Board of Directors.
  • Purchase 10 acres near Norway, Iowa, and build 22,152 sq. ft. facility.
  • Listed 78th on Inc. magazine's list of "America's Fastest Growing Companies."
  • Establish subsidized on-site childcare and cafeteria.
  • First in the natural products industry to use a natural CO2 fumigation process.

1990-99

1990-99

  • Launch line of Frontier Co-op brand bottled spices.
  • Establish tallgrass prairie on Norway site.
  • Introduce cryogenic grinding to preserve product quality in processing.
  • Host the first of 13 HerbFest conferences, the country's largest annual conference on herbs and sustainable living.
  • Buy Aura Cacia aromatherapy brand.
  • Implement an in-house Gas Chromatography testing program to ensure essential oil quality.

2000-09

2000-09

2010-14

2010-14

  • Implement steam sterilization to naturally eliminate pathogens while maintaining product flavor and aroma.
  • Purchase and renovate 100,000 sq. ft. facility in North Liberty.
  • Aura Cacia builds a preschool in Madagascar for supplier community children.
  • With Simply Organic Giving Fund, the Well Earth program builds 49 new wells in the communities supplying our vanilla.
  • Provide 300 dormitory-style bunk beds and school subsidize so Vietnamese children can attend school.
  • Launch first Non-GMO Project Verified products, including the first Non-GMO Verified vanillas available.
  • Simply Organic Giving Fund reaches $1 million in donations supporting organics.

 

2015-19

2015-19

  • Purchase and renovate warehouse facility in Belle Plaine, Iowa.
  • Help our Well Earth co-op supplier Fedecovera expand their dental services into a new clinic.