RICHMOND, Va., Nov. 16 /PRNewswire/ -- Bill Hargis never gave up as he battled corporate investors as they took over and bankrupted his drink company in 2005. What the experience taught him about greed and ethics "isn't the kind of thing you learn in MBA school," he says. Hargis rebounded and put that education to good use, pulling together an experienced management team this year to create 4U2U Brands, makers of "Fruit 66," a healthy juice drink for school-aged children.
As co-founder and CEO of The Switch Beverage Company, Hargis grew that brand into a multi-million-dollar international business by 2005, when the company caught the attention of acquisition-hungry investors.
"I couldn't believe what an investment group was willing to do to our shareholders and creditors to take over and bankrupt the company," Hargis says. "It was hard to watch, but a great education in preparation for how to grow Fruit 66 both profitably and ethically." (The saga of The Switch Beverage Company is the March 2006 cover story of Inc. Magazine at http://www.inc.com/magazine/20060301/confessions.html.)
Hargis recently debuted Fruit 66 for a market that he was instrumental in developing -- schools. "Having a child in middle school, we often see the results of improper choices in diet," he says. "Other juice drinks are too highly caloric and lack the nutrients kids need."
Fruit 66 is an all-natural carbonated juice that contains only 80 calories, 100% of the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) of Vitamin C, 10% of the RDA of Iron, and 10% of the RDA of Calcium. The drink was developed with the help of school food service directors and nutritionists throughout the country. It is currently distributed to schools in California and becoming available across the US, sold in 8-oz "squat" cans. "We didn't want to use the 'energy drink' can because our research showed it sets a bad precedent for kids," says Hargis.
The company donates a portion of their proceeds to the School Nutrition Association to help fund scholarships and school nutrition research.
Hargis has started companies in various industries, including co-founding The Switch Beverage Company in 2000 with Mike Gilbert (who left the company in 2002). He is the co-founder of Virginia-based 4U2U Brands and creator of the "Fruit 66" line of healthy products (http://www.fruit-66.com).
|SOURCE Fruit 66|
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