PORTLAND, Maine – The California-based company that bought Fresh Samantha juice company has pulled the plug on the Fresh Samantha line.
Odwalla Inc. of Half Moon Bay, Calif., bought Saco-based Fresh Samantha three years ago for stock worth an estimated $27 million at the time.
Odwalla began phasing out the Fresh Samantha line about six weeks ago, and any Fresh Samantha bottles still left on store shelves should be gone within days, said Shawn Sugarman, Odwalla’s president. The company decided it would be easier to market one brand of juice, Odwalla, rather than both Odwalla and Fresh Samantha, he said.
Fresh Samantha was founded in 1992 in a Scarborough home when Julie Carter began growing sprouts in the basement to sell to local food co-ops.
Carter’s son-in-law, Doug Levin, joined the business and began making Fresh Samantha, named for Levin’s newborn daughter, in a blender one bottle at a time. A plant in Saco followed and by 1999 Fresh Samantha had annual sales of $25 million along the East Coast. Its juices carried fanciful names such as Desperately Seeking C, Mango Mama and The Big Bang-Body Zoom Juice.
Odwalla bought the company in 2000, and the Saco plant closed the following year. Coca-Cola then bought Odwalla in the fall of 2001.
Some of Fresh Samantha’s more popular flavors may be added to the Odwalla line, but Sugarman said there was some overlap, with both lines offering their own versions of orange juice-based, vitamin-C loaded drinks, for example.