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A Personal Note from the Founders of New Chapter    
Monday, March 19 2012 @ 01:01 PM GMT+4
Contributed by: Carolyn

BusinessYou've all heard the news – P&G has purchased New Chapter. That's the story, but our personal story is so much more. We felt moved to address our local community in a more direct way. We appreciate that you may not agree with it, and that indeed, you may be skeptical about it, but we would like you to better understand what brought us to this announcement. Unfortunately Paul's statement in the Reformer that this was" a dream come true" was misconstrued to imply that we were seeking a sale from the beginning. That was not the case. Paul's statement was a reference to the dream of mainstream acceptance of herbal therapeutics and to the platform P&G provides for bringing our products to people all over the world.

New Chapter is our child in many ways. We started in the 70's with a health food store and a healing mission. We recognized the healing power of herbs and whole food supplementation at a time when they were yet to be discovered by most, even within our own industry. We wanted to share our enthusiasm for herbal healing with the world. With that vision, and our success, we grew our company from one that started in our home, moved to Main Street and High Street, and then to our current headquarters on Technology Drive.

That growth happened because of a passionate drive our mission instilled in us and our incredibly talented workforce, along with the beneficial results that come from products formulated to deliver the wisdom of nature. And, it also happened because we were able to raise capital along the way.

From the start we have had investors, first family and friends, then dedicated business partners and inspired individuals who believed in us, as well as financial firms. Those investors provided the money we needed to support continued growth and innovation in an increasingly competitive marketplace.

Although we as founders are most identified with New Chapter, the company is owned by about 125 shareholders, with no one of them, including us, holding a majority of the shares. Over the past year, our company again sought growth capital. In that process we found that a number of firms were interested in a potential acquisition. Our board, whose primary responsibility is to the economic interests of the shareholders, established a process to review all possible transactions. New Chapter is a Delaware corporation and this was their duty under the law.

The company received more interest than ever expected from both corporations and private equity firms. As different firms looked at New Chapter, we both felt a lot of trepidation. Some would have "integrated" us into their existing operations, meaning loss of jobs, some would have bought us and then after a period of time, resold us. Enter Procter & Gamble, the offer recommended by our Board of Directors to our shareholders. Like many of you, at first this was hard to imagine but through many conversations about how they would manage our business, we reached the conclusion that their desire to "do no harm" to New Chapter is real. They recognized our expertise in this category, which is now one of the fastest growing in the health care sector. They want to keep what we have. What we have is successful. Altering New Chapter would not be in their economic interest.

This transaction is much like that of Stonyfield Yogurt some years ago. Like Stonyfield within the Danone Corporation, New Chapter remains a stand-alone. New Chapter continues to be headquartered in Brattleboro, adhering to its product mission, formulation philosophy and workplace practices. Both of us will remain actively and enthusiastically involved. We consider this opportunity with Procter & Gamble an extraordinary one; we have been offered the chance to deliver our healing mission to countless more people who will benefit from our products and to maintain the integrity of who we are as a company. We simply couldn't ask for more.

We hope you will not jump to conclusions and will instead give this venture the time it needs to prove itself. We have a high degree of confidence and we, and our diligent staff, will be vigilant to assure New Chapter remains faithful to its founding principles.

Paul and Barbi Schulick

 

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  • A Personal Note from the Founders of New Chapter | 10 comments | Create New Account
    The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they may say.
    A Personal Note from the Founders of New Chapter
    Authored by: Carolyn on Monday, March 19 2012 @ 02:06 PM GMT+4
    I just wanted to clarify that Paul and Barbi asked me to
    post this on their behalf, since they don't have a
    username. These are their words.
    A Personal Note from the Founders of New Chapter
    Authored by: cgrotke on Monday, March 19 2012 @ 02:58 PM GMT+4
    Happy to set anyone up anytime... : )

    Thanks for doing this for them, though. And interesting to
    learn New Chapter is a Delaware corporation. Didn't know
    that.
    A Personal Note from the Founders of New Chapter
    Authored by: Betsyu on Monday, March 19 2012 @ 06:07 PM GMT+4
    Thanks, Carolyn.
    When will the financial details of the sale be released?
    A Personal Note from the Founders of New Chapter
    Authored by: tiny on Monday, March 19 2012 @ 07:07 PM GMT+4
    New Chapter is a private company and it is not mandatory for
    them to release any figures to the public.
    I think they have been very generous as to what they have
    published to date. Good luck to all at New Chapter.
    A private company
    Authored by: Maus Anon E on Monday, March 19 2012 @ 09:35 PM GMT+4
    It was, anyway. Now it's part of a large publicly traded multinational
    corporation. Perhaps they're required to disclose the purchase price, if
    someone were to ask?

    ---
    "Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness." - Mark Twain
    A private company
    Authored by: tiny on Tuesday, March 20 2012 @ 12:48 AM GMT+4
    I guess if a shareholder asked, but perhaps not someone
    from iBratt!
    Seriously, it might be buried in P&G's 10K or annual report,
    but why the necessity to disclose it, I don't see the
    relevance.
    A private company
    Authored by: Maus Anon E on Tuesday, March 20 2012 @ 01:55 AM GMT+4
    It seems quite relevant, at least to the question that was asked. It
    sounds like the financial details could be released as soon as the next
    quarterly SEC filing.

    ---
    "Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness." - Mark Twain
    A Personal Note from the Founders of New Chapter
    Authored by: P on Monday, March 19 2012 @ 02:26 PM GMT+4

    Thank you for posting this. I am a fan of New Chapter - of its products, founders, philosophy, and its contribution to the local economy - so I was upset to learn of the "buyout." Your explanation makes me feel better about it.
    A Personal Note from the Founders of New Chapter
    Authored by: HowardP on Monday, March 19 2012 @ 03:26 PM GMT+4
    Good Reply from really good people! I knew Paul was
    misunderstood from his quote. Paul has always had the
    health interests of people way above financial interests. Do
    what you love and the money will follow. Paul and Barbie has
    shown that that works! Congratulations to them...
    A Personal Note from the Founders of New Chapter
    Authored by: mswales on Tuesday, March 20 2012 @ 10:50 PM GMT+4
    Prediction: in a few years the Schulicks will take their millions and move on—as Ben Cohen & Jerry Greenfield did, as Gary Hirshberg did—and express regret and shock (shock!) that they were unable to affect change in the massive corporate culture (P&G's sales are almost $2 billion PER WEEK) that has so generously paid for their retirements. Just as Bear Naked is now Kellogs; Cascadian Farm is now General Mills; Odwalla is now Coca-Cola; The Organic Cow of Vermont is now Dean Foods; Tom's of Maine is Colgate-Palmolive, the bottom line and quarterly profit reports will be what's important to the accountants poised to run New Chapter. New Chapter now joins the ranks of such healthy and holistic brands as Pepto-Bismol, Febreze, Metamucil, Mr. Clean, Pringles, Swiffer, Bounty, Pampers, CoverGirl, Nioxin, Head & Shoulders, Dunhill, Crest, Gucci Fragrances, Prilosec, Oral-B, and Downy Fabric Softener. Yes, multinational capitalism is alive and well in Brattleboro. But P&G will eventually pack New Chapter's relatively miniscule bags and move it to a more profitable, corporate-friendly state. Ohio perhaps.