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Posted: May 01, 2009

State of the state: Organic produce comes a knocking

Snapshots of issues affecting Colorado business

Mike Taylor

Door to Door Organics goes to considerable lengths to deliver on the promise of the company’s name. The Louisville operation delivers boxes of organic fruits, vegetables and select groceries to customers’ doorsteps as far west as Gypsum on the Western Slope and from Fort Collins to Colorado Springs along the Front Range.

Box prices range from $22 to $56. A typical box contains five different types of organic vegetables and four different organic fruits depending on what’s in season, and customers can tailor their orders by substituting different fruits and vegetables. Deliveries are free on the Front Range and $5 for single-order deliveries to the Western Slope.

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Owner David Gersenson

Owner David Gersenson came to Colorado in 2004 after establishing the first Door to Door Organics operation in Upper Bucks County, Pa., about an hour north of Philadelphia, with his father and a family friend in 1997. After running the business himself for three years, Gersenson left the Pennsylvania operation for his cousin to run. He headed west with two aims.

“One, I was really excited to start my business in a new location and see what I could take from what I learned,” says Gersenson, 33. “And on a personal level I was looking to move on and hopefully meet a wife and get married.” Gersenson succeeded on both counts – expanding both his business and his immediate family. July will mark his three-year wedding anniversary, and the couple had their first child in 2007.  That year, Door to Door Organics added a hub in Michigan where his mother-in-law runs the operations, and in late March the company merged with Clark‘s Organic Market in Kansas City to provide door to door organic produce in a fourth state.

Despite the recession, Gersenson expects Door to Door Organics’ sales in Colorado to increase 5 percent to 10 percent this year following robust growth of 17 percent in 2008.

While Door to Door Organics offers an all-local box during the Colorado growing season, the company uses farms in California and Arizona to supply organic produce such as oranges, mangos and strawberries.

“That’s where we differ from a CSA (community-supported agriculture),” Gersenson says. “We support local as much as possible. But our customers still want those other items.” In another departure from the typical CSA, Door to Door Organics delivers select meats and groceries.

“We’ve got a line of about 50 grocery items right now that we’re looking to expand,” Gersenson says. “We do fish and buffalo and coffee as well.”

 The company currently works with four or five Colorado organic farmers. Undeterred by the recession, Gersenson says he’s looking to expand more into the Midwest this year.

“We’ve definitely felt some of the effects of the depression/recession, whatever you want to call it,” Gersenson says. “But we’re getting through it. We’re expanding.”

For more information, visit www.doortodoororganics.com

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Mike Taylor is the managing editor of ColoradoBiz. He writes about small-business money issues and how startups are launched. Email him at mtaylor@cobizmag.com.

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