Organic Avenue Names Martin Bates CEO

  Organic Avenue Names Martin BatesCEO

Former Pret A Manger Executive Brings Extensive Retail, Real Estate Experience

  Organic Avenue Strives for Leadership Position in Both $5 Billion Organic
           Juicing Industry and $75 Billion Natural Foods Industry

Business Wire

NEW YORK -- April 24, 2013

Organic Avenue, a leading provider of organic cold pressed juices, vegan food,
cleansing programs, healthy lifestyle education and community building events
announced today that it has named Martin Bates CEO. Bates joins from
London-based Pret A Manger, where he successfully transformed its U.S.
operation and scaled the business from a handful of stores in New York City
into a major presence with more than 50 stores in the healthy grab-and-go
market with additional locations in Boston, Chicago and Washington D.C. With
more than 20 years of experience, Bates will lead the management team at
Organic Avenue and will set the strategic direction of the company, including
future retail expansion and third-party distribution plans. He will begin his
role as CEO in late June. This news follows Weld North’s announcement in
January that it had acquired a control position in Organic Avenue. Weld North
is an investment company founded by former Kaplan, Inc. CEO Jonathan Grayer in
partnership with Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. (KKR).

As consumers become more health-conscious, many are seeking to add organic
foods and juices to their daily routines. The organic lifestyle market is
growing rapidly, with 70 percent of Americans buying organic foods and one
quarter of these consumers buying organic foods on a weekly basis. Juicing,
either as a meal replacement or an addition to a healthy diet, has become a $5
billion business and the natural foods industry has grown to $75 billion.

“We are extremely pleased that Martin will be joining Organic Avenue,” said
Jonathan Grayer, chairman and CEO, Weld North. “He comes at a time when there
is tremendous momentum at the company and consumer demand for healthy foods
and juices is skyrocketing. Martin has a wealth of knowledge from his tenure
at Pret A Manger’s U.S. operation and he brings a deep understanding of
consumer preferences on buying healthy foods and navigating the retail
experience around these purchases. He also brings a key service orientation
and a unique insight into the real estate market in major cities across the US
– valuable assets as we look to quadruple our footprint in 2013. Martin is a
proven entrepreneur and a brand builder. Organic Avenue is at a critical
moment in its evolution we are looking forward to doing great things
together.”

“I am tremendously excited about this opportunity. The health food and
beverage space is exploding and I share Jonathan’s vision for Organic Avenue
and what it can become,” said Martin Bates. “One of the things I enjoyed most
about my experience at Pret was the opportunity to scale a smaller, emerging
brand into a well-respected option for healthy foods for consumers across a
significant footprint. The opportunity at Organic Avenue is exactly what I was
looking for and I look forward to growing the business into a national leader
in a very dynamic market place. In order to achieve this goal, we’ll look at
refreshing the stores and the retail experience, identifying new locations for
market entry and moving forward with a defined strategy for third party
distribution.”

“We’re excited that Martin has agreed to join Organic Avenue as chief
executive officer,” said Denise Mari, founder, Organic Avenue. “He has a great
track record of building businesses and is the right person to lead Organic
Avenue to the next level. Martin knows what it will take to deliver our
promise of the highest quality Live Organic Vegan Experience to our rapidly
growing customer base. We look forward to collaborating together.”

In his most recent role at Pret A Manger, Bates was tasked with expanding its
U.S. stores, bringing the healthy grab-and-go concept from 11 stores in New
York City to 51 stores across Boston, Chicago, New York City and Washington
D.C. Prior to his role as president, Bates was the UK operations director at
the company, where he was responsible for 75 Pret stores nationally in the UK
from Scotland to South Coast, and including Pret's UK airport operations.
Before joining Pret A Manger, Bates was the national operations director at
Greene King plc where he was responsible for 400 pubs, bars, restaurants and
hotels. Bates began his career in manufacturing, holding various positions
with Denby Pottery, Toyota Motor Manufacturing and Microfine Minerals. Bates
holds a MBA from Loughborough University and also attended the University Of
Derby and Glasgow Caledonian University.

About Organic Avenue

Based in New York City, Organic Avenue is the leading provider of organic cold
pressed juices, vegan food, cleansing programs, healthy lifestyle education
and community building events. The company helps customers incorporate
flexible health habits into their daily routine in order to maintain a
healthy, energetic lifestyle that is pleasurable, sustainable and friendly to
the environment. Visit http://www.organicavenue.com.

About Weld North

Weld North is an investment company concentrating on education, health and
wellness, consumer services and marketing businesses. In partnership with KKR,
a leading global investment firm, Weld North seeks to make control investments
in businesses with high potential for long-term growth in cash flow. With
strong and highly motivated management teams, the firm looks to accelerate
growth through an obsessive focus on enhancing the customer experience,
operational excellence, marketing expertise, and strategic and disciplined
management.

Contact:

Media:
Sloane & Company
Elliot Sloane, 212-446-1860
esloane@sloanepr.com
 
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