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New England Chronicle

Nov. 12, 1999

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Betty Brown, Ocean Spray grower/owner

Anytime you read an article about farmers you get to thinking we're just going to tighten our belts a little bit. I'm as fond as being skinny as the next person; but the belt just can't be this (holds hands close together) big.

Every company makes mistakes, I know; but it seems to me a company as good as this one should have been a little faster on its feet and should not have lost market share the way that it did.

It was like a little give and take, a little see-saw, you know. One year Ocean Spray's prices would be up and another year the independents. I didn't see that, you know, the see-saw would bounce down and we'd be thrown off the bench.

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Stuart Gallagher, Marketing Director, Ocean Spray

Stu, the cranberry market has been a little flat. Can Ocean Spray bounce back?

There's absolutely no reason we cannot bounce back. These (points to product) are two new items within our 100% line. A couple of things here (shows product), the whole line is now called Ocean Spray 100% juice, previously known as Wellfleet Farms.

People go by the shelf pretty quickly in the grocery store, and what they look for is that blue logo.


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Linda Rinta, split contract cranberry grower

I think right now it just doesn't look as promising as the last time we did the interview with Chronicle... (from 1992 Chronicle: Ocean Spray a friend? We are Ocean Spray.) I think when we did the interview before, I think I said 'we are Ocean Spray' and that's how we felt. I don't think we feel that way anymore.

Paul's grandfather was one of the original founding members of Ocean Spray. I'm glad he's not here to see this.

On the second preferred stock: Paul and I invested in Ocean Spray stock before we had a home, before we had anything.

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Paul Rinta, split contract cranberry grower

On whether he feels like he was treated like a traitor when he left Ocean Spray: Being in it thirty years and being third generation Ocean Spray and have them feel that way about you, it cuts you to the quick.

On the second preferred stock: That redemption is basically 30, 40, even 50 years of sweat, and all of a sudden you come to your age of retirement and saying we can't pay you or we don't have to pay you, ah, that was really without a doubt the straw that broke the camel's back for a lot of growers.

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Chris Phillips, Ocean Spray spokesperson

What about keeping your growers happy, and how could they be happy, I suppose, with the price going down? Are they still unhappy? I think so, yes, it's a very emotional time for growers. Ocean Spray is more than just a business, it's more than just a brand to them, it's a way of life and has been for generations.

What are you preaching to them? Patience at this point? And it's a lot to ask for. Patience is a lot to ask for; but essentially, yes.

About the surplus: The surplus is, you know (due to*) nature, to natural causes if you will, but is also (due to*) some planting, particularly outside of Ocean Spray.

*difficult to understand

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John Decas, Independent handler

I do believe that they're hurting the entire industry by taking in more fruit than is necessary. The growers in this industry were told that those berries were needed, and they woke up one day to find out that wasn't true.

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Hal Brown, Editor/Publisher, Cranberry Stressline

Intro: "stress that's moved from the bogs into bytes"

I've been accused of being one of the reasons that Ocean Spray's bond rating was lowered.

But Hal Brown insists he is not the enemy: No, I believe in Ocean Spray. I think it's a great company that the grower/owners need to take control of again.

Why should it (the Web site) scare management? Because they managed the company like it was their own personal fiefdom, and in many instances, like we were the serfs.

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