Greenville vitamin, supplement business celebrates 35 years
GREENVILLE — This year marks the 35th anniversary of Beyond A Century, a local family-owned business that sells vitamins, supplements and other health products, situated on the Lily Bay Road in Greenville.
The business has changed over the years, becoming a two-person operation after increasing regulations led to eliminating employees five years ago. The regulations made it just about impossible for the small company to package, label and sell their on-site product line, according to president Erik Cochrane.
“It was a very hard decision for us and a difficult transition,” Cochrane said recently. “We hated to let our employees go, but the two departments, production and packaging of our own product, had to be eliminated.” Nowadays Erik and his wife Sarah, run the primarily mail-order company by themselves.
Erik’s father Warren Cochrane founded the company in 1983 with the idea of providing high-quality nutritional products at affordable prices. “We wanted to offer our customers the best product for the best price,” Erik recalled. “Because we were strictly a mail-order business, with a low overhead and no fancy packaging expenses, we could provide premium quality nutritional products at a reasonable cost.”
A little background: since he was a teenager, Warren Cochrane had been interested in how good nutrition and physical well-being go hand in hand. According to the company website, he had been a science teacher and coach for many years and had also competed in many other sports including weight lifting, cross-country and alpine skiing He also won a National Championship for white water canoe paddling and poling races. By 1983, with a background in using arginine and ornithine, two amino acids, for support of his fitness regimens, Warren found himself selling “Performance Powder” and other products. That was the beginning of Beyond A Century (BAC).
Despite the recent changes, the company has successfully replaced as many of their BAC products as possible with other premium quality brands. “We carry some entirely new products for us, especially the NOW line, all with the aim of providing a similar value to what we have been doing for three and a half decades now,” said Erik.
“Everything is high quality,” said Sarah. “In addition to our regular vitamin line we have a number of specialty products available – everything from nut butters and alternative sweeteners to a Quinoa line of pastas and delicious sauces. We also feature local products such as maple syrup from Charlie Baker in Shirley.” Sarah is especially fond of the personal care product line from NOW. “Their lotions and creams are excellent – I have dry skin, especially this time of year. They really work well for me,” she added.
“We like to say ‘We Do The Shopping For You!,’” Erik said. “We aren’t a huge online retailer with thousands of products that are difficult to find and choose between. We carry a select number of brands and products from reputable manufacturers at great prices. Essentially, we are a local service with Internet pricing,” he continued. “People can save about 36 percent over going to a retail store in Bangor. And with $70 dollars spent, shipping is free,” he smiled. “Here in Maine that can be overnight shipping in many cases, with no driving over bumpy roads – especially this time of year!”
“We encourage people to call or email us with any questions or suggestions they might have,” said Sarah. “Our business is open during the week during usual business hours.”
Beyond A Century is located at 173 Lily Bay Rd. in Greenville and available online at www.beyondacentury.net. Call them toll free at 1-800-777-1324 or (locally) 695-4301. They also offer a free catalog, which is very helpful in learning about and choosing just the right vitamins and products for you. Their goal then, as now, is to offer low prices for the best nutritional products, all the while offering a simple and personal shopping experience.
Observer photo/Shelagh Talbot
35 YEARS FOR BEYOND A CENTURY — Owners Sarah and Erik Cochrane are celebrating the 35th year of their Greenville-based business, Beyond A Century, which sells vitamins, supplements and other healthy products.