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Ocean Spray taps into Boston’s ‘energy’ to draw millennial talent

May 13, 2019

Ocean Spray Cranberries’ headquarters in Lakeville is as picturesque and pastoral as the bogs depicted on the company’s juice labels. But that’s not necessarily a big selling point to attract millennial talent.

Not long after Bobby Chacko became CEO about a year ago, he decided he needed a beachhead in Boston to recruit younger employees. Eventually, Chacko settled on a 4,000-square-foot section of a WeWork office on Sleeper Street in the Seaport area, a part of Boston that Chacko calls “the Silicon Valley of the East Coast.”

“Primarily it’s about the energy that the city can provide,” Chacko says. “With a WeWork, you have like-minded, aspirational entrepreneurs . . . in the space.”

Nearly 60 HQ workers moved to the office, which Ocean Spray dubbed the “Lighthouse,” from Lakeville during the past several weeks, primarily marketing and innovation employees. They celebrated the office opening on Monday; among those attending were Mayor Martin J. Walsh of Boston and Patriots star Julian Edelman. The Ocean Spray headquarters, where about 400 of the farmers cooperative’s 2,000 employees work, will remain in Lakeville.

Among the tasks facing Chacko’s Boston team: thinking of new products that push Ocean Spray further into the “health and wellness” space. Some examples: the relatively new cranberry supplement “soft chews’ and the Growing Goodness line of juice products for kids, or oat milk and “wellness shots” that are expected to hit the market this summer.

Chacko came to Ocean Spray in 2017 following several years as a top executive at Mars Inc.’s former coffee business. (Mars has since sold that operation to Lavazza.) Initially brought on as a senior vice president, Chacko moved up to the top spot at the cooperative following the departure of longtime chief Randy Papadellis in 2018.

Read this story at BostonGlobe.com.