In 2015, Al Yablonski and Seth Novak co-founded Anchor Ingredients in Fargo, North Dakota. With several years of experience in the commodity industry, Yablonski and Novak are now focused on creating an end-to-end ingredient solution for the food and pet food industries with their company Anchor Ingredients. “Anchor Ingredients is a super premium ingredient company that offers transparency and traceability for our customers,” explained Yablonski.
Friends and Teammates
Teamwork and friendship are words that describe the relationship between Yablonski and Novak. “We became friends during our time working for Specialty Commodities… now we complement each other as co-founders of our company,” said Yablonski. Novak’s past entrepreneurial endeavors include owning a local restaurant and a pharmacy. On the other hand, Yablonski’s career began as an investment banker in Minneapolis.
After Specialty Commodities was purchased in 2014, the two considered their future opportunities in the commodities industry. “It was the right point in our career to do something entrepreneurial… We realized there was a missing middle market for commodities that offered world-class products and exceptional customer service,” explained Yablonski. Since March of 2015, Anchor Ingredients has grown from two employees to 60 across five facilities in the United States.
One key partnership helped the launch of Anchor Ingredients, The Arthur Companies. This partnership has provided Anchor Ingredients a supply chain that is missing throughout most of the commodity industry. “Our end-to-end process begins on the farm, moves to our processing facilities, and is distributed to our customers… Our facilities across North Dakota are a large percentage of our commodities we process,” said Yablonski.
Growth in the Industry
The Anchor Ingredients team utilizes technology throughout their process to streamline the access to information to customers. “We are investing a lot of our time and resources in offering traceability for our customers… we are researching different technology solutions including block chain to improve our product,” explained Yablonski. This emphasis on technology and traceability are key factors helping Anchor Ingredients break through the barriers associated with unique and specialty crops.
Over the last 3 years, Anchor Ingredients has experienced multiplication of employees, facilities, and products. “The commodities industry is not filled with overwhelming excitement… but we are hiring employees easily because they feel the energy of changing the industry with our passionate and fully invested team at Anchor Ingredients,” said Yablonski. From the headquarters in Fargo, North Dakota, Anchor Ingredients has opened 4 facilities in the state including 1 facility in Montana.
As the company grows, Anchor Ingredients continues to be a strong middle market commodities company. “As the rest of our competitors build their companies looking out the rearview mirror at the past…. we are looking out the front windshield building for a better future,” said Yablonski. The goal to compete with large-scale commodity companies head-to-head has become the reality for Novak and Yablonski and the team at Anchor Ingredients.