Sunwarrior: Promoting worldwide health from sunny So. Utah

Russ Crosby, left, CEO of Sunwarrior, and Ryan Blad, CMO of Sunwarrior, pose at the front desk of the Washington City office, Washington City, Utah, Nov. 11, 2014 | Photo by Devan Chavez, St. George News

WASHINGTON CITY — A growing health food company that recently made the move to Southern Utah is continuing its mission of promoting a healthy, plant-based lifestyle to the world.

Sunwarrior, originally based out of Mesquite, Nevada, relocated to Washington City in March as part a strategic move to better accommodate company employees, Russ Crosby, CEO of Sunwarrior, said.

Ryan Blad (left), CMO at Sunwarrior, explains how the company uses a graphic on a wall to keep track of product development as Russ Crosby, CEO at Sunwarrior, looks on, Washington City, Utah, Nov. 11, 2014 | Photo by Devan Chavez, St. George News
Ryan Blad, left, CMO at Sunwarrior, explains how the company uses a graphic on a wall to keep track of product development as Russ Crosby, CEO at Sunwarrior, looks on, Washington City, Utah, Nov. 11, 2014 | Photo by Devan Chavez, St. George News

“The majority of our employees are from St. George,” Crosby said, “so there was a major commute … happening where we had well over 50 percent of our employees driving down to Nevada every day and then back up.”

Approximately 40 employees currently work at the Washington City office, Crosby said. A small number of those people commute from Nevada on certain days, but they also work out of a Sunwarrior office there.

While most of the company’s work is completed at the Washington City office, Crosby said, the main corporate headquarters are still based out of the Nevada office at this time, and the product manufacturing takes place in Utah County.

“As we expand, we would like to eventually bring manufacturing in-house,” Crosby said. “We would like to bring everything into (this area) … and have everything be in Washington County.”

Washington City Mayor Ken Neilson said companies like Sunwarrior are often drawn to the Southern Utah area because of its fairly active community and recreation options.

“We do see companies that like the lifestyle up here,” Neilson said. “That becomes a great factor when people look to bring a business into our area.”

A wall of different magazine articles features ambassadors for Sunwarrior, Washington City, Utah, Nov. 11, 2014 | Photo by Devan Chavez, St. George News
A wall of various magazine articles features ambassadors for Sunwarrior, Washington City, Utah, Nov. 11, 2014 | Photo by Devan Chavez, St. George News

Sunwarrior currently distributes its products in more than 40 countries, with popular areas including the United Kingdom and Australia, Crosby said. He said he hopes the company can continue growing and further spreading its message of healthy living.

When companies with a large clientele like Sunwarrior move into an area, they assist in improving the local economy in several ways, Neilson said, including creating jobs in the local community and generating revenue through sales tax.

“People that work there have a tendency to make a little more money,” Neilson said. “When you make more money, you have to a tendency to spend a little bit more.”

Sunwarrior does not outsource any of its customer service to other states or countries, Crosby said. Calls from customers with any questions or concerns regarding Sunwarrior products are directed to a representative at the Washington City office.

Employees at Sunwarrior are encouraged to utilize both a kitchen and an in-house gym at the Washington City office, Ryan Blad, chief marketing officer for Sunwarrior, said. This helps employees live the lifestyle they are promoting to others. Playing group games of table tennis and going on bike rides is common and encouraged.

“The whole idea we promote is to just be healthy and live a healthy lifestyle,” Blad said. “We want to make sure we include all those things for our employees.”

Members of the Sunwarrior accounting department take a break from work to play a game of tabletennis in the Sunwarrior rec room, Washington City, Utah, Nov. 11, 2014 | Photo by Devan Chavez, St. George News
Members of the Sunwarrior accounting department take a break from work to play a game of table tennis in the Sunwarrior rec room, Washington City, Utah, Nov. 11, 2014 | Photo by Devan Chavez, St. George News

As part of encouraging this healthy living among employees, certain foods items are not allowed in the office and are jokingly called “contraband” by some, Crosby said. These items include things like meat and sweets like doughnuts and pastries.

The ban is more of a challenge to employees than an actual rule, Crosby said. Even though many of the “contraband” food products can be tempting, employees get positive support from one another to help improve their food choices.

“As a result, myself included, people kind of wean themselves off of that standard American diet when you’re working here,” Crosby said. “Not because of the peer pressure but simply because you start to understand the negatives of living that lifestyle.”

The kitchen area and gym are also utilized in creating promotional videos for Sunwarrior, Crosby said. Plant-based chefs will come in and make videos showing people how to make healthy juice mixtures, while athletes and yoga instructors create instructional workout videos.

Heidi Greig, executive assistant and Sunwarrior, mixes up a salad for employees to eat at a staff meeting, Washington City, Utah, Nov. 11, 2014 | Photo by Devan Chavez, St. George News
Heidi Greig, executive assistant at Sunwarrior, mixes up a salad for employees to eat at a staff meeting, Washington City, Utah, Nov. 11, 2014 | Photo by Devan Chavez, St. George News

Engaging with the community is a future plan for Sunwarrior, Blad said. In 2015, the company plans to be out supporting events such as IRONMAN and the Zion Half-Marathon.

“We want to participate in some of them ourselves but also support those that we are not going to be involved in,” Blad said.

While Sunwarrior products are all primarily plant-based, the company does not market itself strictly to vegans or vegetarians, Blad said.

“We’re not here to judge,” Blad said, “we’re here to help you live a healthy lifestyle, and plant-based supplements is one way to do that.”

Sunwarrior products can be purchased online at the company’s Web store as well as from health food and nutrition stores. For more information about Sunwarrior or its products, visit the Washington City office at 2250 N. Coral Canyon Blvd. in Washington or call the customer line at 888-540-3667.

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Email: dchavez@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2014, all rights reserved.

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