When Ted Gelov launched Heartland Sweeteners LLC, he didn’t hold back from taking risks. Seeing that customers desired an alternative to the sole sugar substitute supplier in the industry, Gelov jumped on the chance to carve out a niche for his company and fill that void. Though it wasn’t exactly a road free of bumps, by never taking no for an answer, he cleared the way for Heartland as a new industry leader.
As CEO of Heartland Sweeteners, Gelov has built his company by always defying the status quo and looking outside the typical parameters that limited what his business could achieve. Most of his employees are familiar with the clock at Heartland that has the word “NOW” pasted over every hour. Gelov operates by taking initiative to translate changing consumer behaviors into fresh opportunities and he encourages his employees to think and act that way, as well. When people offer opposition that something can’t be done or that an idea won’t work, he often replies by simply asking, “Really? Why?”
When suppliers first told him that no one could provide the certain sucralose sweetener he wanted to offer, Gelov decided to go ahead and research the chemistry and patents himself and launch his own product. As a result, Heartland didn’t face just one “bet-the-company” lawsuit but two of them at once. Gelov’s large competitors even told his customers that if they bought from Heartland they would also face lawsuits.
Even in the face of these obstacles, Gelov still didn’t skip a step. He assured his customers that Heartland would pay for any lawsuits that resulted from them putting his Ideal sugar product on their shelves. When the company eventually won both cases, the new market area was cleared and other companies quickly jumped on board. While those companies held back, Heartland came out ahead. Today, Heartland Sweeteners is a supplier of branded and private label products in 21 countries and deals with more than 25,000 retail outlets in the U.S. alone.
How to reach: Heartland Sweeteners LLC, (317) 566-9750 or www.idealsweet.com