Naperville mom launches new baby food company

  • Ashley Rossi is CEO of Naperville-based OrgaNums, an organic baby food company.

    Ashley Rossi is CEO of Naperville-based OrgaNums, an organic baby food company. COURTESY OF ORGANUMS

  • Ashley Rossi is CEO of Naperville-based OrgaNums, an organic baby food company. She got the idea after making baby food for her son, Luca.

    Ashley Rossi is CEO of Naperville-based OrgaNums, an organic baby food company. She got the idea after making baby food for her son, Luca. COURTESY OF ORGANUMS

  • Ashley Rossi is CEO of Naperville-based OrgaNums, an organic baby food company. She got the idea after making baby food for her son, Luca.

    Ashley Rossi is CEO of Naperville-based OrgaNums, an organic baby food company. She got the idea after making baby food for her son, Luca. COURTESY OF ORGANUMS

  • Steven Ellingsen, general manager of the Hilton Chicago/Oak Brook Hills Resort & Conference Center in Oak Brook, accepted two awards on behalf of the hotel while at Illinois Meetings + Events' "Best of Illinois 2015" awards gala recently in Chicago.

    Steven Ellingsen, general manager of the Hilton Chicago/Oak Brook Hills Resort & Conference Center in Oak Brook, accepted two awards on behalf of the hotel while at Illinois Meetings + Events' "Best of Illinois 2015" awards gala recently in Chicago. COURTESY OF HILTON CHICAGO/OAK BROOK HILLS RESORT

  • Jeff Burhop has opened Burhop Martial Arts School in St. Charles.

    Jeff Burhop has opened Burhop Martial Arts School in St. Charles. COURTESY OF JEFF BURHOP

 
Updated 5/11/2016 12:19 PM

Ashley Rossi had some big plans when she was 12 while growing up in Plainfield. She was interested in assisting the homeless, help give them some shelter and get them back on their feet.

But little did she know at the time that her life would take a different turn, leading her to become CEO of organic baby food company, Organums, based in Naperville.

 

Back in high school, she became a teen parent, left school and later earned her GED. She got a job, supported her child, then went to college to strive for a degree in criminal justice.

But when she took a biology class, other ideas also began brewing about food. She had seen the supersize trends in fast food restaurants, and was concerned about feeding such food to her baby. She had since gotten married and began making her own baby food for her second child.

"I started doing a lot of research and couldn't find anything about baby foods that weren't processed with ultra high temperatures, which removes a lot of the nutrients and the taste," said Rossi, 30.

But life changed again, she divorced and wanted to find a way to still work and support her children but have flexibility to take care of them.

By November 2013, she seriously began to focus on developing the baby food company. She also partnered with investor Larry Washow of Barrington. Besides creating the company, she also was serious about helping the homeless and also developed a plan to create a foundation called Restart to help them.

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Last week, she launched OrgaNums, which produces a line of nutrient rich, refrigerated organic baby foods. They include organic apple, sweet potato, green beans, carrot, pumpkin and carrot/apple. They will be available online soon via subscription and, in a few months, in stores. Some of the proceeds of those sales will help support her mission to help the homeless, she said.

While the headquarters for the company will be in Naperville, the foods are processed in small batches and packed at a facility in Wisconsin, she said.

"Life just had a different plan for me," she said.

FastTracks

Steven Ellingsen, general manager of the Hilton Chicago/Oak Brook Hills Resort & Conference Center in Oak Brook, accepted two awards on behalf of the hotel while at Illinois Meetings + Events' "Best of Illinois 2015" awards gala recently in Chicago. Ellingsen picked up the Reader's Choice award for Best Conference or Resort Venue. The runners up were Lincolnshire Marriott Resort and McCormick Place. He also took theme the Editor's Choice award for Hotel with Heart for its efforts in the community.

Jeff Burhop recently opened a new martial arts school, called Burhop Martial Arts, in St. Charles. He began to study martial arts in 1982 and has since focused Isshin-ryu karate. By 15, he achieved the rank on Sho-Dan, or 1st degree black belt. He has continued to study Isshin-ryu as well as the art of Kyusho-Jitsu, or pressure point fighting.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

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• There's more to business than just the bottom line. We want to tell you about the people that make business work. Send news about people in business to akukec@dailyherald.com. Follow Anna Marie Kukec on LinkedIn and Facebook and as AMKukec on Twitter.

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