MELBOURNE, Fla. - Parkersburg native Charley Richards has been recognized for running a business in Melbourne.
On Nov. 29, Richards, a 1973 graduate of Parkersburg High School, received Spacecoast Business magazine's 2012 Business Leader of the Year - Marketing award. Richards said he was surprised to receive the honor because it normally goes to larger companies.
Richards, founder/president of Absolutely Natural sun care products, was honored in front of a crowd of 450 people.
Parkersburg native Charley Richards, left, holds the award he won for Business Leader of the Year — Marketing in Brevard County, Florida, as he stands with his son Danny.
Absolutely Natural celebrated its 20th anniversary in business on April 16.
The company has grown from five employees to 30 employees and from a 10,000-square-foot operation to three buildings covering 35,000 square feet in Florida. Absolutely Natural also has a store in Kauai, Hawaii.
Richards' son Danny works in sales for the business.
Richards noted that Absolutely Natural manufactured 12 products in 2008. That number has grown to 250 today, with products for sun care, spas, body scrubs and specialty items.
To Richards, the fun part of the business is developing new products, he said.
All natural ingredients, and no chemicals, go into Absolutely Natural products, Richards said. The company buys its raw materials from across the globe, including rose hip oils from Chile and materials from Puerto Rico and Africa.
The business has 20,000 regular customers, Richards said. The products are sold at luxury resorts and spas and through the company's website at www.absolutely-natural.com.