This is Day 1 of a 21-Day Salute ™, an attempt to kick start my blog writing and to express my gratitude for living where I do. I first saw these series of posts on The Communicatrix (who I want to be when I grow up) and when I asked, she encouraged me to copy her. Here are 21 days of my favorite products made in Boulder…
I first met Justin at the Farmer’s Market three years ago. He was giving away free samples of his peanut (and almond) butter, answering questions and working the crowd. After tasting his nut butter and hearing the story of how he made small batches of it by hand in his kitchen, it was easy to see why so many people were flocking to his stand.*
The passion he shows for his nuts is contagious and the final product? I do declare…Justin’s Nut Butter is to die for.
Justin’s entrepreneurial spirit and enthusiasm have helped to fuel his company’s success. His nut butter is pricey, but in a town like Boulder, people can afford it. The 16-oz. jars are a staple on the shelves of Wild Oats/Whole Foods and even on a tight food budget, I’m okay paying the extra money for Justin’s. It’s become more important to know where my nut butter is coming from and to know who I’m supporting with my money. Unfortunately, I can’t say that about everything I buy.
Earlier this year, I was excited to see that Justin had wowed the crowd at Venture Capital in the Rockies just as he had wowed the Farmer’s Market. My CEO was there and wrote a review of the event, calling out Justin’s Nut Butter as one of his favorite companies. He called them “the next Izzy”, which, considering Izzy got acquired for an estimated 75 million, is not a bad comparison.
Apparently, my CEO and I aren’t the only ones who like the stuff. Even in the midst of a recession and a recent salmonella outbreak, Justin’s is experiencing record sales. They recently received $600,000 in funding and Justin is quoted as saying…
Probably the best thing about Boulder is the consumer acceptance of local, natural, organic products. So without the right mentorship to develop the product and the right consumers in Boulder to want to buy the product, this would have never started.
(We don’t want to imagine a world without Justin’s Nut Butter,now do we?)
The turning point for Justin and his nut butter came in 2006 when he created a squeeze pack for easy on-the-go applications. As a backpacker and hiker, I love having a way to take peanut butter on the trail with me but before Justin’s peanut butter squeeze packs, there wasn’t an easy (and non-messy) way of bringing it. Once again, I’m not the only one who enjoys a high-protein snack after vigorous activity in the mountain. Justin calls the squeeze packs a “game-changer” and says that they now generate over 80% of the company’s revenue.
My favorite flavor is the Honey Almond Butter, although I have yet to try the Maple Almond Butter. I recommend squeezing some on your next banana. Natural ingredients “sustainably harvested and found as locally as possible” with a pledge to maintain only mindful business practices. Do I need to go on?
(One last thing. You try to write a post about nut butter without constantly cracking a smile. Especially a nut butter with the tag line…knead and squeeze. If you can do it, you’re much more mature than I.)
A final picture of Justin and his nuts…
*I don’t think it hurts business that he’s cute and crunchy. But that’s just the marketer in me talking.