A few of Colorado’s own are working to develop wholesome nutrition bars for those on-the-go. Convenient for traveling or grabbing a snack on the run, locally-made nutrition bars pack a loaded punch of whole foods and hearty nutrition. Learn why Boulder is the perfect spot to launch a natural food business in our Q/A session with Bobo’s Oat Bars owner/founder, Beryl Stafford.
Carri: How did the idea for Bobo’s Oat Bars come to be?
Beryl: Bobo’s was actually the brainchild of my 14 year old daughter, nicknamed Bobo. She began baking these decadent oat squares at home, using corn syrup and refined sugars. They were so delicious, but not very healthy. I changed the recipe a bit and started making them with brown rice syrup, non-refined sugars, and vegan butter. We decided to take them to the local coffee shop and then a local co-op in Boulder. When they started reordering, we knew we were onto something.
Carri: How are flavors decided? What is the most popular?
Beryl: The ideas for new flavors usually come from customer requests, but occasionally one will be a staff pick. The most popular flavor is and has always been Coconut; although, Original is a close second.
Carri: Tell us a little about your background. Have you owned a business before?
Beryl: I have a bachelor’s degree in History from the University of Colorado. I had never owned a business before Bobo’s, and had zero knowledge of running a business when I started. I did have a small catering business while Bobo’s was hatching, so that introduced me to the food world. To be honest, it’s a work in progress and every day is an amazing learning experience with its ups and downs.
Carri: Why is Boulder the perfect spot to launch the business?
Beryl: Boulder has grown into a mecca of entrepreneurial businesses, specifically, natural food businesses. There is a plethora of resources from which to tap into – the University, of Colorado, Boulder Innovation Center, Naturally Boulder and LOHAS (Lifestyle of Health and Sustainability), to name a few. Also, I have a lot of friends in the industry who are entrepreneurs, and we share ideas, successes and failures…it’s a very nurturing environment with a lot of creative energy and encouragement from peers.
Carri: What has been the biggest challenge in launching the company? And biggest reward?
Beryl: The biggest challenge in launching the company was bootstrapping the financing of equipment and sales force to grow through distribution, which can be expensive at the onset. I had a line of credit and took a second mortgage to start Bobo’s, so cash flow was a bit of a problem in the beginning. The biggest reward? No longer seeing that cash flow problem, AND walking into stores everywhere and seeing our Bobo’s Oat Bars on the shelves and in grocery carts!
Carri: What do you most love about Colorado?
Beryl: I live for Colorado summers and all that comes with them. I do believe we have some of the happiest people around during the summer.
Carri: What is something readers would be surprised to know about you or your business?
Beryl: I eat a Bobo’s Oat Bar every day for breakfast.