A passion for good food, a healthy lifestyle and community activism inspired Steve Liberati to launch his company, Steve’s PaleoGoods. Steve is the founder of Steve’s Club, a national nonprofit that he started in Camden, NJ to teach disadvantaged youth to grow up valuing fitness and nutrition. Steve’s Club provides teens from tough neighborhoods the opportunity to be involved in fitness and sports instead of gangs and violence. After school, Steve’s Club kids go to CrossFit, where they work out alongside members of their local community and grow stronger – both physically and mentally.
Steve’s now sought-after PaleoKits started as something he created in his own kitchen to make the Paleo diet and “real food” accessible to the kids of Steve’s Club. A portion of proceeds from Steve’s PaleoGoods and PaleoKits benefit the Steve’s Club’s National Program.
We sat down with Steve to learn more about Steve’s Club, his motivations, and the future of Steve’s PaleoGoods.
1. How did the idea for Steve’s Paleo Goods come to be?
Steve’s Club started in 2007, when I started my first group of at-risk kids on a CrossFit exercise regimen and encouraged them to choose unprocessed foods whenever possible. Many needed to gain strength, most needed to gain confidence, and some needed to lose weight – but they all needed a source of real food they could pack for school. My wife Kristen and I got creative in the kitchen, and the first of my PaleoGoods – the original PaleoKit – was born!
Our PaleoKits didn’t just work perfectly for the kids of Steve’s Club. Before long, they found their way into gym, diaper, computer and carry-on bags of family and friends – and the positive response was overwhelming. Our product was perfect for everyone: athletes striving to improve performance, those following Paleo, Zone™, low-carb and gluten-free diets, kids in need of better nutrition, and those who just love clean food and tasty beef jerky.
We went on to create other PaleoKit varieties, like Coconut and Grass-fed kits. We created PaleoKrunch, our grain-free, gluten-free granola. The PaleoKrunch line has grown to include Pumpkin, Espresso, Cinnamon and Tropical flavors. The PaleoChef line is stacked with healthy dressings and marinades – perfect for salads, meats and vegetables. Every creation is a major “win” for our ultimate purpose: helping you achieve your nutrition and fitness goals while supporting Steve’s Club!
2. Tell us about some of the flavors. What is the most popular?
We have over 50 items in our product lineup at www.stevespaleogoods.com ranging from PaleoKrunch (grainless granola), PaleoKits (mix of beef jerky, nut and berries), PaleoChef (line of dressings, marinades and sauces), Dried Fruits and other delicious and healthy paleo snacks and meals to eat on the go. Our most popular flavors include Cinnamon PaleoKrunch cereal, Grassfed PaleoKit, PaleoChef Peach BBQ Sauce and our very popular dried strawberries.
3. Tell us a little about your background. Have you owned a business before?
Before starting my Steve’s Club, a 501c3 NJ non-profit, I worked as an exterminator for my father’s pest control business. While working in the crime ridden and drug infested neighborhoods of Camden, NJ I got to meet many of the kids who lived in the section 8 housing complexes that I would visit on a weekly basis. Much to my surprise, I discovered many of the kids had unlimited amount of potential with the necessary ambition to beat the odds, escape their environment and actively pursue their dreams and goals. However, growing up in an environment loitered with drugs, gangs and violence does not make it easy for a kid to become successful. I realized what these kids needed was not a safe place to get away from it all, but positive role models to inspire, coach and provide structure in their life. It was then, Steve’s Club was born. About a year later, I started Steve’s PaleoGoods to help provide healthy snacks for the kids of Steve’s Club and to help fund our club.
4. Where can readers find the bars?
Readers can find our bars in our online store at www.stevespaleogoods.com or at select Whole Food stores in the Mid-Atlantic Region. Please go to our website to find a list of Whole Food stores we are currently in.
5. What has been the biggest challenge in launching the company? And biggest reward?
The biggest challenge in launching Steve’s PaleoGoods was the amount of work involved in building a business from the ground up with no prior experience. Learning the ins and outs of business from marketing to building a website to hiring and managing employees was quite a learning experience in the beginning and continues to be to this day. Every day we are faced with new challenges and surprises that come along with growing a company from small 2 person operation to selling products to thousands of people worldwide.
6. What is something readers would be surprised to know about you or your business?
Readers would be surprised to know that the first PaleoKit was made in our kitchen. My wife and I would make beef jerky into the late hours of the night when we first started. If anyone has made beef jerky at home, they know how labor intensive it is. First, we would cut up the half frozen meat into thin slices, marinate it overnight and then carefully put on the trays of the dehydrator. We would then add the finished beef jerky to a vacuum sealed bag along with nuts and dried berries.