Natural selection

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Articles - March 2012
Friday, March 02, 2012

BY SUSAN HAUSER

0312_Tactics_02
Once upon a time there was a single mother living in the little town of Willamina. At night her two little boys couldn't wait for her to read their bedtime story. But there was no Good Night, Moon for them. No Curious George or Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel.

“I read the book Sugar Blues to my boys,” confesses Betty Lou Carrier, president of Betty Lou’s Inc., a McMinnville manufacturer of healthy snacks. “They didn't want sugar after I read that to them.”

Bedtime reading of a 1975 diatribe against sugar did the trick. Carrier recalls that her sons, now middle-aged men who are executives in her company, would even give away their Halloween candy, preferring to feast instead on their mother’s homemade peanut butter nut balls.

Betty Lou's Inc.
Founder & President: Betty Lou Cerrier
Founded: 1978
Incorporated: 1986
Headquarters: McMinnville
Employees: 125
Fun fact: 23 million protein bars sold in 2011
Those balls eventually bounced her business to unimaginable heights. Now, at 63, she oversees a multi-million-dollar company that employs 125. Six of those employees are food scientists, who work in two labs contained in the 104,000-square-foot warehouse. Their combination of ingredients, specially composed to accommodate the most common food allergies, sensitivities and diet preferences, are the heart of the business.

About 70% of the balls, bars and other snacks are created with private labels for clients, who include Gardenburger founder Paul Wenner and Elisabeth Hasselbeck of The View. But Carrier says Betty Lou’s is shifting gears this year by putting more emphasis on products under her own Betty Lou’s and Just Great Stuff brands.

Most of her contract clients are people she met at trade shows. She started showing her products at trade shows (and still does) during the eight years that her business was still in her home kitchen. Back then her product wasn't even packaged. Customers removed the peanut butter nut balls with tongs from a large jar. Natural foods stores from Seattle to Sacramento were part of the sales route she regularly drove.



 

Comments   

 
Guest
-1 #1 nut ballsGuest 2013-02-11 22:12:44
Please tell me where I can purchase your nut balls in Bend. Natures used to carry them and occasionally Fred Meyer. I have had diffuculty locating then in either store for some time. Please advise. Than you
Susan
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