Natural selection

| Print |  Email
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
Quote | Report to administrator
 

More Articles

Legislative Preview: A Shifting Balance

January-Powerbook 2015
Thursday, December 11, 2014
BY APRIL STREETER

Democratic gains pave the way for a revival of environment and labor bills as revenue reform languishes.


Read more...

I Know How You Feel

November/December 2014
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
BY JESSICA RIDGWAY

Most smartphones come equipped with speech recognition systems like Siri or Cortana that are capable of understanding the human voice and putting words into actions. But what if smartphones could do more? What if smartphones could register feeling?


Read more...

The Bookseller

November/December 2014
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
BY AMY MILSHTEIN

Everyone knows college is expensive, but a look at the numbers brings that into sharp — and painful — focus.


Read more...

Corner Office: Sheree Arntson

January-Powerbook 2015
Saturday, December 13, 2014

Checking in with the managing director of Arnerich Massena.


Read more...

The short list: Holiday habits of six Oregon CEOs

The Latest
Thursday, December 11, 2014
121214-xmaslist1BY JACOB PALMER | OB DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

We ask business and nonprofit leaders how they survive the season.


Read more...

Free Falling

Contributed Blogs
Thursday, December 18, 2014
121714-oilprice-thumbBY JASON NORRIS | OB CONTRIBUTOR

The implosion of the energy complex: The best thing for low oil prices is low oil prices.


Read more...

The 100 Best Companies survey is open

News
Friday, October 24, 2014

100-best-logo-2015 500pxw-1How does your workplace stack up against competitors? How can you improve workplace practices to help recruit and retain employees? Find out by taking our 100 Best Companies to Work for in Oregon survey!


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS