“It’s amazing how far we have come by keeping things simple. We use only the finest ingredients with no preservatives and trade shows like FEAST and local farmer’s markets have been a huge blessing and a catalyst for our growth,” say Rick and Belinda O’Brien of O’Brien’s Own Gourmet Granola.
In October of 2010, the O’Briens perfected a recipe for their own granola, and soon realized they had a spectacular product.
After a few months, they started producing granola for friends, family and co-workers in their home kitchen, and things quickly grew from there.
“Every day is an adventure and you never know exactly what to expect. That's why it's nice to have a convenient snack available,” the O’Briens say.
In early 2011, they decided to go retail but needed a commercial manufacturing kitchen so Rick converted their basement into what they needed. After only a year, they outgrew that space and in October of 2012, moved production into a commercial facility in Center Point, Iowa.
Their retail store, O’Brien’s Java House & Goodies, now offers 15 varieties of granola including high protein and gluten-free options. They have also added energy bars to their product line. Mouthwatering selections include:
- Almighty Almond
- Oh My! Apple Pie
- Blueberry Muffin
- Sinful Dark Chocolate
- Chocolate Caramel Cashew
- Chocolate Peanut Butter
- Cinnamon Cranberry Roll
- Busy Bee's Honey & Oat
- Mom's Cookie Dough (soft and chewy)
- Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough (soft and chewy)
- Grandma's Oatmeal Raisin (soft and chewy)
- O'Brien's Joy
- Peanut Butter Cookie
- Auntie's Pecan Pie
- Patches of Pumpkin Spice
In addition to Rick and Belinda, O’Brien’s Own Gourmet Granola now has one full time and 10-part time employees. Belinda leads the baking part of the operation, and Rick handles the day to day business operations.
The O’Brien’s describe their products as a “softer, health-conscious granola with only the finest, all natural ingredients… Each batch contains primary ingredients consisting of whole grain oats, walnuts, flax seed, pure honey, canola oil and coconut. Our added specialty all natural ingredients include almonds, pecans, sun-ripened cranberries, sun-ripened blueberries, cocoa, agave nectar and all natural peanut butter. Each batch is delicately sweetened with no sugar added. Our original recipe, oven-baked process, and premium ingredients have made O'Brien's Own Gourmet Granola the granola brand of choice for health-conscious lovers of all kinds.”
They are looking to expand their product presence into retail locations in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, the Dakotas and Nebraska. “We’re also submitting an application to ABC’s ‘The Shark Tank,’ just to see what happens!” Belinda said.
They conclude, “We enjoy building our business as a family and knowing our blood, sweat and tears are not building someone else’s dreams. We also thoroughly enjoy talking with our customers and hearing the great things people say about our granola!”
You can meet Rick and Belinda at Feast! Saturday, Dec. 3, 2016 at the Mayo Civic Center in Rochester, Minn., from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The day will be well spent with more than 100 different food businesses exhibiting in addition to chef demos, workshops, kids activities, and a Real Food Media film fest.
To learn more about O’Brien’s Own Granola, go to their website at www.obriensowngranola.com, or stop by their retail store at 207 Franklin St., Center Point, Iowa.