Link to full story on KVStyle http://kvstyle.canadaeast.com/front/article/936029
Metaxia Flogeras says since she and her mother Mary Lou launched a natural homemade granola bar business people have been quickly scooping up the healthy snacks.
Metaxia Flogeras has turned her fervor for natural food into a business with the person who instilled her with a love of everything organic since childhood.
It was when she and her mother Mary Lou were on a hike last fall that the idea for a homemade granola bar business came up.
“We both have an organic lifestyle and enjoy natural raw ingredients and we enjoy coming up with our own recipes,” Flogeras said. “When we came upon this one we shared it with family and on (the) hike we brought one for a snack and we thought ‘How can we start something?’”
After the October conversation, Flogeras and her mother launched Granola Girls both online and at the Kingston Farmer’s Market. People have been scooping up the homemade granola bars ever since.
“It’s always good to focus on one product than a whole store so we said ‘Why don’t we focus on trying to get across this one product and see where it goes’ and we just started and it’s just sort of gone crazy on its own,” Flogeras said on a recent evening.
As the creative director for a Saint John communications firm, Flogeras said launching the website (www.granolagirls.ca) along with hooking on to social media sites like Facebook and Twitter was a vital part of connecting with customers.
“I knew the power in that and just creating a website we went really far with it.”
The homemade granola bars are made with the most natural and organic ingredients the mother-daughter duo can find.
“Anything we can get our hands on organically we do,” Flogeras said. “The key ingredients are organic oats, whole natural almonds, raw pumpkin seeds, raw sunflower seed and cranberries. On the website we have a picture of the bar and with all the ingredients picked out and it tells you the health benefits. On top we drizzle dark chocolate and even though it’s chocolate it still has health benefits.
“We just try to get all that good stuff into it,” she said. “We’re always taking old recipes and tweaking them and making them our own.”
Flogeras said there is a long list of reasons why the homemade bars are more beneficial than those purchased in a grocery store.
“There are six to seven ingredients in our bars. Nothing is a secret,” she said. “You look on the side of the box at the grocery store and the list of ingredients is (really) long, you can’t pronounce any of them; they’re all preservatives and chemicals basically. As much as you think you’re buying healthy products unfortunately you’re really not. With ours you can keep in them in your fridge, you can freeze them, but they’ll last at least two weeks. We’re not saying they’re going to last for a year in your cupboard. There’s a reason for that.”
Flogeras, who grew up in Rothesay, said she was raised on healthy, organic foods and said because her mother ran a small business it showed her what it was like to be an entrepreneur.
“I’ve always grown up with small business and I work for a small business so I’ve always liked that but I’ve always had entrepreneurial (goals),” she said. “As soon as we thought of this we knew it was perfect. Not only is it a product but it’s a healthy product that has health benefits for the people around us.”
Flogeras said the bars still have fat, but there’s a difference between good and bad fats. “Now more than ever with all those flus going on people need to find and eat stuff that will help build their immune system rather than modern-day diets that are filled with sugar and the bad fats,” she said. “There are fats in these bars but all good fats; all the good oils from the nuts.”
The granola bars are perfect for families, school children or busy professionals who need quick snacks on the run, she said.
“We want to really target moms and families because even though these bars do have almonds in them we do up trays without or special orders without because they’re great treats to go in kids’ lunches and we like to accommodate that.”
Flogeras said when people incorporate the bars into their diet it reminds them to eat healthy in other meals too.
“A few people start to think ‘If I’m eating this maybe I should start eating healthier lunches’ and it is healthier overall for them,” she said. “I think people want to eat better and especially in our area it’s not always that easy. Even if you’re out and about for lunch it’s not that easy to get a healthy, wholesome meal. I think people were dying to grab on to something like this especially this time of year after Christmas.”
The company is just about four months old, but Flogeras still said she thinks about how it could expand in the future.
“There are so many different ways we can go,” she said. “No. 1 we can try to get into stores and stuff and grow that way and get our own location. The other thing is we really want to approach larger companies to provide their staff with healthy snacks during the work day. Happy, healthy staff equals better production. The other thing we might explore is trying to get into schools somehow.”
She said right now the focus will remain on granola bars but could include more in the future.
“Right now we really like how this is one product rather than confusing it,” she said. “I think for now we’re going to run with that and see where it takes us.”
Flogeras said even though the business is small it has given her a taste of running her own company.
“I’m enjoying the marketing and the sales and getting it out there, having fun with the social media right now, having fun with the website and honestly the fact that people really like the taste and enjoy it,” she said. “I feel like I’m kind of contributing to a better lifestyle a little bit with the healthier way of eating. It’s fun and that’s the good part. It’s something we’re really enjoying.”
On top of that, Flogeras said it has made her already tight bond with her mother even stronger.
“We’ve always been very close,” she said. “I have a brother, too, and it’s always been the three of us.”
Flogeras said it’s almost ironic that she is an organic food fan since she used to wonder why her mother loved it so much.
“You almost got annoyed with it but then you start to think like that yourself,” she said, laughing.
To learn more about Granola Girls, visit the website at www.granolagirls.ca or call 214-2332.
Link to the full story http://kvstyle.canadaeast.com/front/article/936029