When Fresh Bar (formerly GüdBar) hit store shelves back in March of 2012, we were ecstatic. Fourteen months of dedication and preparation had paid off! We were getting our shot!
But for a small company with a limited (a.k.a. nonexistent) advertising budget, we were, at first, concerned about how we would get our bars noticed. Fortunately, the answer quickly became clear: we would take our bars straight to the people!
Thus, since March 2012, we’ve spent well over 1,000 hours sharing Fresh Bar with fellow Minnesotans through in-store visits. During that time, we’ve met about 25,000 people!
And of course, you don’t meet that many folks without gathering a few great memories!
One of my brother’s favored stories was of a young toddler and her mother. Unfortunately, the young girl was unhappy about something. As she and her mother walked hand-in-hand up to our sampling table, she was sobbing uncontrollably.
The mother, hoping to cheer up her child, asked her if she wanted to try a “yummy” granola bar, but the toddler was too busy crying to notice. Not discouraged, the mother grabbed a piece and held it near her daughter’s mouth. The girl, with tears still streaming down her face, focused on the sample, tenderly grabbed it, and put it her mouth. She instantly stopped crying. After some chewing and thought, she looked at her mother and spoke one word: “more.” We were happy to oblige her.
During my time sampling Fresh Bar, I’ve shaken a lot of hands, learned a lot of names, and shared lots of bars, and though I have many fond memories, one sticks out the most clearly of all.
While sampling at Byerly’s in Burnsville I met a younger gentleman – in his early to mid thirties by my estimation – who was very thin and wheelchair-bound. With the aid of a shopping assistant, he wheeled up to my table, and, smiling widely, asked to try a sample.
After a quick taste, his face lit up even more. “Wow!” he remarked. “This is wonderful! Are you local?”
“Yep!” I told him. “We’re based out of Minneapolis. We’re trying to do something different: deliver a genuinely fresh bar… something simple and wholesome.”
He absolutely loved the idea, and told me that he sported similar aspirations. He talked about his dreams: about working in the sustainability sector, about green roofs, about helping people live healthier lives. I told him that I used to be in AmeriCorps doing almost that exact same thing. We talked for a good few minutes.
During our chat, he revealed that he was suffering from cancer and enduring chemotherapy. At first, I was saddened to hear of his plight – he didn’t deserve this! But after listening to how he spoke of his ailment – as if it was more of a speed bump than a dead end – my melancholy eased. The fact that his body’s own cells were growing uncontrollably – literally rebelling against him – wouldn’t hold him back from achieving his dreams. I took heart from his courage.
As he prepared to continue his shopping, he told me that what we were doing was inspirational.
“Thank you!” I said. “But you’re far more inspirational than we could ever be.”
I still think back on that gentleman sometimes. I hope, more than anything, that he gets a chance to fulfill his dreams, just as we are getting a chance to achieve ours.