Today, Picky Bars sells and distributes protein bars, oatmeal, granola, pancake mix and more — all from their Bend headquarters.
The business has come a long way from where it all started in 2010, when athletes Lauren Fleshman, Jesse Thomas and Steph Bruce would hand packaging granola bars from their kitchen in Springfield, Oregon.
“It ended up actually having legs as a business, and then it was, how can we bring Picky Bars in Jesse’s hometown and grow something we’re proud of in Central Oregon?” Fleshman said.
After their bars have landed on the shelves of well-known stores and into the hands of many, Picky Bars announced Tuesday they’ve sold for $12 million to the Sisters-based company Laird Superfood.
“The fact that we’re 20 minutes away from Sisters was huge for both brands,” Thomas said. “It was a huge part of what made Lauren and I comfortable with being acquired.”
Fleshman and Thomas said the merger works well because the companies share similar values and back stories.
Both are centered around healthy living and both are founded by professional athletes. Professional surfing legend Laird Hamilton and volleyball star Gabby Reece started Laird Superfood in 2015.
“People that want to live healthy, active lifestyles, they bring those brand values here,” Thomas said. “It makes sense that brands and products that are aligned with those values are then very successful having companies here (in Central Oregon).”
The founders say the merger means a wider distribution network, and will mean some product overlap and new product development, although the Picky Bar label will stick around.
But it also means a new chapter of life for the founders, who have felt the pressure of running a startup for the past eleven years.
“It does feel good to get to the end of this particularly chapter in our story and feel like we really did build something,” Fleshman said.