WESTPORT, Conn. -- What started out as granola bars called BB's, which were sold at the Westport farmers market seven years ago, have now been renamed Nothin' But and are displayed on grocery shelves across the country.
The healthy line, created "from a kitchen, not a lab" as it says on the label, includes four bars and two flavors of cookies and can be found at Stew Leonard's, Mrs. Green's, Whole Foods, Fairway, Cibo Express and more with additional venues (and flavors) on the horizon (think Target in June ).
"Come back to us in 90 days, and we may be in a very different position than where we are now," said Chef Excitement Officer (yes, that's his title) Steven Laitmon, the business force behind the premium food company.
Laitmon has been with Nothin' But since 2011 when his wife encouraged him to taste what creator (and baker) Jerri Graham was hawking at the farmers market: Healthy granola snacks full of "nothing but" clean ingredients.
Graham, a former publishing executive who has no formal cooking training, said she woke up one day with the idea of creating the kind of food she wanted her daughter to eat. She started with a muffin delivery business but soon found out muffins don't have much of a shelf life.
Fiddling in her small Westport kitchen, she then perfected the granola bar. "I was tired of bars that tasted mushy or sugary and felt funny on my tongue," she said. "I wanted natural food that you actually tasted the flavor of."
She experimented with different recipes and texture balances, working her day job and then baking until 2 or 3 a.m. after she tucked her daughter into bed.
"I had no idea what I was doing," she said. "But my gut told me I was onto something."
Luckily, that "something" was Laitmon who brought his entrepreneurial expertise to the fray.
A lawyer by trade, the Westport dad of three went door-to-door with the bars and helped to make tweaks in packaging. Within the last year, he has started to see the fruit of his labors, hiring a sales force and raising more than $600,000 in financing.
As someone with a sweet tooth, Laitmon said he always felt there was a need for something that tasted better. The company is now close to $5 million in sales and in discussion with a variety of grocery stores for expanded distribution.
Said Laitmon: "We're looking to be a bridge for mainstream America to eat healthier and prove that cookies and treats can taste good."
Go to www.nothinbutfoods.com/ for more information on the company and its products.
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