Posted by Charles Rehberg on Apr 09, 2018
North Notes
Spokane North Rotary Club Bulletin
April 9, 2018      
           Mobius night: A few more club members are asked to join Holmes Elementary students and family at the school for Mobius scientific presentations
Thursday, April 26, 6-7.  Daria Brown has more details.
           Scholar time: Coordinator Brian Hipperson and President-elect Lenore Romney invites other club members who want to help judge the Saling Scholarship applicants to join the program.  High school students from north Spokane District 81 schools are asked to complete applications by April 30.
            Flower power: With daffodils last week and tulips this week from Audrey’s club in LaConnor, Wash., plus petunias from Bonnie in the Deer Park Rotary Club, a nice array of spring flowers fills our homes.
 The ‘buzz’ continues for BumbleBar, Inc.
           Sustainable foods continue to sustain business growth for the burgeoning line of organic snack bars based in the Spokane Valley.
           At the April 9 club meeting, Glenn Ward, co-CEO with wife Liz, talked about BumbleBar Inc.’s remarkable rise of a growing list of products which feature things they don’t have.
           The snack products do not have gluten wheat, no pesticides and no chemicals.  And despite the “BumbleBar” name, the flagship snack bar doesn’t even have honey. 
           As Liz was quoted, bumble bees are among the first of the species to damage pesticides.  Some Manuka honey is included in another product line.
           What they do have are loyal fans – especially “millennials,” Glenn said – who want organic, vegan and kosher organic energy bars.
           Headquarters for BumbleBar is a 36,000 square-foot warehouse at 3014 N. Flora in the East Valley.  Glenn said the company has 25 workers there.  With JunoBars and other snack bars, a granola product was added last year.
           Growing the company is amazing as the product growth.  Glenn said Liz traveled along the Grateful Dead concert route for two years and worked at a soup kitchen until she developed the organic snack bar idea in 1995.
           The product line was begun in Seattle kitchens rented by the hour, then moved to a small warehouse to Vashon Island and to Tacoma before locating in Spokane in 2003. They moved to its current space in 2015.  As press stories recount, Spokane had lower rents, lower humidity and lower business costs than Puget Sound venues.
           Products come from farmers and farmer co-ops from, among others, Indonesia, Turkey, Nicaragua, Honduras and Canada, stories said.
           The global list of farmers seems appropriate, as Glenn said, “Sustainable food can change the planet.”
           Glenn said he met Liz in 1994 when he was working at a Magnolia Hi Fi store. He said he was on full commission then and said “I’m still on full commission.”
           From the regional list of snack bar outlets, BumbleBar has aligned with Dean & DeLuca, a 42-outlet company with New York City roots and he has talked trade with stores in Seoul and Tokyo.   And Glenn said he recently chatted with Howard Schultz, the executive chairman of Starbucks.
           As he discusses the billions of snack bars produced, Glenn also talks about spheres – “the geo-sphere, bio-sphere and neuro-sphere” – to discuss “how plant-based, organic products can change people’s minds and how they affect the planet.”
           If that seems like a big bite from an organic snack bar, just see how far the company has gone already.  
The bulletin producers:
           Bulletin editors: Chuck Rehberg and Sandy Fink
           Photos: Sandy Fink and Eric Johnson
           Program coordinator: Brad Stark