In 1990, Gary Erickson was once running a suffering bakery in Emeryville, California. He cherished baking—numerous his recipes were given right here from his mother—then again had a tricky time keeping his endeavor afloat. He had to do right kind via his purchasers and employees and make a optimistic dent in the world, then again he didn’t know how you can create a strategic plan that can get him there—while allowing him to look at his dual passions: hiking and cycling.
His philosophy on motorcycle traveling was once similarly amorphous. Instead of burdening himself with equipment and a wary plan, Erickson most popular to set out, generally in conjunction with his friend Jay, with just a seat bag stuffed with prerequisites and an open ideas. The 2 traveled all over the European Alps this manner, exploring far away sections of freeway—pedaling and, in some case, even shouldering their motorcycles over Alpine passes. “We didn’t know where we were going to sleep at night or eat each day,” Erickson says. “But traveling light gave us freedom and exposed us to new people and experiences.”
One morning, once more in California, the duo introduced into what they concept can be a 125-mile motorcycle adventure via the mountains east of San Francisco. The adventure became out to be 175 miles long, and all Erickson had for fuel was once 6 power bars. He had eaten 5 of them, then again may now not stomach the thought to be a sixth. “I was starving, and I knew I desperately needed to eat something,” recalls Erickson, “but I couldn’t bring myself to eat another bar,” he says. “It was a taste issue. I knew I could solve it, that I could make something that tasted—and worked—better.”
THE FOLLOWING YEAR, in 1991, Erickson moved proper right into a crummy $300-a-month garage and set to work in his mom’s kitchen. “I got my mom involved because, first, she was the person who taught me how to bake and, second, I trusted her sense of taste to balance out my desire to make an all-natural energy bar with no butter, sugar, or oil,” Erickson says.
Painstakingly tracking each and every recipe, he subjected his buddies to new batches for the next six months. “For a while, the recipes kept getting further and further away from what you’d call food. Finally, after one failed batch, I decided to start over. I got out my mom’s classic oatmeal/chocolate-chip cookie recipe and used that as the foundation. My friends loved it.” That recipe would in the end change into the speculation for the original Clif Bar. A few months later, after a 12 months and a 1/2 of attempting to crack the all-natural, and still-tastes-good code, Erickson made his first sale to a bike retailer. More motorcycle shops signed on, and previous than long, his bakery had complicated into an power bar company.
SO WHY DOES AN ENERGY BAR COMPANY inspired via an epic motorcycle adventure have climbing-themed branding? The answer: Erickson’s father, Clifford. “My dad turned me on to nature with trips to Yosemite, where we’d hike or ski,” Erickson says. “As a kid, we took these wonderful road trips with my uncle and cousins where we’d pack up the Pontiac and drive from national park to national park, camping for two days before moving on.”
Those camping trips as a toddler become hiking adventures as a more youthful guy. In 1982, he and a friend scaled the face of Half Dome, in Yosemite Valley—a climb that in the end inspired the now iconic packaging. “My friend Doug Gilmour, who designed the packaging, always saw me as a self-reliant climber,” Erickson says. “Part of my personality comes from those early trips with my dad.” On his father’s 66th birthday, Erickson knowledgeable his dad that he was once naming his new power bar after him.
ERICKSON NOW HAD AN ENERGY BAR folks liked and a company filled with possible, then again he nevertheless sought after but any other aspect to make it a success: a business-savvy associate who shared his vision. He came upon that—and additional—in Kit Crawford, a jazz dancer and appearing artist. Crawford’s parents had raised her on homegrown, pure foods, which instilled in her a deep connection between the earth and what we consume. In an effort to get her attention, Erickson took stylish dance categories. “We were friends, and I wanted to be more than that,” he admits. “Then she married someone else.”
Fourteen years later, after Crawford’s first marriage ended, their romance finally blossomed. Together—their desks this present day are ten ft apart—they’ve slowly became Clif into the company it’s this present day. “When I developed Clif, I never thought of making a ton of money or an exit strategy,” he says. “I always took the long view.” As the company has grown, so has Crawford’s have an effect on.
“From how we took care of our employees to the organic ingredients we use, all those decisions came from Kit,” he says. Erickson credit score Crawford’s direction for their solution to make employee smartly being and happiness a priority, and create a place of business with an employee cafeteria that serves sustainably sourced foods and an on-site gym, yoga studio, and hiking wall. Ten years previously, Erickson and Crawford went 1 step further and created an employee stock ownership program. “Everyone thought Kit and I were nuts, but we quadrupled the size of Clif together,” says Erickson.
FAST-FORWARD TO TODAY and Clif has ridden the power bar expansion to change into one of the biggest independent players throughout the endeavor. As the power foods universe has expanded, so has Clif. Over the former 20 years, they’ve introduced the winning LUNA bars for ladies and a lot of other products, along with nut-butter filled bars, whey protein bars, and Z bars, a line of pure power snacks for teens.
But until 2016, there was once a missing piece. “We had deep relationships with the people who grew our ingredients. We shared our values with the employees at our headquarters, in Emeryville, California, but the bars were baked by someone else,” Erickson says.
That changed when Clif built its private commercial bakery from scratch, in Twin Falls, Idaho, the usage of almost 300 folks. Like Clif’s LEED Platinum headquarters in Emeryville, the new $90 million Twin Falls facility is a specific setting up, designed spherical connecting folks with nature via house home windows, skylights, stone walls, and indoor crops.
It’s all part of Clif Bar’s values of advocating for pure agriculture and doing what it could more than likely to toughen our provide foods machine and the lives of its employees. “Over the last ten years, Kit and I have set out to build a company and a culture that holds itself responsible to five bottom lines: our business, brands, employees, communities, and planet.”
As a company of and for many who love the outdoor, Clif Bar & Company puts folks and planet first. “We’re working to run a different kind of company,” says Kit Crawford, “…the kind of place we’d want to work that makes the kind of food we’d like to eat, and that strives for a healthier, more sustainable world–the kind of world we’d like to pass on to our children.” Find out additional about Clif Bar right here.