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Nutty For You® Bixby Bar Named 2016 Good Food Award Finalist!

Bixby & Co. Nutty For You® Bixby Bar Named 2015 Good Food Award Finalist in the Confectionery Category.

The Good Food Awards represent the best from America’s growing movement of talented and socially responsible food crafters. This year’s 1,937 entries—33% more than ever before—made for a day of tough choices at the annual blind tastings. Representing 13 categories, from cider to confections to pantry, finalists such as Tennessee Reserve Pecan Sorghum Butter, California Country Miso, Georgia Green Peanut Oil and New York Pitorro Shine – a Puerto Rican-style moonshine – exemplify the country’s diverse and deep-rooted food traditions. Beyond distinguishing themselves by receiving top scores from the 215 judges, all finalists passed a rigorous vetting to confirm they met specific Good Food Awards standards around environmentally sound agriculture practices, good animal husbandry, transparency, and responsible relationships throughout the supply chain.

Nutty For You®—organic dark chocolate + crunchy peanut butter + Maine sea salt is made with organic, Rainforest Alliance certified chocolate that is ethically sourced, is gluten free, Non GMO Project certified and vegan.



Nutty For You Named Good Food Award Finalist 2016

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Bangor Daily News Profiles Bixby & Co.’s Kate McAleer

PORTLAND, Maine — One year after moving Bixby & Co. into its own digs near Rockland’s waterfront, Kate McAleer is preparing to take her gourmet candy bar company national.

The 27-year-old plans for Bixby bars to be in 1,000 retail locations by the end of the year, with a staff of eight employees — four are part-time — and 3,000 square feet of space in a former O’Hara Corp. ice plant.

Looking back on 12 months of transition and growth, “2014, in general, was a crazy year,” said McAleer, a New York native.

The company moved out of its space at Coastal Farms and Foods in Belfast, before the manufacturing facility to jump-start small food production businesses folded in April 2014.

The year for Bixby involved improvements to more than double the company’s efficiency, using a $30,000 startup award from Gorham Savings Bank and a loan through Whole Foods’ local producer program to triple efficiency, between systems for melting and pumping chocolate and wrapping candy bars.

“We’d previously been hand-wrapping bars,” McAleer said.

McAleer said those improvements in efficiency mean Bixby won’t need to expand beyond its current employment levels or 3,000-square-foot space in 2015 to meet its growing distributor demand.

She declined to disclose the financial results of that growth, but she said each equipment investment more than doubled efficiency with design help from the Maine Manufacturing Extension Partnership.

Gorham Savings, Whole Foods and the Maine Manufacturing Partnership are just a few of the entities that came up in a recent interview after McAleer’s acceptance of the Maine Small Business Association’s award as the state’s Young Entrepreneur of the Year.

Last year, she also graduated from the Maine Center for Entrepreneurial Development’s Top Gun program, secured a $25,000 seed grant from the Maine Technology Institute and was accepted to another business development program supported by the Blackstone Charitable Foundation.

The entities involved in Bixby’s success in reinventing candy bars for the natural foods market read like a laundry list of economic development and entrepreneurial training programs in the state.

And to that extent, McAleer said she thinks Maine is a prime place for a young entrepreneur to set down roots.

“I think there’s so many resources and tools to attract businesses that it might just be about awareness,” McAleer said. “Networking has been critical to my success and finding all of the resources and utilizing them was key.”

From her perspective, McAleer said there’s a need for awareness, too. That is, looking beyond tech for young entrepreneurs.

“Everyone wants the next Facebook and Twitter, and I think that tendency can really steer away from the potential to growth for other small businesses,” McAleer said.

McAleer said she hopes her company, driven by changing consumer tastes and greater interest in natural ingredients, can play a role in changing that perspective. And she’s taken the accolades this year as a sign that awareness is taking hold.

Link to article.


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Maine Magazine Feature: “Maine Kind of Candy”

We are thrilled to be featured in the March 2015 Food Issue of Maine Magazine: “Maine Kind of Candy: Bixby & Co. Chocolate and its Clever Creator Kate McAleer” Continue reading Maine Magazine Feature: “Maine Kind of Candy”

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Two and a half years ago, I was introduced to Whole Foods Market (WFM) through a program called YouthTrade for mission driven entrepreneurs under the Age of 35.  I was privileged to have one on one meetings with the North Atlantic (New England) WFM grocery buying team.  At the time, Bixby Bars were very much in the artisanal stage made completely by hand.  The North Atlantic Region then offered to launch Bixby Bars into all of its stores (at the time there were 28 (now 37) stores across New England).  My parents, then just retired from long standing careers of their own, jumped on board the Bixby & Co. ship and started paddling very hard with me to ready Bixby Bars for their launch into WFM North Atlantic stores.  Almost two years to the day from our inaugural launch, I am so proud to share the news with you that we are a Whole Foods Market Local Producer Loan Program Recipient!