SBDC client BumbleBar celebrates 25th anniversary with new milestones

SPOKANE VALLEY, Wash.—When much of the world seems to have been in a holding pattern, BumbleBar, a Spokane Valley-based business that has been making organic, gluten-free, high-energy snack bars since 1996, has been on the move.

In their 25th year of operation:
They are launching new BumbleBar flavors that capitalize on Pacific Northwest signature products such as cherries, blueberries and honey.

They have opened Clean Copack as a company separate from BumbleBar to better support the copacking work they’ve been doing for years.

They relocated to the Spokane Business & Industrial Park at 3808 N. Sullivan Road and upgraded their equipment to automate more processes while still focusing on small batch production.

They are making headway in exporting BumbleBars to Asia, a long-term goal they’ve had as part of their strategic plan for years.

BumbleBar was founded by Liz Ward and her husband, Glenn Ward, who now serve as company CEO and COO respectively. Theirs was the first certified organic whole food bar on the market.

From the beginning, their company has focused on the triple bottom line—people, profit, planet—in an effort to build a socially responsible, sustainable business that benefits their employees, their suppliers, their customers and their communities.

The Wards first contacted the Washington Small Business Development Center (SBDC) in 2002 when they had seven employees and needed assistance planning for growth. They now have 45 employees and are considered global leaders in the “good-for-you” snack food industry, but the Washington SBDC continues to be a trusted resource for information and expertise.

“For the past 25 years, the SBDC has been a favorite go-to resource,” said Glenn Ward. “The dedicated and kind staff in both the Seattle and Spokane offices have provided us with exceptional counsel in the areas of finance and sales.” Not only has their business benefitted from advice and resources related to domestic expansion, but BumbleBar has also begun working with the SBDC to build their export capacity.

“All in all,” Glenn Ward said, “we’re super grateful for SBDC’s involvement in our success.”

Bumble Bars are available in several flavors—including almond, chocolate crisp, peanut butter and lemon—and are sold online and in health food and specialty stores throughout the country. For the past two decades, the Wards used the knowledge of the snack food industry, and their production and packaging equipment, to help dozens of other businesses launch their own snack bar brands.

The Washington SBDC is a network of more than 35 business advisors and two export business advisors who provide confidential, one-to-one advising to business owners and entrepreneurs who want to start, grow or buy/sell a business. Washington State University is the statewide host of the Washington SBDC and provides administrative oversight of the program through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).

SBDC services are provided at no cost to the business owner and are funded by community-based funding partners, including institutions of higher education, economic development agencies, municipal governments and civic and business organizations at the state and local level, and matching federal funds from the SBA.

By Hope B Tinney, Washington SBDC

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