Ahwatukee resident celebrates 10 years in granola business - Ahwatukee Foothills News: Community Focus

Ahwatukee resident celebrates 10 years in granola business

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Posted: Friday, July 18, 2014 8:30 am | Updated: 2:50 pm, Thu Aug 14, 2014.

Ten years ago, Laura’s Gourmet Granola hit the shelves of AJ’s Fine Foods for the first time, and its creator, Laura Briscoe, said it was really just family and friends that purchased it.

In the first year, she sold 375 pounds of Laura’s Gourmet Granola. Today, she’s on track to sell more than 30,000 pounds across the nation but said when people recognize her granola, it’s still always a surprise.

“It has gotten to the point where I’ll be doing some random thing and someone will start talking about the product,” she said. “I think wow, how did that happen? I will never get use to that.”

Briscoe began her granola business somewhat on a whim. She was building a new career as a professional chef and was just making granola because she enjoyed it. When friends and family encouraged her to sell her granola, she did, figuring they’d be the only ones to purchase it.

Over the years, it has grown in popularity and today Briscoe stands in her 800-square-foot facility, packed with labels and boxes with her logo on it and surrounded by all six flavors of her granola, organizing orders for restaurants around the country and marvels at how far it has come.

“There is very little I don’t know now about how to sell a product in Arizona or around the country,” she said. “It’s a pretty tight ship. We don’t outsource any of it, so as a result I can manage our quality control.”

On her 10th anniversary in business, Briscoe is releasing a seventh flavor of granola, Loco Coconut, and is also transitioning all her flavors to be free of genetically modified organisms. It’s a move she’s been researching for some time and while it does come at a slightly higher price, she’s proud of the change.

“I know it’s important,” she said. “One of the ways you know is when you are doing sampling or talking with a chef at a restaurant and they flip the product over and look at the nutrition info we give them. They look for that. People have started looking for that. I just came back from the Fancy Food Show in New York City, which is the largest specialty food show in the world, and everybody was going down that path. If you’re not, you’ll be left behind. We prefer to lead.”

The newest flavor of granola is the second vegan flavor Briscoe has created. It uses organic agave nectar rather than honey.

Briscoe has granted AJ’s exclusivity on the new flavor through August, since AJ’s stores have been selling Laura’s Gourmet Granola on their shelves since the beginning. Laura’s Gourmet Granola is also available at Whole Foods, Chloe’s Corner, Benedict’s Café, Queen Creek Olive Mill, Tempe Farmer’s Market, Sweet Basil Gourmetware. The product is used in restaurants across the country, including Fox Restaurants in Arizona.

For more information on all the flavors or to purchase online, visit www.laurasgourmet.com.

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