Anybody who can start a peanut butter company and get shelf space in the ultra-competitive world of grocery products is somebody we can learn a few things from.
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We talked with entrepreneur Tari Harris Furey about how she's managed to get her peanut butter onto store shelves.
Tari, tell me about your current business.
The company is CHET'S Peanut Butter Breakfast and Dessert Toppings.
We manufacture and sell flavored peanut butter in a squeezable, collapsible pouch.
Tari, where is your business located and when did you start it?
We are based in Roswell, GA. The company was launched in 2005.
What were you doing before this, and is this your first business?
I was operating and managing my husband's business; so no, it's not my first business.
Where did you get the startup money?
Myself, hubby and family members.
Who are your main competitors? How do you compete against them?
The main competitors are PB Loco Peanut Butter company and, in some regards, Jif, Peter Pan and Skippy.
Since CHET'S PB is a flavored PB in a squeezable pouch, its unique qualities and innovative packaging allow for new uses of PB that previously are not on the market. CHET'S is used as a breakfast and dessert topping for waffles, pancakes, French toast, ice cream, etc. Jar PB, flavored or not, is hard to "pour" or "squeeze" on top of breakfast and dessert items. In their case, the jar peanut butters always have to use a utensil. Ours does not.
How has your experience in running the business been different from what you expected?
My original team collapsed. I started with a brother who had been performing sales, but after a personal implosion, I am now handling all day to day operations including sales solo. Nonetheless, I have a ton of tenacity and I always look for the way "in".
Since reconstructing the manufacturing process and moving facilities, acquiring equipment, etc., I rolled out February 1, 2008 on my own. Since then I have picked up 109 grocery stores and am to present to up to 1500 stores within the next 8 weeks.
I expected to only have to perform duties of management and operations. I now do it all but with no regrets. I enjoy what a total package I am putting together here instead of band-aid effects of previous regime. I only wanted to invest in the company…not be in operations. I guess I am placed where I am best suited!
Is there anything you wish you had done differently?
A ton, but regret does nothing. Reflection does and I cannot look back at woulda, coulda, shoulda. I should have started with the previous leads after February 1, 2008 when I rolled out, but wasn't aware of the "lead" sheet that was left in a file folder in a cabinet drawer.
One should only move forward with light trepidation. If one reflects or regrets, it's as if they are driving through the rear window; they can't recognize where the next turn is or what car is in front of them.
What have you done that has been very effective in helping to grow the business?
What advice would you give to somebody else who wanted to start a similar business?
Do a gut check! Make sure you can stomach the ups and downs. Be prepared for tears and joys and the roller coaster ride of emotions.
That's great advice. Thanks so much for sharing your entrepreneurial experience with us, and good luck in growing your business.