NORWALK, Conn -- It's no secret moms want their kids to eat healthy. They also want their -on-the-go-kids to be able to grab a snack that sustains them. And so, with those concepts in mind, Kelly’s Four Plus Granola was born.
It started three years ago when then New Canaan resident Cordy Gould Kelly started making granola for her family. Because her sons, Nate and Will were into competitive rowing, the two started taking the granola to practice and regattas, leaving samples for others to snack on.
"Before you know it, I had people leaving me notes with orders," said Nate. "Everyone kept asking, 'Where can I buy it?'"
"Crew Crunch," as it was first called, was made in the Kelly home and was the snack of choice for the teams Nate and brother Will played on. They then started selling it for rowing fundraisers.
When they sold more than 800 bags in less than a week, they figured they had a business on their hands.
They started as most mom and pop shops do: With area farmer's markets, eventually landing in local stores like Walter Stewart's in New Canaan.
Fast forward to 2015 and the granola, now made in a South Norwalk commerical kitchen (and still by Cordy though she's joined by her brother-in-law), is in approximately 75 stores in Fairfield, Westchester and Manhattan, including Whole Foods and Shoprite along with a host of independent retailers.
The secret, said Will, who along with Cordy is now a Pound Ridge resident, is all about sticking to four ingredients: Whole rolled oats, canola oil, honey, and organic maple syrup. The “Plus” refers to the extra ingredients added to make their six varieties. Four Plus Vanilla Almond, for example, is the base four ingredients plus vanilla extract and almonds. (Kelly's Four Plus also includes a gluten-free line.)
From Cordy's perspective, it also works well as she has four children. Plus, a "Four-Plus" is a type of rowing shell, so there are multiple meanings.
The other secret to success is working with family and knowing there's trust and honesty and someone always has your back.
And though other members of the family sometimes roll their eyes when the three talk shop, each is a fan -- and often taste-tester. (Cordy, who now lives in Pound Ridge with her husband, is after her daughter, a student in Colorado to be their college representative while son, Charlie, who lives in Washington, D.C. and is in the science industry, likes to joke he'll be the first to take the granola to Mars.)
Nate said the company's goal is to go national along the lines of Kind or Bear Naked. He admits they are setting their goals high but with family on their side, all seems possible.
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