Marshall Rader was diagnosed as celiac in 2008. His brother, Elliott, also had a severe gluten intolerance. Due to this real-life need, the brothers started discussing the necessity for a better tasting, better ingredient gluten-free protein bar. Soon, the brothers were on their way to creating a gluten-free bar business. The utter lack of quality options available on the market spurred them to launch The GFB: The Gluten Free Bar in 2010.
They started out wanting to "do the right thing" - which in the beginning meant that they wanted to pay team members a living wage and recycle/upcycle/reuse whenever possible. It turns out that what they were really trying to do was to create a sustainable business.
Read more about Marshall Rader's entrepreneurial rise in this month's Tenacity Tales.
Marshall Rader, founder of The GFB: The Gluten Free Bar, and his team
What’s the obstacle that you’ve overcome that you’re most proud of?
Lack of capital in a capital intensive business – through creativity and hard work we were able to establish The GFB as an emerging brand that does things differently by manufacturing all of our own products (which is rare in our industry) and living our values while doing it. There is almost always a solution to the problem – and it doesn’t always have to be money.
All products are Certified Gluten Free, Certified non-GMO, Certified Vegan, Certified Kosher, Soy-Free, and made in our very own, dedicated gluten-free facility utilizing sustainable business practices. The GFB is a certified B Corp.
What do you know now that you wish you’d known then?
It seems very obvious…money can help you accelerate growth and invest ahead of the business to build it more effectively. Taking on prudent levels of debt and/or bringing on an equity investor earlier in the process can make sense – but only if you have truly taken the time to step back, view the big picture, outline goals, and chart a course.
What’s your best advice to other small business owners?
In the beginning and (pretty much forever in our experience), its 99% about the actual product or service. People flock to dive restaurants because they own what they are doing and execute it, every day. Upscale restaurants are great with ambiance yet the newest thing goes out of business every day. Don’t overthink it.
What’s a typical day like for you?
As is normal with many business owners, the major common thread from day to day is figuring out the best way to mentally organize and keep up with the various subjects and variety of opportunities and challenges. Any given day may include long term product planning, making a sales call, reacting to urgent customer needs, or interviewing a potential new team member. The ability to plan well and get project work done during private time is critical so that there can be undivided attention to collaborate with the team. I am always working to find ways to get better at this!
GFB Oatmeal uses an innovative new package. Check out this short video for more info!
What’s next for you and The GFB: The Gluten Free Bar?
We’re working to connect more effectively with our consumers and our retail customers with a focus on continuously improving everything we do. We want The GFB experience to be a positive part of our customers’ day and will continue working on how to best share our products and story through sampling and the most effective relationships with our retailer partners.
Want to learn more about Marshall and The GFB: The Gluten Free Bar?
Check out the The GFB website.