(Photo courtesy of Paleo Eats)
Fitness and nutrition has always been important to Debbie Fred. Before she created Paleo Eats bars, she worked in the medical field and was a CrossFit enthusiast. Yet it wasn’t until she faced her first challenges as a mother that the spark for her to create her own Paleo energy bars struck. Beginning with her daughter’s struggles with colic, and intensifying with her first son’s painful food allergies, Debbie was searching for answers, and a Paleo-based diet was the solution. Like the wonderful Mom that she is, Debbie figured out a way to create treats for her family that were organic, gluten-free, dairy-free, without processed sugar and still delicious! In 2012, bolstered by the rave reviews of neighbors, friends and family, Debbie used her newfound skills in treat wizardry to create Paleo Eats bars.
Here’s where the Paleo Eats story takes a twist, and a trip to Norway. Her bars, a satisfying source of good fats and clean nutrition, appealed immediately to athletes. So, Debbie reconnected with her CrossFit past and sponsored a professional competitor here in Redmond- Cody Anderson. About a year ago, Cody travelled to Norway to check out the local scene. Going to the gym has always been a popular pastime in Norway, and CrossFit has taken off there recently. An avid Norwegian CrossFitter named Carl Nicolaysen was happy to host Cody and show him around. Of course, Cody shared one of his amazing Paleo Eats bars with Carl, and the minute Carl tried the flagship Chai Spice Bar, he “fell in love!” The flavors of maple syrup, Chai spices, and vanilla all blending with the warmth of sea salt and the cool hits of coconut…what’s not to love! Furthermore, Carl knew there was nothing like this on the market, and he decided that other people in Norway needed to experience these bars. The first test was at his favorite gym, CrossFit Kristiansand. The bars were a hit. Of course, the next logical step was a Beach Brawl.
The Beach Brawl is a large CrossFit competition on the beach in Kristiansand, Norway. Certainly, when many of us think of Norway, bright sunshine and beach competitions don’t come readily to mind, but as the Official Travel Guide to Norway puts it, “Norwegians have a short, but intense love affair with the seaside during summer.” Carl facilitated signage and sampling for Paleo Eats, and when Debbie asked how it went after the competition, Carl’s response was, “I need more bars!”
Debbie Fred has embraced her newfound connection to the wonderful people of Norway, and she now sponsors several Norwegian CrossFit athletes, including Helle Myhrstad and Elise Haavik. So far, Paleo Eats bars are on sale in Norwegian gyms and a juice bar called Will I Juice! And Carl’s latest venture is to share the love by making Paleo Eats available online. As he says, “I really believe in this product! That’s why I wanted to bring it to our online store.” — and, hey, only 349 kroners a bar!
While you can still get Paleo Eats bars at stores here in Bend, like Whole Foods, Natural Grocers and Newport Market, Debbie is taking a lesson from Norway and focusing on online sales to grow her business in America. She has even added a subscription feature, allowing people to grab a ten percent discount and receive Paleo Eats bars in the mail at any interval they choose. For small business owners, as in life, you never know when interesting opportunities will arise. But if you focus on always learning, laying the groundwork and keeping an open mind, you’ll be ready when they do.