I have always loved basketball, and I had accomplished a dream of becoming a division one athlete. Countless days of practice, tournaments, weights, workouts, and a lot of ice. I've made great memories and relationships. My entire world revolved around basketball. But in the spring of 2018, it was time to move on.
The looming question now was what am I going to do? I was about to finish my sophomore year at Mercer university, and I had no clue what to do next. I had to pay for school, but a job at Chick-Fil-A wasn’t going to pay the bills. Should I transfer to a state school? What about all the relationships and memories I had already made? No. I had to figure out a way to stay. Thus, Bear Food was born.
My parents are originally from Virginia, and one thing about Virginia is that they grow the best peanuts in the world! My mom started selling Virginia peanuts in the early 2000's, and every Christmas the whole family would chip in to help. I still have memories of sitting in the living room with my brother, gluing labels on peanut cans for hours. We didn't mind the work because we knew the more cans we labeled, the more presents on Christmas! These memories got me thinking, if people consistently bought peanuts from my mom every year, no matter what, I could probably sell them too! Even though I was in rival peanut territory at the time, Georgia, I knew there was a market. Paying homage to my current university, the Mercer Bears, I decided to create a gourmet peanut company. Boom! The Bear Food brand was made.
While creating the company, outside of just designing a label and diving into sales, I wanted to involve something that was close to my heart, and it involved my best friend and older brother, Miller. Miller has Down Syndrome. He had just graduated high school and was struggling to figure out his next steps. Miller is smart, strong, funny, and an amazing dancer, but had never been given a springboard into adult life, like I had with college. This is the typical story for many young adults with disabilities throughout America. More than 80% of this community is unemployed and I wanted Bear Food to battle this trend. Through my lifetime experience, many of these young adults simply need a little direction and opportunity, and that’s why we've partnered with a local ministry who not only work to accomplish this, but offer them opportunities to share their gifts, build friendships, and to serve others.
A portion of every order is donated to Rainbow Express Ministries, our local partner a half-mile down the road. Through Rainbow Express, we help them develop seminars, events, and experiences to help young adults with disabilities continue to grow their job training and skillsets.
Over the years, Bear Food has grown dramatically. From just selling peanuts out of a dorm room, to a full-blown gourmet food company in over 250 stores, we continue to grow in all aspects. We’ve grown our relationship with Rainbow Express Ministries, the city of Matthews, and with great excitement, we opened our first brick and mortar in November of 2022!
Thank you for supporting Bear Food and I hope you enjoy our delicious products!
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