Corey Rennell worked with a business mentor at SF SCORE and developed a fresh nutrition bar for extreme athletes. CORE food bars are a growing hit with Olympic athletes, outdoorsmen and fitness buffs in Northern California and the business is expanding at a sustainable pace.
Corey’s product idea came from necessity:
“As a young mountaineer, I was invited by the BBC & Discovery Channels to travel around the world with five other athletes, subsisting and practicing tribal sports with 12 different indigenous peoples,” he says. To get into shape for this incredible, 14-month challenge, the 2008 Harvard University natural science graduate combined his interest in nutritional science research with observations of tribal diets. He built what he calls the CORE Meal: a truly fresh, portable nutrition bar. It did the trick. When he returned, Corey made bars for other athletes, friends and family. When he could no longer keep up with demand, Corey began to consider leaving his day-job to pursue his passion.
Corey now sells two different bars for different kinds of athletes, and his young company is thriving. The bars are sold at Whole Foods stores in Northern California and Reno, Nevada, as well as through the company’s website www.corefoods.com.
In the coming year, Corey plans to offer new varieties of his bars and to build relationships to bring his product to retailers up and down the West Coast. Corey credits the team at Whole Foods Potrero Hill and the Local Producer Loan Program, family and friends as integral to his success. Corey’s business philosophy is inspired by the “sense of community” of the tribes he lived with--“Everyone worked for the well being of everyone. “ He shares those values through his not-for-profit model--including donating all company profits, maintaining a zero carbon footprint, and working with local, organic producers.
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Corey contacted San Francisco SCORE Chapter 10, and began working with counselor Richard Fivis to develop a fresh-bar production method.
Corey continues working with Richard Fivis and others at SF Score “as we venture into uncharted territory.”
“Richard Fivis was exactly what I needed in a counselor --receptive and supportive, but also straightforward and to the point, “ Corey recalls. “He said my goals were absolutely achievable, but I needed a business plan --something to solidify my many ideas and inspirations into one clear vision.“ Corey spent 6-9 months on his business plan and financial projections and Fivis provided critical direction: “At key junctures I needed someone who had been through it all before to help me focus my efforts properly and prioritize my time, “ says Corey.