Clif Bar’s Little-Told Climb to the Top

Gary Erickson Scales the North Face of Business

Mom’s calzones were so delicious. Gary wondered if they could sell them. Ever since high school he had wanted to run his own business – could he do it?

– Not many know that “Clif” Bar was named after Gary’s dad, Clif. –

One day in 1990, Gary Erickson and buddy Jay embarked on a 175-mile bike ride. As always, they packed 6 energy bars each. But Gary just couldn’t stomach them this time.

After downing a few, he tossed the others in disgust. Soon after, the idea of the “Clif” Bar was born.

For six months Gary and his mom tried failed recipe after failed recipe. It was no wonder there weren’t any tasty energy bars on the market – they were hard to make!

The bakers began to hit on some recipes that they liked, but they turned to friends and family for their opinions. It was one day at a running event that they finally knew they had the magic recipe.

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Runners would graciously try a sample when asked, but would walk away before eating. They had tried plenty of energy bars and didn’t want to show the sour expression on their faces when they bit into the bitter bar.

The surprise came when those same people came back with delighted expressions asking where they could buy more energy bars just like that one.

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Clif Bars, named for Gary’s dad Clif, are big business now, but they had humble beginnings at a local bakery. That small idea you have has potential too.

Question: Do you enjoy outdoor activities? What is your favorite energy food to pack? You can leave a comment by clicking here.


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