Mankato natives find national success with their snack bars
MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) — Nomi Snack Bars are a refrigerated snack bar with six (soon to be eight) delicious flavors.
The masterminds behind this new concept are Steven Pomeroy, Mike Steffan, Austin Hinkle, Will Handke and Tom Johnson.
“They used to call us the Nerd Herd,” recalled Co-Owner Tom Johnson.
The Nerd Herd graduated from Mankato West High School and is back in town for Mankato Marathon weekend, setting up shop at the Mankato Expo trying to get those in attendance exposed to their product.
“Everybody’s used to their Clif Bar, their Kind Bars, they are all fundamentally dried out, made to last forever, engineered and designed," Co-Owner Steven Pomeroy said. "We’re making something that’s fresh, simple, real fruits and something that tastes totally different. Everybody, once they try it they know the difference.”
Let’s not get things twisted, these are not business extraordinaires.
After attending college for Asian Literature, Art History, American Studies and other random topics, they decided to run with the product they had all grown to love: Nomi Snack Bars.
“We realized there was nothing in the store like it. We googled ‘How to start a business’, rented some kitchen space, came up with a really early bad looking logo and just started selling them,” Johnson explained.
After starting out seven years ago, 2019 has been their big year.
After starting the year in 400 stores, they are now in 1,200, including stores on the east coast, west coast and all over the Midwest.
It's a good thing they didn't listen to the doubters.
“People always say you shouldn’t start a business with your friends,” noted Pomeroy.
I think it's safe to say these Mankato natives disagree.
“After starting a business with these guys, we know how to get on each other’s nerves, but we stick together and know how to get things done,” Pomeroy stated.
“We’ve really grown as a friendship. We’ve gotten to know these guys better than I would have ever before," said Johnson.
“When you’re building a business with your friends, those little things can get in the way. Ultimately, if you have a strong relationship, you can grow together and grow the business,” Co-Owner Austin Hinkle said.
Creating memories that'll last a lifetime...
“I remember the first time I saw someone eating a Nomi bar, just eating it on their own, and I was like ‘Oh my gosh! They really love it!’ We’re a part of people’s lives,” Johnson recalled.
And making sure people know where Mankato, Minnesota, is.
“Hoping to put another Mankato startup on the map. Everyone’s heard of Angie’s Kettle Korn? We’re hoping to be the next Angie’s Kettle Korn, but for snack bars,” concluded Pomeroy.
The group will be handing out bars for marathon finishers on Saturday.
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