Daniel Anderson, a Lipscomb senior in integrated studies, won’t receive his degree until May 3, but he’s already hard at work at the company he and two friends founded – Good Spread, a locally-based peanut butter company that provides a packet of nutrient-rich food to a malnourished infant for every jar sold.
The company has already raised $90,000 in capital from two Indigogo campaigns over the last year and a half, and Anderson just inked a deal with Harris Teeter to stock their new 16-ounce jars of Good Spread at more than 200 stores throughout the eastern seaboard. The company made $30,000 in sales within its first year, said Anderson, sending 33,000 packets of ready-to-use therapeutic food (RUTF) to 550 infants in Africa. And they are still going strong.
“Daniel has been with us from the very beginning, and he has been a great peanut butter salesman,” said Good Spread co-founder Mark Slagle. “He recently went home to Texas on a trip and he came back and said, ‘Well, we need more peanut butter. I sold it to three grocery stores in Dallas.’ He has been crucial to helping the brand grow.”
Lipscomb has been supportive of the social venture since the beginning, said Slagle. In fact, you may have seen Anderson and Slagle and their Good Spread products out in Bison Square during study week.
Back in 2011, Slagle and Alex Cox, Good Spread’s third founder, were working for a nonprofit called MANA Nutrition, which produces and distributes a ready-to-use therapeutic food (RUTF), a combination of peanut butter, milk and vitamins. Slagle and Cox spent the summer traveling the entire nation in a 1970’s Winnebago raising money for MANA. During the “MANAbago” stop at Lipscomb, Anderson, who had known Slagle for eight years, took the guys under his wing and gave them an “in” in the Lipscomb community.
After the MANAbago tour, Slagle returned to his hometown of Nashville with a “nutty” idea he and Cox had conceived on the tour: why not sell peanut butter in order to create a consistent, growing source of income for MANA’s peanut butter based therapeutic food distribution.
“Everywhere we went, all the kids we talked to wanted to taste the peanut butter. It was a tangible reminder of the good they were doing,” said Slagle.
The open, generous community of Nashville seemed the perfect place to start a one-sale-to-one-donation social venture, and Anderson proved to be a valuable resource as he pulled in support and resources from Lipscomb.
“By no means were any of us business majors when we started this,” laughed Anderson. “We had a lot of people who knew about business who helped us for free. We sat in on random business classes at Lipscomb. There was a lot of trial and error, but we’re still kicking.”
Good Spread’s concoction of peanut butter and organic honey is available locally at The Turnip Truck and Boone and Sons in East Nashville and online at helpgoodspread.com. It is expected to be available at Harris Teeter next month. In its first year, Good Spread was shipped to 47 states.
The company has been featured in Fast Company and Upstart Business Journal.
Good Spread is produced at MANA’s production factory in South Georgia and global nonprofit World Vision helps distribute the packets of therapeutic food packets to needy children, but the three founders want to keep Good Spread a for-profit company.
“We could drive around the country every year asking for money, or we could actually build a company, that is a for-profit company, and that profit can actually grow, and it can help infinitely more kids in the long run than driving around the country,” said Slagle.
“I think everyone in the world wants to do something good for their community, they just need an easy way to do it,” Anderson said. “I think that is what social entrepreneurship is: making an easy way for someone anywhere to help. You are going to buy peanut butter anyways, so why not buy it from us.”