Traverse City, Michigan, is home to Dennis and Katy Bean-Larson; founders of ERG! Fruit & Nut Bars. Dennis is a long-time Michigan bicyclist who understood the need for good old-fashioned nutrition without unnatural additives or preservatives. In 2011, Dennis had this in mind when he grabbed a blender and a few yummy ingredients, not realizing that in just a few years that moment of inspiration would turn into a successful line of nationally distributed, wholesome energy bars.
The ERG! Journey
After a few experiments with the blender (and a few messes to clean up), Dennis shared his energy bars with friends, who gave very positive feedback and suggested he “should make these and sell ‘em.” So, in March of 2012, with a hundred dollars and a few plastic bowls, Dennis and Katy launched ERG Foods.
Production started in a 10 x 10 space at the back of a friend’s ice cream shop on a tight budget that took a lot of creativity and stubbornness to make work. Dennis and Katy designed their own press, cutters, and efficient packaging system, and their son Carl, a graphic designer, created the ERG! labels and promotional materials. Despite the extra work, they never wavered from their goal of providing fresh, simple, and healthy energy bars that taste good.
Now, production continues in a 1,500 square foot facility of their own where the energy bars are produced and packaged in-house. Distribution has expanded to stores nation-wide, including over 100 stores across the state of Michigan!
What Makes ERG! Stand Out?
The 12 ERG! flavors were developed by mixing and matching what tastes good – not by cheap ingredient pairings or to fit in a nutritionist’s ingredient ratio chart. At an average of 300 calories, these are not diet bars, but meant to give you the energy boost you need to get home from a long bike ride or a stressful day at work. It’s even reflected in the name; an erg is a unit of energy!
“I love ERG! bars because they are great tasting and every ingredient is real food,” says Kelly Paterson, a happy customer and fellow Michigan bicyclist, “I eat them while riding, hiking, or even as a nice afternoon snack. I also love supporting small businesses. Katy and Dennis are truly wonderful people in many ways.”
ERG! bars contain no artificial colors, flavors, or corn syrup. They are dairy-free, soy-free, rice-free, gluten-free, and non-GMO.
Dennis and Katy understand that clean energy goes beyond just nutritional content in the products themselves. They have designed the production process to be zero-waste with all packaging, label backing, and paper waste recycled. Beginning in July 2020, they will be the first nutrition bars to use 100% Consumer Compostable Packaging. They are committed to fair labor practices and local sourcing wherever possible.
All the care that Dennis and Katy have put into creating ERG! energy bars can be seen – and tasted – in their products. If you’re looking for clean, delicious energy from a locally sourced and socially responsible company, ERG! bars are a win-win-win!
If you are interesting in trying these bars, be sure to check out the ERG! website at www.erg-bar.com and use discount code michiganbicyclelaw for 15% off your first order. We suggest trying the 12 Bar Assorted Box to discover your favorite!