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Elizabethtown College Grad gains national notoriety for granola company

Oct 16th, 2010 | By | Category: Features, Front Page

From Elizabethtown College News and Events Site

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Four months after graduating from Elizabethtown College, Sarah Lanphier’s granola company got its first big break: a spot on The Rachael Ray Show. On Sept. 28, 2009, Nuts About Granola was the “Snack of the Day” on the nationally-televised program. Recently, the company had another big break. The E-town grad was contacted by Off The Wall, a company in charge of gift bags at the Emmy Awards. She would hand out bags of her snacks almost a year, to the day, of Nuts About Granola’s Rachael Ray Show appearance.

“When I graduated, I started contacting some of the national media and started to really push the product,” the 23-year-old Lanphier said. “After Rachael Ray, that doubled our sales volume.” Lanphier ’09 said the rise in sales was mostly the result of the local media exposure from York Daily Record, Central Penn Business Journal, York Dispatch and local television stations, which got the word out about the product.

The entrepreneur, who participated in cross country and track and field at Elizabethtown, came up with the idea to sell packages of granola as a fundraiser for the College triathlon team, which she founded as an undergraduate student. During her time as a business administration major with an entrepreneurship concentration, Lanphier went through the steps of turning the fundraiser into a business. She started with a feasibility study, followed by a business plan, and finally created a marketing plan, all in conjunction with the different classes in her major. “I developed my entire business when I was at E-town,” Lanphier said. “Beginning my sophomore year, every project that I had, I used the business.” Then, the summer before her senior year, Lanphier and her mother, Gayle, incorporated the company.

WHAT’S IN THE BAG?

Nuts About Granola offers 11 varieties including three flavors dubbed “The original trio”: College Staple (a blend of dried cranberries and peanut butter granola to recreate a PB&J), Lover’s Combo (chocolate chips and peanut butter granola) and Plain Jane (peanut butter granola). The mother-daughter team relies on fresh products from the area to make their granola treats, Lanphier said. “We’re really big on buying local. We don’t sell to national chains; we stick to locally independently owned stores.” Lanphier said most of the company sales come from wholesale markets like Darrenkamp’s in Elizabethtown, Square One Coffee in Lancaster, and Brown’s Orchards in York. Of course, the healthy snacks also are available at the College’s Jay’s Nest. Their products can be purchased on the company’s WEBSITE, where shoppers have the option of buying two- and 13-ounce bags or cases of granola.

ON THE RISE

Recently, after posting their product on Etsy.com, a site Lanphier calls “the marketplace for handmade goods,” she was contacted by Off The Wall and was offered an opportunity to hand out 700 bags of her granola at the 31st News and Documentary Emmy Awards on Wednesday, Sept. 27, in New York City. Attached to the packages as advertisement are Nuts About Granola postcards. The Blue Jay alum thinks the appearance and notoriety will help the upstart business. “It will add more creditability to our company and the product,” Lanphier said.

Regional growth is a top priority. She said she wants the see the company reach York, Lancaster, Maryland and Philadelphia. As for 2011, Lanphier said the company’s focus is going to be to increase their online presence and to rework their website to maximize exposure. The company already has a Facebook page and Twitter account in place. “We’re going to integrate more social media into our website,” the entrepreneur said. “We’re really big into social media.”

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