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When Joel Clark, president of Kodiak Cakes, was eight years old, he was selling his grandpa’s made-from-scratch pancake recipe in a little red wagon to the neighbors. Jump ahead about 15 years and Clark was selling the recipe to a few gift shops in Salt Lake City.
The next step? Packing about 19 cases of 100 percent whole grain product into a car with his brother Jon, driving to Jackson Hole, Wyo. and Sun Valley, Idaho, and selling completely out of pancake mixes.
Now, Kodiak Cakes’ pancakes have been picked up by Target to be sold in 1,600 stores.
“We met them at a trade show, ‘The Fancy Food Show’ in San Francisco,” said Clark about his first run-in with Target. “We just kept following up. They put us in about 40 stores in California and Colorado as a trial run last year.”
According to Clark, the plan is to get more Kodiak products into Target and continue a national expansion. He noted that the trends are finally in favor of healthier products, which gives Kodiak a great push.
“Any success is such a group or team effort. There are so many people that have been involved and put their heart and souls in to it,” Clark said. “It’s validating that a small bootstrapped company can go and compete on the national level. You spend so much time pursuing something that you don’t know if it will work out.”
Clark said it is innovators with entrepreneurial ideas who will create the jobs the economy needs. And young people should not be underestimated, he said, noting that his national sales director, Cameron Smith, landed the Target expansion on his first solo business trip, fresh out of school at the age of 26.
“You just have to empower them and enable them and they can really do a lot,” he said.
For more information about Kodiak Cakes, including recipes and products, visit: http://www.kodiakcakes.com/