In our new Supplier Stories series, we’re featuring our wonderful suppliers! So many of them have special stories, from women entrepreneurs to family farms to mission-driven folks who want to make a difference. Some are local—only available in a couple of stores—while others are growing along with us. Follow along as we share their tales.
Find Justin’s products in all U.S. stores and load the lunch box! Bonus: Justin’s Almond Butters (16 oz) are on sale for $9.99 from August 16 through 22!*
It started with a good idea, a simple food processor and a love for local ingredients. But mostly, it started with a guy named Justin.
In 2004, as a vegetarian living an active lifestyle in Boulder, Colo., Justin Gold had made nut butter a staple in his diet — but plain old peanut butter just wasn’t cutting it. Ever curious about new flavors, he’d been filling his cabinets with an assortment of experimental nut butters made in his home kitchen.
They were good. Like, really good. And his roommates thought so too. Fed up after they kept stealing his homemade butters, Justin began writing his name on the jar — along with a polite but firm note: “DO NOT EAT!” And thus was born the Justin’s brand.
Whole Foods Market: Justin’s First Retailer
The hobby grew, and Justin’s family and friends encouraged him to sell his nut butter at the Boulder Farmers’ Market. Not surprisingly, attendees loved it. He then hit the shelves of Whole Foods Market (his first retailer!) and it grew from there — along with his line of products: New flavors, squeeze packs and the all-time classic Justin’s peanut butter cups.
After that, a loan from Whole Foods Market’s Local Producer Loan Program helped put Justin’s on the map (or all over it, really). He certainly paid it forward, because years later, Justin became the founding member of the Microloan a Month Fund from the Whole Planet Foundation. Justin’s now funds a microloan every month for Whole Planet Foundation, creating opportunities for suppliers of any size to alleviate poverty worldwide.
With an average first loan size of $187, such loans help entrepreneurs (88 percent of them women) around the US and the world turn their own good ideas into a living…just like Justin’s did those 13 years ago.
*Valid 8/16 - 8/22/17. While supplies last. Not valid at Whole Foods Market 365™ stores. U.S. only. No rain checks.