Mini Pops has a very intriguing history! With a little dilemma, a BIG idea, and endless perseverance Mini Pops was born! We’ll keep popping and you Read On!!
With the proud ambition of being a famous surgeon, Ari Taube advanced through his college career, and when he realized that he was not 100% certain at the time if medical school was indeed his destined path, he became a certified paramedic working for the City of Boston.
Having reached a pinnacle of his career in the pharmaceutical industry, it was time for a change! Consistent with his enjoyment of business, Ari embarked to become a financial planner. He was very successful, but when the 2008 financial crisis hit Ari’s business segment was disbanded and he, like many people, was laid-off.
|With a wife and 5 children, Ari quickly scrambled to find a job to support his family. Faced with uncertainty and potential long-term unemployment, Ari thought it might be prudent to return to the original college plan and apply to medical school.
During the long application process, Ari took a break and was watching TV one evening and caught a program where he observed a person in Ethiopia eating a popped grain that was identified as sorghum. As a popcorn lover, Ari was intrigued by another grain besides corn that could be popped with heat. He set out to sample some popped sorghum and started calling supermarkets, health food store chains, independent ‘mom and pop’ shops, ethnic food groceries and more. Each time, he asked if they carried ‘popped sorghum’, and each time no one knew what he was talking about let alone carried it.
Ari began to research how to purchase the grain online and purchased 2lbs of it and started popping it in his kitchen. To his delight, popped sorghum was delicious and evidently nutritious.
It was at this moment that a light illuminated in Ari’s mind. He thought to himself, ‘Here is a nutritious and common grain harvested in the USA that pops when heated. It tastes great, AND no one in the entire USA (that I can find) manufactures it?” Ari thought that perhaps it would be a great idea for a new business to start. And that is what Ari did.
Empowered, Ari decided to seriously research and develop a snack food business surrounding the popped sorghum concept. With a solid financial education behind him, Ari incorporated Mini Pops himself in September 2009 to create an official business entity. He began sourcing the grain in the USA and speaking to sorghum farmers from around the country about the different sorghum varieties and their respective attributes. Then, in October 2009 Ari attended the Natural Products Expo in Boston to learn more about the natural foods industry. One major theme he discovered was that most companies didn’t do their own product manufacturing.
So over the next several months, Ari began researching and contacting manufacturers who make popcorn. In the end, interested manufacturers rejected the project because they saw it was risky.
Ari could have given up at this point, but he persevered! Ari looked at buying pre-owned equipment that could get him started. He was also trying to find a steady source of Organic sorghum and flavoring ingredients. Not knowing anyone in the food industry, Ari was on his own.
Ari kept researching and working to get his brilliant idea realized and when he finally rented a warehouse and office space in Stoughton to set up the popping sorghum operation things started coming together. Tapping into his savings and retirement, Ari pulled the manufacturing process together. He made his facility adhere to Board of Health standards was then certified Organic, Certified Gluten Free and Certified Kosher.
Finally, in August 2010, Ari then began what he sought to do over a year earlier – produce packaged popped sorghum grain, now officially known as Mini Pops. He opened an ecommerce website which he designed himself and began selling online. His first, real introduction into the retail market came in September 2010 when Ari took out a booth to exhibit at the Natural Products Expo in Boston – the same show he attended as a guest a year earlier. This was his first presentation of Mini Pops into the natural food industry, and the response was overwhelmingly positive. He started receiving retail orders, interest from distributors and press coverage.
It was at that time that Ari made the life-altering decision to withdraw his applications from medical school and cease to pursue it further. His eye was now on building Mini Pops. Ari saw that there was real potential to make this into a national brand. He developed the packaging, personality and the Mini Pops you know and love!