Snack Attack When market pressures forced these entrepreneurs to re-evaluate, going nuts was not an option.
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Jon and Dan Levy are definitely not nuts. Sure, they're passionate about nuts, but these no-nonsense guys don't let passion blind them from making good financial decisions. Dan, the founder of Nuts Are Good!, and his brother, Jon, who joined the company soon after it launched, started selling fresh-roasted cinnamon-flavored almonds from a mall kiosk in 1988. Business boomed, and that early success catapulted the company into volume distribution.
Roasting almonds was Jon and Dan's life--until the price of raw almonds more than doubled. "Prices started climbing in 2005 and they didn't stop until almost 2007," says Dan. "It looked like our sales volume was going to come to a screeching halt." As prices rose, Jon, 41, and Dan, 43, decided to explore more price-competitive snack items, like flavored peanuts and granola. "Granola--even with organic oats--is a lot cheaper than nuts," says Dan. "And with snack mixes, even if one ingredient goes up [in price], it doesn't shatter your profit margin."