An Oak Park business is changing the way people think about fundraising and nutrition.
Paul Beckwith and his daughter Angie Maguire began partnering with other Oak Park residents and food and retail professionals a year ago to create Go! Go! Go! Bars, an energy bar brand.
After discovering that many fundraisers did not feature healthy options, Beckwith decided to use his food broker experience and extensive business knowledge to create a nutritious alternative.
This will sound a bit like a word problem on the SAT, but here’s how it works: there are 12 energy bars in a box. A group could order a box and sell it for $15, which divvies up to $1.25 per bar. The organization would then pay the company a fixed rate of $9 and keep $6.
The $15 dollar selling price is just a suggestion, though, Maguire said. An organization could decide to sell a box for $20, for example, and they would still only owe $9 on their sell.
if i may be so BOLD talked with Maguire, a former swimmer, Oak Park and River Forest High School alum, nurse and mom of three about business, fundraising and joining forces with her dad.
if i may be so BOLD (IIMBSB): When and how did Go! Go! Go! Bars get started?
Angie Maguire (AM): The idea started with my dad. He’s been in the food brokers business for over 25 years. He had an idea to create bars for fundraisers. He’s the brains and the entrepreneur behind this. That’s how it came about.
His two main goals were to have a healthy product and make an online system to order and process payments; something that was easy and accessible.
The idea started about a year ago. We didn’t have a product until early October.
IIMBSB: What challenges did you face in those early days, weeks, months of the business?
AM: We’re learning everyday about the business. It’s challenging to change people’s ideas about what to sell in a fundraiser. We’ve been very naturally moving forward, but it has taken more time than we thought. Initially we thought people were going to be like, “Yes! We’re not going to sell our cotton candy anymore!” [laughs]. But [the process] has been about building relationships, getting people to taste the product and accessing coaches.
IIMBSB: What has been the most gratifying part of starting GO! GO! GO! Bars so far?
AM: I’m so proud to work with anyone in Oak Park. Talking to kids and empowering them has also been gratifying. There is some education that goes along with that as well. Everyone wants to put good things in their body.
IIMBSB: You’re a former competitive swimmer, registered nurse and mother of three. How do all of those skills come into play in your business?
AM: My relationships with people, my ability to communicate and being able to handle conflict are the kind of skills you use as a nurse, an athlete and a mom of three. It also helps to have grown up [in Oak Park] and live here. There are so many great, interesting people in Oak Park and I’m fortunate to know quite a few of them. It feels like you can be successful here.
IIMBSB: What has it been like working with your father?
AM: It’s been fun to be in his world. It’s been fun to be around him and even understand myself a bit more.
IIMBSB: What are some of your short term goals for your business?
AM: We have seven sales team members. We would like to have 20 by the end of the year or earlier. Twenty is my dad’s magic number. [Also] connect with larger corporations. But certainly we’re going to get started right here in Oak Park.
We have two items right now, chocolate chip and peanut butter energy bars. We’d like to have five to seven in a few months and 10 by the end of the year.
IIMBSB: Any long term goals?
AM: We want to be a nationally known fundraising company and have several more items [such as trail mix].
IIMBSB: What makes Go! Go! Go! Bars a bold endeavor for you?
AM: It’s a whole new world for me. It’s transitioning into the business world. [I’ve been a nurse for 20 years] my nursing colleagues are definitely asking, “What are you doing?” but it feels right.