BY KELSEY O’CONNOR
Energy bars are popular with athletes and anyone leading a busy and on-the-go lifestyle. The problem with so many bars on the market, however, is their disturbingly long shelf life—a year or two for many popular brands.
That can’t be good, Tracy Gates and Rebecca Walter reason. “When you’re getting toward a year, it’s hard to imagine that’s a fresh, healthy option,” says Walter.
Gates and Walter decided to offer up a better choice: UGo Bars.
Walter is a track-and-field assistant coach at IU who began experimenting with granola bar recipes to meet her desire for fresh and nutritious snacks on the road. Gates is a manager at Scholars Inn Bakehouse. “It was the perfect pairing of talent and experience to actually get it going,” says Walter.
UGo Bars are all natural and made in Bloomington, where Gates and Walter manage every aspect of production, from cooking to packaging to labeling. The two flavors currently available, Ultra (cherry and cacao) and Anutter (sweet and salty), are a mix of nuts, dried fruit, and seeds, all from the Hoosier state. Each bar contains approximately 220 calories. Local stores started stocking the bars in August. Individual orders can also be shipped anywhere in the country.
The business partners would be happy to see their product line and sales grow, but not without the kind of quality control they value so highly. “We want to sell them just at local stores,” says Gates. “We don’t want to go to mass retailers.”
Another goal is to use part of the proceeds to sponsor athletes, and many runners coached by Walter go on to be Olympic hopefuls. “It would be nice to be able to get them a little travel money, a little gear, a little community support,” she says.
A single bar costs $2.69 and packages of 12 will soon be available. UGo Bars are available at many independent retailers, including Bloomingfoods, Indiana Running Company, and The Book Corner. Orders can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.