In June 2007, Brian and Andrea Strom were living the country life on their very own off-grid homestead in northern Minnesota. That's when a silly conversation turned into inspiration for their granola business. One day Brian said something like, "Wouldn't it be funny if we made cranberry apple granola and called it Crapola?". Next thing they knew, a business was born.
Somehow Brian and Andrea convinced themselves to actually pursue the idea. With no experience, funding or business plan, they began the slow process of bringing the idea to life. The first test batches of Crapola! Granola were made on a wood-fired cook stove at their cabin, where they hosted a granola tasting party with friends to get feedback on the prototype recipes.
Twelve attempts later, the recipe was perfected and ready for the big time. Crapola! Granola was officially launched in June 2007 at a local farmers market – and it was a hit! By the end of the summer, Crapola! was encouraged to approach local grocers to ask if they would carry the granola. Sales were modest at first, but the brand ultimately caught fire. Crapola! gained a local following and was even mentioned by Jay Leno on the Tonight Show, just four months after its inception.
Before Brian and Andrea knew what was going on, the Crapola! brand had momentum. It was surprising that without advertising they had gotten a product of their own creation onto store shelves. Orders from more stores began coming in, and growing the business turned into a full-time job. The couple outgrew the rental kitchen and built their own production facility in 2009. Who would have ever believed that a silly joke could go this far?
Since their humble beginnings, Crapola! has grown its product line and distribution area. Brian and Andrea have had a lot of fun marketing their granola, but they are serious when it comes to quality. Just like they learned in farming, it's worth taking the extra time and effort to do things the best way.
By 2021, the couple was ready to begin the next step of their adventure: changing Crapola! Granola to Brainstorm Bakery and expanding their business beyond the world of granola. We look forward to seeing what they're cooking up next!
Find Brainstorm Bakery's Crapola!, Number Two, Colon-ial Times and Kissypoo granolas in the Grocery Department of your nearest Kowalski's location. Selection and availability vary by market.