Garrett's Granola with Garrett Lamb
A one-man show, Garrett's Granola is a San Francisco-made small business working to deliver some "extraordinary snacking." Little do some people know, Garrett's Granola also holds an extraordinary story.
Before 2014, founder Garrett Lamb was working for after-school programs. “I loved working with kids,” Lamb said. “But it wasn’t going to pay the bills.”
At the time, Lamb was making his special homemade granola for various people in his life. “The kids I worked with called me Mr. Granola,” Lamb laughed.
As Lamb contemplated whether he would continue his work with children or forge a new path, he was met with unfortunate circumstances. In 2006, Lamb was diagnosed with cancer. Only 26-years old at the time, Lamb fought through and made it to the other side. While a harrowing experience, Lamb was left with a new perspective and enough conviction to start his own business.
So Lamb set to work on Garrett's Granola, taking his life into his own hands and finally working for himself. However, the business was also a chance for Lamb to support those that went through the same experience he did. So, he vowed to donate a percentage of his sales to Stupid Cancer, an organization for adolescent and young adult cancer patients, every single month.
“That’s part of how the company started; I wanted to give back and help others who might need it,” Lamb said.
Funnily enough, the beginnings of Garrett’s Granola happened in Lyft drives. While driving for Lyft in San Francisco, Lamb shared free samples of his granola with his passengers, brightening their mornings. Some invited him up to their offices, and his business grew with each office he agreed to supply.
Later, Lamb secured into stores around the Bay Area, such as Mollie Stone’s Markets and Berkeley Bowl. During that time, Lamb was the sole employee of Garrett’s Granola — baker, packer, delivery driver, manager and all.
“I was baking 2 days a week, which takes 4-5 hours a day, packaging the other days, delivering on Thursday and Friday,” Lamb said.
And the kicker? To this day, 6 years later, Lamb is still the only employee.
He said the success he achieved on his own involved a long process of learning on the job and improving himself. Not everyone can do that; but Lamb’s character proves him worthy. “I love learning stuff and I’m not afraid to make mistakes,” he said.
Lamb's dedication also drove him to continue expanding, scoping out the farmers market sphere as his next target. However, those plans shifted when yet another bump in the road arrived: the pandemic.
A majority of the offices he supplied — 50-60% of his revenue — disappeared over the course of the first lockdowns. Lamb said COVID-19 caused a big hit to the business.
“I had to say to myself, ‘Ok, am I going to give up or keep going and pushing,’” Lamb said.
Lamb persevered. He was still able to experience the spirit and community of farmers markets this summer, and has continued to supply stores and new partners like Farmers Market on Wheels.
So what makes Garrett’s Granola so much better than your boring name-brand kind? According to Lamb, it's the fun flavors.
“I’d like to call myself the Ben and Jerry’s of granola,” Lamb said.
In addition, Lamb sources his ingredients locally; dried fruit from a guy in East Bay and oats and seeds from South San Francisco were some of the examples Lamb listed off.
Lamb detailed the process for his infamous Coffee and Cream blend. The coffee flavor is infused in the honey-agave syrup that Lamb pours over the oats and other fillings. Then, little freeze-dried coffee grounds are sprinkled on top to add even more coffee flavor, with white chocolate drizzled at the end for the “cream.” Sounds like an absolute crowd-pleaser to me, and that is exactly Lamb's intention.
“I want the granola to be a fun experience that people can enjoy and share with others,” Lamb said.
In essence, while a delicious snack for all times of the day, Garrett’s Granola is a treat, an activity, a way to sit back and “enjoy the little moments."
And, as Lamb put it, to “be mindful of the time we have here.”