Interest in eating healthy is growing, but accessing locally sourced or organic foods isn't always easy, especially for those living in the inner city or far flung rural communities.
That dilemma presented Matt Ewer and his wife, Elizabeth Blessing, with a business idea. They are co-founders of Green B.E.A.N. Delivery, an online home delivery service that's making it easier than ever for Midwest residents to eat healthy — all year round.
According the United States Department of Agriculture, nearly 5 percent of all food now purchased is organic and more than half of organic food is purchased in traditional grocery or big box stores. It's no longer the domain of health food stores. Still, it's not always easy for people in cities or rural communities to get find it and that's where Green B.E.A.N. Delivery comes in.
The company brings locally grown organic produce and natural groceries directly to consumer's homes in six Midwestern cities. By connecting Midwest food producers with Midwest communities through its year-round home delivery service, the company has created a sustainable network promoting the health of the community, local economy and the environment. More than 10,000 familiesuse Green B.E.A.N. Delivery, the company said.
"We deliver organic produce and natural groceries directly to our members' doorsteps," Ewer said. "Our company makes healthy, local and sustainably grown foods convenient, affordable and accessible to Midwest communities, while providing an avenue for local artisans and farmers to share their food crafts with the local community."
B.E.A.N is an acronym for the larger initiatives the company is pushing forward: Biodynamic, Education, Agriculture and Nutrition. Green B.E.A.N. Delivery has spawned several sister companies that have been developed to strengthen its multi-faceted approach to advocating sustainability within our current food systems.
Those include: Tiny Footprint Distribution, which distributes locally sourced products to retail establishments, Farm to Kitchen Foods, which sells healthy, shelf stable food with a focus on local and organic ingredients, Break Room Bins, which provides healthy food options for people in the workplace and The Feel Good Farm, which is Green B.E.A.N. Delivery's own certified organic, 60-acre farm in Sheridan, Ind.
BusinessNewsDaily asked Ewer to tell us a little bit more about his successful venture and how his original idea has blossomed into a variety of new businesses.
BusinessNewsDaily: How long have you been in business?
Matt Ewer: My wife, Elizabeth Blessing, and I founded the company in early 2007 and currently service areas of Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky.
BND: Did you have a formal business plan or did your business just evolve naturally?
M.E.: I did have a business plan, but in the same breath, there has been a lot of natural evolution from 2007 to present. There was no blueprint for me to follow, so there has been a good deal of trial and error, creativity and, of course, very hard work. We have been fortunate enough to accumulate an incredible set of employees that share in our vision. They have made our company’s vision come to fruition.
BND: Either way, how close has your business stayed to what you originally envisioned it to be?
M.E.: I often get the question if I expected our company to be where it is today. My short and sweet answer is absolutely. We are on track with what my wife and I envisioned when we started Green B.E.A.N Delivery. That being said, we are at the tip of the iceberg. There is so much for our team to achieve. Right now, I am focused on the agricultural side of our company. We are sowing seeds for the future and establishing "The Feel Good Farm" as a leader in Midwest sustainable agriculture.
My main focus for Green B.E.A.N. Delivery is my favorite department, human resources. We are working to make sure that the success of our company is built through solid design and well thought out technique when it comes to the relationship between employer and employees.
BND: How did you finance your statup?
M.E.: The most important thing that I did to help finance my company is making sure that I understood the business I was entering before I started my company. I took out a very small business loan to start the company and made sound decisions along our growth curve. We are very thankful for the support of the community of Indianapolis. Our members have enabled us to create a dynamic food company. We will continue to diversify our services to the community and educate them about the importance of eating healthy and supporting family farms.
BND: How much did you invest?
M.E.: Everything that I have, both financially and mentally. And, now that we have the farm, you can throw physically in there, as well. At this point, we are investing in the business. We have put everything the company has generated back into the company or the individuals that make the company grow and keep improving.
BND: If you had it to do over again, what would you do differently when starting your business?
M.E.: I wouldn't change anything. Everyone makes mistakes and I have learned from the ones I have made as a company owner. I have learned from mistakes I almost made. I have also learned from our successes and the employees I work with every day. I started the company slow and took a grass roots approach. I have basically performed every position. Now that the company is larger, my managers are starting to teach me lessons about their departments. That is rewarding and shows the power of the culture we have built and are continuing to build upon. I believe that running a company follows a certain evolution. That is often times accompanied by a personal evolution. I learn from my company each day and feel fortunate to have this lesson in my life.
BND: What's your best advice for someone with a great business idea who wants to give it a shot?
M.E.: Have passion for what you choose or don't bother. You have to love your industry and you have to understand why you are entering that mode of business. What impact does it have on community? And, what about that business is going to drive you and the decisions you are going to need to make?
Owning your own business is difficult. There is an endless amount of responsibility and you cannot escape your own business. Love what you do and live what you love. If you have that in you, then go for it. Make conscious decisions and fight your way into the market. Otherwise, continue to clock in and clock out.