Briarcliff Manor resident Barb Kobren (aka “BobbySue”) and a friend, both board members at the Westchester SPCA, were brainstorming fundraising ideas for their cause while snacking on homemade seasoned nuts (a Kobren family recipe) when the idea struck: Why not sell the deliciously spiced and roasted pecans, cashews, and almonds and donate the proceeds?
And so BobbySue’s Nuts was born. In the eight years since then, the company has grown steadily, increasing distribution to large chains such as Whole Foods. From 2011 through last year, the company experienced a compound annual growth rate of 47 percent, jumped from 150 to over 1,000 retailers, and increased e-commerce volume by more than 500 percent — while continually supporting animal-welfare causes.
“We’re committed to giving 2 percent of profit, or at least $5,000 a year, no matter what; we’ll take a loss before the SPCA will,” says company president Adam Kobren, Barb’s son, who joined the business in 2011. (BobbySue’s Nuts has donated $50,000 in total over the years.)
While the Kobrens have continued to update packaging and increase production, the recipes themselves will not change. “Whether making small batches or cooking 400 pounds, our process remains the same. We don’t cut corners, and that’s why we’ve become a premium product,” Barb explains.
Apparently the food industry agrees: BobbySue’s Nuts recently received top honors at the Specialty Food Association awards. “I am humbled to be in a position where dedication to product and mission has put success within my grasp,” Barb says.