Nutty Novelties is a fresh, gourmet nut butter company based in Souderton, PA founded by an enthusiastic young entrepreneur, Caleb Mangum. I first met Caleb in the co-op during one of his product deliveries and couldn’t help but notice his positive energy and genuine delight in being one of our local producers. When we met for the interview, one of the first things I learned about Caleb is that he always wanted to be an entrepreneur and run his own business. Four years into having his own business and loving it, he is demonstrating that being an entrepreneur is a perfect fit for him.
A graduate from Temple University with a major in Psychology and minor in Business, Caleb says it was “a combination of friends and influences” that got him started in the business. Working full time four years ago for a food distributer that specializes in the sales of nuts and trail mixes, among other items, he became friends with the owner of Tabora Farm. One day he asked his friend if he could “squeeze in” at the Lansdale Farmers Market alongside Tabora Farm, one of the anchor vendors at the market. The first year Caleb started out selling a trail mix bar.
During the interview I gleaned a few “lessons learned by trial and error” by a budding business owner. As Caleb describes, “The trail mix bar was not successful because there just wasn’t enough demand for it. Plus, I was starting to have issues with freshness as I was only working the business one day a week.” It wasn’t until the second year at the market that he thought nut butters might be a good idea – ground fresh, right there. “I started bringing the machine to the market and grinding out peanut butter. But that brought along a whole new list of complications: the machine weighed a ton, I had to get electricity, and I learned the hard way that chocolate chips melt in the sun and then become impossible to grind into nut butter."
Any creative business owner might say if there’s a problem, there’s a solution. The solution for Nutty Novelties came in the form of Tabora Farm graciously offering Caleb their location and use of their machine, after hours, to grind everything and then bring it to market on Saturday. So that’s how the business truly started.
Last year Caleb bought his own machine, moved the operation into his own location in Souderton, and committed himself fulltime. “The machine was costly, but it’s certainly more convenient this way.”
Caleb’s advice to other young entrepreneurs: “Without quitting your job, try something you can do on the side and expect to fail. Expect what you try will need some tweaking and adjustments – and it’s all healthy.” Then he adds, “If I hadn’t at least tried something – starting with the trail mix bar which was a total flop – I wouldn’t be here. And ‘here’ is certainly not my final destination – it’s still going to be trial and error. But I’m really glad I tried something.”
Final question asked, “Any ideas for new combinations?” Final answer: I’ve been working on a spicy peanut butter for awhile but I don’t have the right blend yet.”
Stay tuned – but in the meantime, you will have an opportunity to meet Caleb and sample a variety of his nut butters including Chocolate Peanut Butter, Cinnamon Almond Butter, and Honey-Roasted Peanut Butter on Friday, Oct 9, from 12 – 2 pm, and Wednesday, October 21, from 4:30-6:30 pm. All Nutty Novelties products are on sale during the month of October.