Ever since Morley Baker can remember, his father Bob has been in the business of processing nuts — specifically almonds and walnuts. Bob Baker’s work shoes always smelled like walnut oil, Morley Baker recalled, and he also remembers visiting the plant where the walnuts were cleaned and processed and snacking on them.
“Nuts and dried fruit ... has just been a part of my life (and) especially my dad’s life forever,” Morley Baker said. So starting a family business based on dried fruit and nuts just made sense.
The company, Eatables, first got its start as the side business of Bob Baker and his wife Paige, after they had moved to Colorado from California. Bob Baker said he basically continued serving all the same customers he had while living in California, supplying them with almonds and walnuts as well as nuts from all over the world, dried fruits and legumes. Using his connections and industry friends, including the growers Bob Baker worked with one on one, he got involved with some people who he said had large amounts of product they needed sold.
Paige Baker turned to Facebook and email to spread the word about the almonds and walnuts she and her husband were selling cheaper than what people could find in grocery stores. However, Bob Baker was used to selling almonds and walnuts in huge quantities — 25 pounds or more. His wife, Bob Baker said, really was the one who took care of putting the product in smaller packages.
“I would say the brainchild of this whole thing from the inception was my wife,” Bob Baker said.
Paige Baker said she was just astounded at the kinds of deals her husband was privy to through his connections.
“I just kept thinking ... this is such an awesome value and I wish more people had access to this,” she said.
Eventually the family moved one more time, to Mapleton, Utah. Paige and Bob Baker continued to discuss how they could grow their business, perhaps through social media, and that’s when their son Morley Baker asked to take the lead. Morley Baker graduated from BYU in April of this year where he studied economics and information systems. Since graduating, he’s taken on the role of chief marketing officer of Eatables.
Morley Baker said he and his parents quickly discovered that acquiring customers through means like Facebook advertising was expensive and ineffective, so Morley Baker decided to use connections he had made while in school to approach local businesses and companies to ask if Eatables could supply their office snacks.
“We’re at the point now where we’re strictly an office snack company and we love it,” Morley Baker said.
Companies can sign up for subscription boxes and have Eatables products shipped to them in customizable size and frequency. Business can also customize what snacks they want to come in the boxes. Some notable companies currently buying snacks from Eatables include WeWork, Wayfair call center, Weave, Lucid, Digicert, and most recently Costa Vida’s corporate headquarters.
“The response has been kind of interesting,” Morley Baker said. “We have become this ‘better for you’ office snack company.”
Eatables is still a small company that continues to grow — packages are no longer hand packed in the Baker home, rather, a company in Ogden does the packaging. Up until recently, the boxes were hand-delivered, but Morley Baker said the company has begun to use a shipping and distribution service solution for their deliveries.
At the end of the day, the most important thing to the Baker family is the quality of the goods they produce.
“I’ve worked with actual (grower) sources,” Bob Baker said. “When people talk about farm to table and all those kind of ... keywords that are used nowadays, it’s hard to determine if they’re just using those keywords as a marketing ploy.”
What people buy from stores, Bob Baker said, isn’t always what they think it is — the product can be old, or for example a bag of almonds might be made up of several different kinds of almonds coming from different places.
“We have a really direct source of what’s going on and where the product is coming from and ... what the quality is,” Bob Baker said. “We are providing higher quality product even though the consumer may not care.”
Besides providing people with high-quality snacks, Morley Baker said as Eatables grow, they plan to give back to the community in other ways, donating funds to different nonprofit organizations.
“We’re very passionate about lifting and elevating the economic well being of our communities,” Morley Baker said, “And giving back.”
Along with the usual challenges that come with starting a business, it’s been a learning curve to learn to work with family members. Specifically, for Bob and Paige Baker, bringing on one of their children.
“We’ve been quite cognizant of the fact that this is something that could go horribly awry and we do not want it to negatively impact our family at all because we really value our family and the relationships that we’ve grown and worked on,” Paige Baker said. “So it’s something that we really talk about a lot. We want this to be a positive that grows the family closer.”
Paige Baker said she and her husband are constantly trying to think of ways to involve their other children, playing to the individual talents and strengths that they bring to the table.
“You cannot separate business and family,” Bob Baker said. “If there’s a personal family problem that needs to be discussed, then that needs to be taken care of before business gets done.”
Morley Baker said he’s always been close to his father, who he described as his “go-to” for all of life’s questions, but launching Eatables put a lot of pressure on their relationship. It’s taken some difficult conversations, Morley Baker said, but they’ve been able to figure things out together.
“It’s been phenomenal working with him and I stand to learn a ton from him,” Morley Baker said. “We’ve been able to work it out and it’s fantastic working together. I love it.”