Updated: Feb 8
In 2006, Pearl Omphelius and her son Kody started selling the candied nuts they’d been making forever as a side hustle, selling at farmers’ markets and on show routes while also working full-time jobs and going to school. We R Nuts used the Bills’ playoff run as a marketing opportunity to promote their product and offer deals.
As Pearl and Kody refined their product offering and their business model, they steadily grew the business, taking it “full time” in 2013. We R Nuts experimented with seasonal space at The Broadway Market in 2015, and in 2016 moved operations there. In 2018 the product line expanded to include Kettle Korn. During this time, Pearl and Kody consistently hit the growth goals they set for the business.
Then came 2020. Just as We R Nuts and The Broadway Market were gearing up for Easter season, by far the busiest time of the year, COVID-19 shut down the world and business as we know it. For Pearl & Kody, the impact was devastating, as the normally bustling indoor market was a shell of it’s traditional Easter self.
It was during this time of uncertainty that Pearl connected with The Exchange at Beverly Gray. As shutdowns brought the economy to a standstill, The Exchange helped Pearl create and execute a GoFundMe campaign, securing a free grant in addition to the crowd-sourced funds. The funding provided a much-needed revenue injection for the business, helping keep the business afloat at a time it was desperately needed. The Exchange also provided Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) application guidance that helped We R Nuts secure a PPP loan. As a result of the funding, We R Nuts was able to keep the business up and running during the lockdown, and even ramp up their online sales.
The Exchange also helped Pearl and Kody develop a proposal to add a new product line, as well as to collaborate with another local business to expand their market, adding revenue to make up for losses incurred by the pandemic. Moving forward, The Exchange will be working with Pearl to obtain WBE certification, further unlocking We R Nuts capacity to win contracts and increase sales.