Justin Anderson, founder of WOATS, is one of those granola kind of guys. Here's a fact about granola: It can be like eating tiny bricks sometimes. And if you have braces, the snack can be a downright menacing.
Anderson knows all about that. When he was 16 he bit into some homemade granola and it broke a bracket on his braces, so, he came up with his own recipe for soft granola. Ten years later, Anderson, who went to TCU and now lives in Fort Worth, has not only taken his product to market, but also to a high-flying place few others have ever been.
What does all this have to do with the president of the United States? Last week, when President Obama tied up the byways and flyways in the most congested little city in our fine state (Austin), Anderson was there too as one of the entrepreneurs who got to meet the president.
Just before he was introduced to President Obama, Anderson handed the president's assistants a package of his Anderson Trail Blueberry Soft Granola, then he told the president his granola assault story, which led to his small business then asked, "It's always been my dream to have one of my products on Air Force One, so I designed this bag of Blueberry Soft Granola to show you."
(No word on if the granola actually made it aboard.)
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Anderson has a lot business passion. Over the past 10 years, he says he's learned a lot from trial and error, but at the end of the day breaks it down to a simple concept, "When it comes down to it, we're selling groceries. Food should be fun, simple and delicious and that's what WOATS is all about."
In addition to getting his soft (and quite yummy) granola on store shelves, Anderson also has a social mission with his Harness Your Inner Oat program that "help kids discover and harness their passions and make a difference in their communities and change the world of the better."
The WOATS company also offers guidance and financial help through a community project program for individuals and groups of kids to preserve a part of the world that inspires them, "whether it be a funding challenged arts program, a local green space, a library or the legacy of a great teacher."
Look for WOATS at Central Market. It's guaranteed not to break a bracket.