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Entrepreneur Profile: Brad Gruno, founder of Brad's Raw Foods

Brad Gruno founder and CEO of Brads Raw Foods
Make a smoothie, eat some homemade pizza and settle in to learn from one of the best in the business! Brad Gruno, founder of Brad's Raw Foods, shares his inspiring road to success (and yes, it involves pizza!)

What was the inspiration for your business? What inspires you daily?

Spreading the word about raw foods, kale and healthy living. You don’t have to make major changes. Just change one thing, like having a green smoothie once a day. This will make a difference in your life. I guarantee it!

What's been your road to success? Were there critical success factors along the way?

  1. Family and friends. They were honest and supportive and gave me the push to step.
  2. Local farmers’ markets, neighbors, acquaintances and strangers gave me the confidence to step.
  3. Local health food stores. Reorders are the key and gave me the incentive to pursue step.
  4. Whole Foods. I hoped for one store and got two and then 38. This gave way to step five.
  5. A real business with real employees and then ever more expansion from one region to 20. At this point, step six.
  6. Moving from direct-to-store shipments to distributors.

Each step was key and could not have been achieved without owning and succeeding in the previous step. 

How has the natural products industry enabled your success?

The entrepreneurs in this space have a more global and human side to them. It’s not all about making money; it’s about making people better, healthier. Healthy people make a healthy planet. We see each other as healthy competition on the store shelves, but outside of that we talk to and mentor each other. We see each other at trade shows and are interested in what we are each doing to grow and expand the space. For each of us to grow the space means more healthy alternatives for the consumers in their local grocery stores. It’s all about the big picture.

What do you wish you'd known early on in your business?

The length of time some things take. When I look back at what we’ve accomplished in a relatively short amount of time, it’s awesome; but when you’re in the midst of it, some things just seem to take forever. Though, if I had the chance to do it over, I don’t think I would change or adjust much. I think the key is to push, push, push and stay focused on your goal. All that matters is getting to the goal and each step along the way is progress.

What's on your iPod right now?

My current music preference is the Pandora app. I like the variety of music it offers and always fits whatever I’m doing. My go-to fallback is the Coffeehouse Conversation station. 

How do you spend your free time?

When I do have a free moment, I sit out on my porch overlooking a small lake and watch the wildlife. I see deer, geese and even hummingbirds. The quiet serenity helps clear my brain and I can recharge and re-energize.

What's a guilty pleasure of yours?

I have this Big Green Egg [cooker] that I like to use when entertaining guests. I make the best, organic, fresh pizzas.

What's a personal pet peeve?

My biggest pet peeve is people who lack passion. I mean, what’s the point of living if you aren’t living fully in each and every minute? Get engaged people! You should be in the starring role of you in your life! It is not whether you are right or wrong, you win or lose, it’s that you were there and took a stand and were passionate.

Please share the inside scoop on yourself.

I am never without a map. I meet so many interesting people who come from so many different places and I want to share in their experiences.  

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