ELY – The popular local granola business known as Crapola is relocating its world headquarters.However, Brian Strom denied speculation last week that the successful worldwide operation he owns …
ELY – The popular local granola business known as Crapola is relocating its world headquarters.
However, Brian Strom denied speculation last week that the successful worldwide operation he owns with his wife, Andrea, is moving to a more exotic locale such as New York, Los Angeles, London, Tokyo, or even Babbitt.
“We’re just moving up the street a few blocks to a bigger place,” he said Saturday morning as he prepared boxes of their granola product to be delivered all over the world.
The Stroms just closed on their purchase of the Robertson Building, at the corner of Sheridan Street and Fourth Avenue, that recently housed the Plum Bun Bakery.
“We needed more space, Strom said. “Our new facility will more than double our production capability, and we will have a better commercial vehicle access for deliveries and shipping.”
Crapola is well known around these parts as a fun way to eat healthy. The Stroms brainstormed their idea for a business back in 2007.
As their website indicates, the couple was living the country life on their off-grid homestead in northern Minnesota. That’s when a silly conversation turned into inspiration for their granola business.
“One day I said something like, ‘Wouldn’t it be funny if we made cranberry apple granola and called it Crapola?’ I say lots of things like that, but for some reason the idea actually became a reality. Next thing I knew, a business was born. Be careful what you say in front of your wife. It could change your life forever,” he said.
Crapola combines five organic grains, nuts, dried cranberries and apples, sweetened with maple syrup and honey, promising, according to the package, that it “makes even weird people regular.”
Before long, and without advertising, they had gotten a product of their own creation on store shelves.
“We began to get orders from more stores, and growing the business turned into a full time job,” Brian said.
They outgrew their rental kitchen and built their own production facility in 2009. They outgrew that and five years ago they moved into a bigger facility in downtown Ely that was part of the Ott family’s renovation project at the James Drug building. There they enjoyed much more visibility and even expanded into a retail coffee shop where visitors can watch the production of their many varieties of Crapola.
Strom said their production and distribution needs have grown “unbelievable” in the last couple of years.
“Even in this weird year of 2020 we had a record-breaking sales day,” he said. “I was concerned a bit earlier this year when everything shut down, but our mail-order business really shot up with all the panic buying going on.”
He didn’t confirm any direct connection between their increased Crapola sales and the record-breaking toilet paper sales.
“I’ll just say that we try to keep everyone regular,” he said.
Strom said he ordered a new oven as he prepared to close on the building purchase.
“Our current oven can fit inside the new one we’re getting,” he said.
They hope to open their new facility next spring.
“We are in this for the long haul and this is a great opportunity for us to purchase our own place. When we moved into the James Drug building, we got a taste of the retail business and really liked it. We felt more part of the community and hope to continue on that.”