Sandro Gerbini of Delmar is the Founder & CEO of Gatherer's Granola. A Bethlethem Central Schools and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute graduate, he founded the business in 2010.
What inspired you start the Granola business?
Gatherer's began with a delicious family recipe. My mother had designed a granola made with almonds, maple syrup, and peanut butter that was an instant favorite. Friends and family members that had tried it were instant fans and regularly requested mason jars full of it whenever they would visit. It was that recipe, introduced at a local farmers' market, that created the momentum necessary for a small company to be formed. The customers at the market proved to me that my mother's recipe wasn't just another granola in a crowded marketplace, but was something quite special. From a business perspective, her recipe represented a significant departure from the status quo that spoke to a latent demand among consumers that wasn't being addressed by other granola brands. Customers wanted something that was designed, first and foremost, to be truly delicious and not simply another bland excuse for breakfast that addressed concerns of price and nutritional claims. Taste was the first thing that customers would notice when they tried a sample of our granola, "Wow, this isn't anything like the store brands."
What is your favorite thing about your work?
Being an entrepreneur is a thrilling experience. Whether you are creating a granola brand or launching the next disruptive technology, the life of a founder is one that involves a fascinating dynamic of risk and reward. There is hardly ever a boring moment when you are the one ultimately responsible for all of your company's successes and failures. I love that quality to my work in Gatherer's, it is incredibly exciting and constantly presents me with opportunities to grow. I also love Gatherer's products. Designing them is a joyful experience and I'm proud to be part of making something excellent.
What’s your favorite granola flavor?
I don't play favorites with Gatherer's flavors. They each serve different purposes for me: Squirrel Bait is great with yogurt. Chipmunk's Choice is unbeatable on ice cream, especially Peanut Butter Pandemonium from Stewart's. Badger's Best and Bee's Knees are both excellent in milk. Turtle Tracks I eat right out of the bag.
Our most popular flavor is Squirrel Bait, a granola featuring locally sourced maple syrup, pecans and toasted coconut. We call it our "gateway granola," as many of our customers choose Squirrel Bait first, then expand their pallet to include fondness for our other flavors.
Hobbies when not working?
I like to dedicate my free time to creative pursuits. I have lofty goals for creative writing and I'm in the process of starting a podcast. I'm also an avid gamer, though that is increasingly losing ground to work and other pursuits.
Favorite hiking snack – other than granola?
Nuts and dark chocolate. Especially pecans and almonds.
Watch Sandro on-air with AHA! A House for Arts Wednesday, May 9 at 7:30pm. Watch anytime, anywhere online.