Jeremy Weisz 7:32
Cameron, I’d love to hear what it was like growing up, what were your parents like growing up.
Cameron Healy 7:39
You know, I’m a baby boomer. I’m right, sort of statistically in the middle of the age group of the baby boomers. And so my parents were sweethearts when they were 15 years old. My father went off to war when he was 18, almost 19 and, you know, saw a lot of combat in the 10th Mountain Division and the Italian mountains and came back survived that and they married and he went to college on GI Bill my mother went through college in Oregon. During the war, she said there weren’t many men there at the University of Oregon during the war, but they all came back with GI bills. But anyway, my father by the late 40s at a bachelor’s degree and in the first child was my sister who was born in 1949. And they moved from Portland, Oregon to a place called Bend Oregon, which was a little mill town about three hours from Portland. Managed my father had a job to manage a furniture store that had been the original furniture store in that region founded in 1916. This father who was a furniture manufacturer had some interest in and so they moved over there pregnant with me 1950 I was born in 51 and you know it was a pretty ideally place to grow up it was a little Milltown was
Jeremy Weisz 9:13
I’ve heard amazing things about Bend
Cameron Healy 9:15
Oh, yeah, it’s real fast growing place now but it’s, it’s got a it’s got you know, it’s at the foot of the Cascades, the side of the Cascades. One side is the mountains. The other side is the high desert. river runs right through it. Yeah, very pristine kind of place. And, you know, the timber cutting trees and making lumber was the dominant industry and in hunting and fishing was the dominant sport. My father having grown up skiing on Mount Hood in Oregon, and Ben in the 10th Mountain Division trained in Colorado. Mountain warfare was a lover of the mountains. And so we’re moving over to Bend oregon. You can have With a local ski club there, they’ve been started by Scandinavian timber industry workers 1927 and started hiking up this mountain called gold mount bachelor and skiing down. And they talked about for decades, that mountain had always had beautiful play ample snow and dry snow and beautiful mountains. So he got, my father got the idea to start a ski resort up there, and he opened his ski resort, I had a hard time getting local people to invest because they didn’t think that people would travel very far to come skiing in Central Oregon. And he persevered and opened it with a rope tow and apama left and a little warming lodge 19 when I was seven years old, and I was there skiing the first day it was open. But so I grew up in the ski resort industry. And I grew up on that mountain. And my father was a was an entrepreneur and I, I learned by observing not knowing that I was learning, but in a way, he kind of groomed me to follow in his footsteps. Eventually, my mother was college educated degree a degree in interior design. And so they ran this furniture store, as well my mother would design, you know, space for clients and organize furniture for them to put in their spaces. And beyond the ‘50s was a great economic boom, the ‘50s and the ‘60s. And it was good. But my father’s real passionate love was skiing and building the ski resort. And they ran this, this, this retail furniture store until the ‘70s and eventually closed it and sold, sold the building. But the office for the ski resort for years was right in the furniture store. So it was pretty, pretty humble beginnings. But ultimately the ski resort grew into a world class ski resort as a destination. And my father was one of the early people that saw that a vision for Central Oregon, to not just be a place that people would come in winter, and go skiing, but to be a year round destination, recreation based economy. And that’s that’s essentially how it’s evolved today. And I think I think you’d be happy with it. It’s just you know, it’s grown lots of arms and legs and population is many, many fold what it was when he was alive, but you know, I I was lucky enough to assimilate his strengths with managing people and following a vision and watching him sweat through the hard years. And the hard days when it didn’t snow and in my mother had a great aesthetic sense and a good eye. And I think I got some of that from my mom, but they were great parents. And it was low. You know, it was kind of an Irish Catholic town when my family arrived there. So I grew up in that in that community. And my old my old school is now a pub in a brewery with the classrooms turned into hotel rooms, and they seek a visit often when you go Yeah, well, I have a room that’s named after me when they the McMenamin brothers and have 50 historical sites where they convert them to these lifestyle places. And they do this because it was the former owned by the former Catholic Church and part of the Catholic community. They interviewed a lot of people from the community, including myself and my sister. But later they came back and said we’re renaming rooms after different characters and we’d like to name a room and tell your story inside and so they did inside the room with kind of a cobbled together bio that was a little bit embarrassing. My mother on the opening day came and read it and she raised her eyebrows I think emphasized my counterculture LSD days a little bit too much. But anyway, it’s still there and I get to stay there occasionally. I don’t get a discount. And
Jeremy Weisz 14:27
Cameron told me um, you mentioned your dad and you learned a lot observing what were some of the lessons you learn that you then took into your businesses.
Cameron Healy 14:37
What I you know, what I learned from my dad was really the courage to follow your convictions and believe in leaving what’s possible. And also to over you know, overcome barriers that get put in front of you when may it may be a lack of funding to move things forward, you know, capital the way you want, or, you know, problems where, you know, the equipment breaks down, and customers are not happy. And, you know, I watched him I watched him deal with that. But you know, really around, you know, following your passion, having a passion, and staying true to that for years and decades and build on it. So systematically, and also building an organization, culture that is very people centric, that has a lot of respect for the employees, and really creating a community, a kind of a culture, a culture and a community around your mission of the business. And so I very much took those and I took those with me, which I didn’t know I had those until I started my first business at age 21. I just did it on impulse, but found there was kind of some hard wiring for some of these kind of values, I guess, around and approaches to running a business.
Jeremy Weisz 16:22
So take me back, you’re 21 What’s your idea?
Cameron Healy 16:28
Well, I’m, I’m 21. You know, I mentioned I’m a baby boomer, and, you know, it was very much a product of the ‘60s time. I was finishing high school and going to college, I my hair was getting pretty long and and, you know, my beliefs in, you know, a generate the power of a generation through music and alternative lifestyle choices that we could build a better world. Vietnam War was continuing to rage. I had no, right, right, first year into college was 1969. University of Washington, it was a hotbed for student anti war protests, and I got pretty much swept up into that movement. And you know, all the alternative values that go with that. So, you know, my dad was a world war two veteran, and, you know, we didn’t, we didn’t see III politically, ultimately, you know, I went away to college for an education, I think, more of my education was the environment of college, then, then probably the classroom part of it, but I, you know, my own way I thrive, but you know, my parents didn’t really understand my path, as many parents did. But by the time I was 21, I had just finished my junior year of college, I by then had moved back to Oregon. I’m an Oregon native, I was at the University of Oregon, but I had adopted as part of my counterculture path, that previous summer, which was 1970, I’d gone to Japan with a close friend, we had checked for seven weeks at a really amazing trip, but it really kind of turned into a way of kind of a spiritual journey where we met people along the way, Westerners as well as Japanese were practicing Zen meditation. We stayed on a commune, the southern island of Japan of Kyushu, a hippie commune of Japanese that were practicing yoga and chanting to Shiva and Rama and singing Bob Dylan songs, even though none of them spoke English. But came back from that trip, both of us kind of looking for kind of an Eastern spiritual discipline, and ultimately landed on a yoga lifestyle lynnie Yoga. And so why time I was 21 I was living in a local linear yoga ashram, wearing a turban and growing my beard long. I already had a long beard, but it got to roll long, longer. I wrapped my long hair in the turban and I was getting up at three in the morning and practicing yoga as a group in our little yoga commune. Three hours a day and teaching yoga. And I was just come back from a yoga festival in California summer solstice festival. And I had planned to go to college that summer just to get it done. Get my senior year done early. And I went to the first class and just realized I couldn’t couldn’t sit in a classroom for the summer. I literally got up and walked out and what got my refund and, you know, it’s like, oh, yeah, I gotta get a job. I guess Do something to this summer and a friend in our yoga community said, Hey, I know this is these hippies in in town here that have this little bakery in the back of a of a natural food store and they want to get out of it. They want to sell it and someone’s I said, Let’s go see it. Let’s go check it out. And it was in the back of this is natural food store that was owned by the Kesey family and the Kesey family. They’re well known family member Ken Kesey, who was a writer and wrote the book One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest is made into film. The book The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test was written about him in the early 60s and their bus tour across the country with a Merry Pranksters taking LSD. But anyway, that was Ken Kesey and was his brother and sister in law that ran the Creamery in the family, Creamery. They were making a new yogurt called Nancy’s yogurt. And they also had this natural food store and, and it was a real, you know, hippie scene was going on Eugene is actually Springfield, outside of Eugene. But anyway, I made a deal on this little bakery and I borrowed $1,000 from my sister. And we wrote a contract on a piece of cardboard that I would pay him the balance, I think. I think I bought it for $2,000 and pay off the balance over the summer, and got the recipes. It was a going concern had customers making whole grain breads and carob brownies. I don’t know if you’ve ever heard of carob. But yeah, one time chocolate was evil in the early days of natural foods, and carob was the alternative. We also made granola. And so we took it over and with the idea of employing people in our yoga community. And so I spent the summer working hard and teaching yoga and practicing yoga. And
Jeremy Weisz 22:06
do you have any reservations at the time, I mean, it seems like a big undertaking to just take over,
Cameron Healy 22:11
not a not a single reservation, just like, Hey, this is cool, this, this fits this will, this will serve our community, it was really about creating jobs and doing right livelihood. And Eugene, Oregon, in that era was a real kind of hotbed of cottage, alternative lifestyle businesses, whether it be food or clothing, or, you know, other things, there was just this kind of great expression of entrepreneurialship and networking and helping each other. And so is a very great, great, great time to be, you know, doing a business of that, of that type. And, you know, so you know, I was over my head, I didn’t, you know, it’s a steep learning curve, but I bought this little van and, you know, we delivered 15 to 50 gallon garbage, you know, plastic garbage cans full of both granola and, you know, to the stores and sounds great bread and yeah, and now yet. You know, I had to finish college that that after that summer, which dawned on me, I had to do that. But somehow I managed to get through my college time and still run this bakery to let that that last year.
Jeremy Weisz 23:33
What was the then the next milestone for you in business?
Cameron Healy 23:37
Well, the next milestone was at the end of 73, which was a whole been a whole year since I’ve been running the bakery. I got married, I’d met a woman with two children at that previous year’s yoga festival. And she ultimately moved up to Eugene late that summer. So I forgot to mention that I was suddenly thrown into a parenting role in a new relationship at age 21. But the following spring, I got married our Guru came to town and married us and it was also the last day of my my last final in college. So I got married. And I took that final and the plan was to leave Eugene and moved to San Francisco. The business was doing well I had turned it over to the community. It wasn’t something that I was planning to own for myself, but it was kind of a it was kind of an altruistic motive. And so it was left to others that had a good good flow going we’d moved to a new location and and ultimately that that business was called Golden TempleBakery and it ended a few years was solely focused on cereal and grew into $100 million set natural cereal company. Wow. But But I I was not directly involved with it. I so it was summer of ‘73. I wanted to move to San Francisco to be part of the scene there with my new young family but there was a new washroom, Kundalini Yoga ashram opening there. We were all planned to go but ended up going to Bend to leave a few things in storage with my parents, but the the the new washroom fell through, we waited, waited and then it didn’t work out. And so we ended up spending the summer in Bend. And then that fall, moved to a town about two hours away called Salem, Oregon, where I have ancestors that homesteaded there and 1845 off the Oregon Trail. So some deep roots, but it was a pretty quiet little conservative state capitol and wasn’t quite sure if they were ready for family with turbans and we had a long beard and, you know, ready to teach yoga. But anyway, we settled there and found our way. But I quickly by that fall opened a natural food distribution business. Because that natural food was not an industry, it was really more of a movement. But there were all these great innovative products being developed, particularly out of you know, Southern in Northern California, and I saw an opportunity to introduce introduce those to the northwest. And so I made some contacts in California and got some exclusive product lines, mostly yogurt, dairy based products, bought a used refrigerated truck, and started distributing natural food products from Seattle to Washington clear down to the southern border of Oregon to co ops and natural food stores and natural food, buying clubs, what used to exist and kind of grew up with as it became more of an industry. There were, you know, you know, these hippies that would run, you know, semi trucks up from California with all kinds of, you know, manufactured products or running freight. And it was, it was a crazy time, there were a lot a lot of characters and but you felt really linked to a movement. And ultimately, my little business evolved and I bought a competitor. And so we had semi trucks we were running and, you know, delivery trucks and, and our I schrum grew and in Salem, Oregon, and we employed a lot of people both inside of our community and outside of our community, we we also had a natural food restaurant. So you know by now we’re in the mid ‘70s 76 I started having more children. And so really by ‘76, I had four children, and we’re living very communally. And our natural food and distribution business was linked up with Eugene Bakery, we became kind of one big, socialistic experiment. So I really I contributed that distribution business also to our communal, communal entity. And so, you know, that was working pretty well, I was distributing the bakery products, and then by 78, natural food movement and kind of hit a plateau there been a lot of growth, and then things kind of leveled out. And that was an era where the first first events of businesses going out of business, that, you know, nobody really knew what they were doing with all these fledgling natural food businesses were driven by vision and lifestyle, passion, but nobody really had any skills and let alone any capital. So you know, all these businesses were very underfunded. So we saw some of the first I guess you’d call them failures and businesses closing which were sobering and even our business was kind of being run on a shoestring and things got tight. And I I was always sort of the ringleader of expansion and creating new products and opportunities. Excuse me, I’m gonna make some noise mark. I yeah, so I was kind of seeing a look to be a little bit controversial because I always had plans for the next new product and I created Kettle and some some brands. And so I was basically asked to leave the business because the wanted to kind of consolidate it and let it come, you know, calm down a little bit and not try to grow and, and so you know, you’re
Jeremy Weisz 30:08
pushing for more growth.
Cameron Healy 30:10
Yeah, yeah, sort of a misalignment of vision, I guess, or lack of alignment. And so I, I stepped out and not really knowing what we’re going to do. But to backtrack a little bit, some of your listeners, older listeners may remember a product called the Waheguru Chew, which we created, it was actually created on my 22nd birthday, but by some of our fellow communal people, when they were baking granola, they made a little kind of bar made from nuts, nuts, and seeds and honey and, and other things. And then it would harden. And it it, we ended up ultimately packaging and marketing it. And it was really one of the early one of the first energy bars. And it’s not around anymore, but it was around for a few decades. And there’s a lot of people have fond memories of Waheguru Chews. And that name. ism is an Eastern mantra. And it means infinite bliss. So that’s, that was a one of the things we put a lot of focus
Jeremy Weisz 31:25
sounds delicious. Well, just to give people a reference point camera, what were some of the other products on the market, maybe some of the non healthy things on the market, because I totally love the healthy natural products. So I’m sure if I was a part of that movement, I would just devoured everything that was in that in that arena. Well, what else was on the, in the on the market? healthy or not healthy at that time?
Cameron Healy 31:53
Well, you know, the particularly some of the I mean, there were there were brands that were coming out of Los Angeles, that aren’t around anymore. Altadena dairy had a natural yogurt line, there was another yogurt line called continental yogurt that was run made by a small company in LA. It was really very high quality. They made keefer which is now popular, but I introduced Kefir to the northwest, it was kind of an unknown, unknown quantity. Celestial Seasonings, teas from Colorado were at the very beginning. And I Well, I ended up with exclusive distributorship of Celestial Seasonings, teas. You know, I learned I distributed a brand called Barbara’s they had snacks at a potato chip, there was a tortilla chip called have a was a call Have’a chips. They’re still around, and they haven’t changed at all since the ‘70s. And that’s where I kind of learned about the market for chips and distributing those in that in that era. But yeah, there were there were brands, natural food brands that were created. And some have lasted and made the cut some habit. But again, those were heady days of entrepreneurial innovation around the natural food world. And I really believe that mean, it was in those early days, it was just, you know, that was just a niche was for people who would really adopted an you know, an alternative lifestyle. But it was it was a net choose far from being mainstream. But I, I have this belief that, you know, kind of my core core values around that, you know, the world would start opening up and, you know, developing kind of becoming more enlightened around environment and peace and health and how we ate and I believe that natural foods would eventually become mainstream. Were you are you surprised by how quickly or slowly that got adopted? at all? That’s a great question. It seems slow. My time because it did. It did. Now, it did take, you know, a couple. Well, I don’t know, it took just trying to think really wasn’t until the ‘80s. And it started natural food started to be embraced by supermarkets and, you know, in a tentative way, initially but so, you know, that was a good 10, 12 years of very much focusing on the niches.
Jeremy Weisz 34:49
Did you see any key players products or companies help with that, you know, like obviously today we we think of Whole Foods right in Is there any key players that you’re that really kind of sped that up?
Cameron Healy 35:06
key players that exist now?
Jeremy Weisz 35:08
No, like in the ‘80s? Like, nobody brought up
Cameron Healy 35:11
part of the mass market. Exactly. Yeah. Yeah, good question. Sort of those ones that made that transition you know, I don’t know if there’s a crossover
Jeremy Weisz 35:25
product that like some people it’s like tastes good, but it’s super healthy and it kind of converted people that were you know, maybe not the most conscious of their health for more peace or whatever and that converted them but it was because of this prod I don’t know. I think I think gateway product we’ll call it the gateway product.
Cameron Healy 35:46
I mean, to me, which is very personal, but I think one of the ones that that fits that is is KETTLE® Chips. And that’s why it was really created to be to be that one
Jeremy Weisz 36:00
word about KETTLE® Chips
Cameron Healy 36:01
There were juice companies huzzaz juice out of Northern California they were one of those ones that made made that you know, with a very much of a core natural food beginning made that transition to a bigger you know, bigger broader market.
Jeremy Weisz 36:19
So talk about KETTLE® Chips Inception
Cameron Healy 36:22
well the inception was so here right here I am with no job, four kids.
Jeremy Weisz 36:29
I’m stressed out thinking about moving on cortisol calm,
Cameron Healy 36:34
still part of our you know, leader in our community. But I had to sort of figure out what I was gonna do this is May of 1978 I knew I could probably take a month to figure that out. And then I had to start training generating income I kind of looked around for you know, maybe somebody would hire me and natural food space but there were there wasn’t really thing there being a guy with a turban and a beard it kind of limited who wanted to hire you. So I so sorry, this is 19 Yeah, this is 1978 so I had some experience in the natural food industry so I thought I’ll just fall back to what I know and I had a friend who I’d sold a beat up old refrigerated van to a few years before and I asked him if he still had that and he said yeah, it’s behind he was the natural food distribution Seattle and he had said yeah, it’s out sitting in tall grass behind my warehouse. I said well if I can get it running, will you run it so I did and got it running and started distributing raw milk cheese I had a connection with a manufacturer and just started distributing bulk cheese up and down to those same retail customers that evolved into nuts raw nuts you know 50 pound bags of sunflower organic sunflower seeds, cashews, peanuts or pound bags of peanuts and then started oh well I’ve got these nuts I might as well start roasting them set up a little roasting plant in Salem hired a couple people started oil roasting and then dry roasting and the thought well, you got dry roasted nuts let’s make peanut butter and almond butter and cashew butter. So started making those products and you know how to warehouse and add a little Semi Truck by then that when employees were distributing these distributors as well as retailers, but by late 81, I was thinking you know, I really want to create a brand that has the legs to transcend purely that I mean to be a core natural food product, but also to transcend that and and be you know, be a go to product and natural go to product in in mass market in supermarkets. And because I had distributed chips in the 70s I always knew that they turn there was a lot of they had a high velocity of turnover. People like people love their snacks. And so my goal was to we had these oil, these bats of oil roasters for make nuts at that, well, we try to make an cooked batch cooked potato chips the way they did, you know in the early days before it became automated in the 40s and 50s. And had nobody to go to to ask a question. There was nobody around at least at that time. I knew that had done that done it that way. So just start experimenting making a lot of mistakes. After a few months and the new new crop of summer crop of potatoes, suddenly it came out, right? I didn’t know why. But we’re making consistent chips. And so I had, along with that developed a package, hired a designer, he wanted $1,000 to create a logo, which I thought was criminal, but I paid it up,
Jeremy Weisz 40:23
you paid $1,000 for that, that old bakery.
Cameron Healy 40:26
Yeah. And then you’re paying. Yeah, and I could afford neither but. But the fun, the first brand name I designed was actually called pot chips. It’s the same design that KETTLE® Chips has today. But in the East Coast, I learned they call original potato chips cooked in a big VAT, they call them pot chips, because they’re made in a pot. So I show the design to various friends and I got a lot of thumbs down for various reasons, it had too many other connotations. So Kettle was actually the second choice, and printed bags and started out putting hand filling bags that we would hand fill, could make at night in our little nut plant can make 40 cases a night and then started selling them to local natural food stores and distributors. And they were kind of a hit right out of the chute. And so after several months, I knew I needed to expand capacity. And I talked to a landlord into building a building across the parking lot from my, my little plant, my little nut plant, which he did, and then I ordered all the wrong equipment to expand and talk to a banker into which he shouldn’t have done in loaning the money for that. And anyway, got that put together by the fall and, you know, expanded production and then got by this was late 82. And by early 1983, I got my first order from a supermarket chain, which was Safeway, Northern California, an entire semi load of kit KETTLE® Chips, they ordered and thought, Wow, this is great. So we had to put on a second shift to fulfill that. And what we didn’t know is really how you manage oil in a fryer, that it does Decompose, decompose in that component called free fatty acids it gets too much oxygen with with the frying and the oil starts to deteriorate. We didn’t understand that. And we were we were naive and lucky that just running a single day shift we create we maintained a certain balance with the oil but by putting on a second shift through that balance off we made you know all these chips and fulfill the order and send it down there and then a couple of days later got this call that of an angry call from the buyer saying come back you know come and pick up this product. It’s it’s bad. It’s it’s the oils bad it’s rancid, refusing, refusing this product what and so then we started checking our existing inventory. And you know, it tasted fine when we left our plant but after a few days, because this oil the taste was bad. And so that began you know that began a real trial by fire is a we didn’t know why. And we had to learn but we also had put you know, inferior product out in our consumers were getting a bad taste. So we had to quickly hustle and get all this product off the shelves and out of the warehouses. But we also had to learn from our mistakes and how to you know how to make KETTLE® Chips consistently in a proper way. And so that took that took weeks
Jeremy Weisz 44:00
to what was the original flavor.
Cameron Healy 44:03
original flavor was lightly salted and no salt got just to two flavors, if you want to call Yeah, no salt, a flavor. And then within a year, there was a third flavor called Red chili. That was a very kind of, you know, for people that love really hot food. They loved it, but was not for your common palate. It was a raw, hot, spicy northern New Mexico chilies. But anyway, we got through that crisis and figured out what we done wrong. had to make some modifications of equipment. We actually created a lab and started analyzing our oil and got some advice and carried forward but I thought we potentially could have blown it and I basically bet the company on this expansion and there was a good chance the whole company Could have folded. But I still had the nut operation going on, it really kind of held the chip operation up, while it was kind of finding its way. But it really took a solid two years to figure out how to make, even at a basic level how to make KETTLE® Chips in a consistent manner, because we were using a Russet Burbank potato, which is the hardest variety to make potato chips out of because we chose it because of the high natural sugar content. And that’s what gives the potato chip flavor. But that’s also it makes it unstable. When you store it, it’s constantly wanting to convert starches to sugar. And so from day to day, you don’t really know your core ingredient, how it’s going to react. We got pretty good at it. But we got really good at it eventually. But those early days it was every day was a kind of a new adventure of making KETTLE® Chips. But we had a really committed group of people. Yeah,
Jeremy Weisz 46:03
I was gonna ask how you survive. But it sounds like because of the nuts side of the business, you were able to, I don’t know if hedge is the right word, but at least have a diversified, you know, income stream. So yeah, that really helped.
Cameron Healy 46:18
Yeah, without that it would have been now I probably wouldn’t have made it through through that era. But I also had, going back to my early first business of the bakery, I also had a kind of a belief is really, you know, you’re you treat your employees with respect. And you really treat them as kind of a community where you attract, hopefully people with a shared passion for what you’re doing. And, you know, you you make it exciting, you make it not just drudgery work, but your there’s a purpose that you’re all there for is doing something exceptional. And, you know, giving back to the community and sort of having a little bit of a higher purpose. And so I was always pretty fortunate to generally attract people that really cared about what they did and cared about the mission. And that’s what, that’s really what got us through those difficult years. Because we were, we’re figuring out as we go, I mean, nobody was expert at what we’re doing. But it was there was a dedication. So I’ve always been grateful for that.
Jeremy Weisz 47:24
Yeah, what sticks out throughout this whole, you know, journey is community and movement, it seems to be a community and movement. And what was another milestone, so Safeway was a positive and negative and negative milestone in the same respect, what was another milestone with with KETTLE® Chips, because you were able to turn things around and figure things out?
Cameron Healy 47:48
Yeah, I mean, there’s there been, I mean, there were a lot of milestones at all, sort of Fast Pass forward. You know, this, you know, we’re at two is when KETTLE® Chips was introduced, By the mid, mid ‘80s, 85, 86, we were really kind of hitting hitting stride, we had, you know, up and down the West Coast distribution, we had some regional supermarkets that were placing it, you know, in in both their natural sets and starting to place it in the regular snack section to an extra Frito Lay, and things were working pretty well. By 87, I decided that things were going well enough, I’d never been to Europe. And I wanted just to go see Europe and particularly study the food cultures in Europe. And my, my oldest son by then, one of those two kids that I I connected with at a yoga festival, who was by then 19 years old. We decided that we would together take motorcycles to Europe and spend six weeks traveling together and just experiencing the cultures which which we did in the fall of ‘87. And that was you know, it’s kind of not unlike the trip to Japan I took a 1970 those were kind of life changing trips and without really knowing that or anticipating that would happen but we had a really awesome trip from landed in Scotland we put our motorcycles on a afraid airline that hadn’t had a few seats. It doesn’t exist anymore so we can fly with our motorcycles and then we had to meet meet a flight on a date six weeks later. And so we Our plan was to drive through Scotland, England and through Europe and and end up in Greece and then turn around and reverse that by a different route. But So I got to experience all these great food cultures and in other experiences, and then on the way through London both going and coming back from the continent. I had met a gentleman a few weeks before I left Oregon who isn’t wearing a native, but was living in London, and he invited us to stay in his home in London, which we did going both ways. But on the way back, we stayed there for several days. And we started talking about, he was a former banker that had left the banking world was trying to sort of figure out what to do next. And he was intrigued by KETTLE® Chips. And so we started talking about oil. Well, you know, sort of just a fun thing to talk about, what if KETTLE® Chips came to England? What would that be like, and would there even be interested in, we actually set my son out into supermarkets to bring in every snack, every potato chip and other snack foods, and we put them out on a big table and kind of tasted and analyzed, and really surmise that there were that the market was changing, just began to change in the UK, where they’re starting is just the beginning of embracing natural products, and saw an opportunity for KETTLE® Chips to really be kind of a catalyst brand for that movement. And so I wrote up a on, you know, legal paper by hand, you know, kind of a perception of the market, and agreed with my friend that I’d come back in the spring. And together, we’d research it more. And this was October and, you know, we flew back and, you know, got back immersed most of my life in Oregon, and kind of that put that to the back of the mind, but by got busy and by late January, he sent up but my he sent a bought my first fax machine. And so he’d sent a fax and said, Well, you know, I’ve been doing this research and this and checking this out. And so what date what date Are you coming? And I was like, Oh, yeah, I committed that I would go back I guess I gotta fulfill that. And so I bought a my first suit, suit and tie and, and figuring you got to be dressed up to do business in England, I didn’t know and flew over there in early March. And he made some appointments, we went in with a buyer for Marks and Spencer, you know, we went and visited a potato supplier, up in a area called Norfolk. It’s the agricultural area a couple hours north of London. And the guy say I there’s a there’s a small potato chip manufacturer, if you’re interested in seeing, meeting somebody who’s making potato chips, and you said sure. So he went and you know, they’re making potato chips, the, the modern way on, you know, conveyor belts using potatoes that were bred for that, that kind of processing, which means they bred out the sugars. They’re very bland, but you know, their product was uninspiring, but I noticed half their factory was empty. And it sort of light bulb went on and said, Well, we can we can come over here and do a creative deal and utilize. But anyway, that was just there a week. But we ended up just serendipitously putting together relationships and partnerships that by the time I left them the week we had a plan patch, which we had a facility that these guys would be willing to sub sublet this space if I brought in my equipment and even, you know, contracts some of their labor. We had a potato supplier that really understood the differentiation that we were trying to do with potatoes. And I, I began you know, and they introduced some alternative supply, alternative varieties they didn’t have Russet Burbank wasn’t being grown, but some other varieties that had high sugar. And I actually began a series of smuggling British potatoes back to Oregon. You’re not really supposed to do it do that. And I learned to put in a duffel bag with my dirty laundry so that customers would look at it, but it’s the only way I can test them on our fryers back in Oregon to see what would work but and then the third piece was we we made a connection with a company making the first company to make tortilla chips in England and they were doing it in a very natural, high quality way and that made a pretty good splash in England. They were smart marketers and we visited them up in Durham, England and agreed that they would help us market They own the distribution company and help us with the sales and marketing. And so this was March and I started making monthly trips to England to try to evolve this plan and vision. And I, you know, managed to talk to a local banker in Oregon to loan me the money, which, again, he shouldn’t have, because it was a hugely risky deal, too. You know, why should this little natural food brand that’s only sold on the West Coast? Why should it leap clear across the country across the Atlantic, skip that and introduce it in England, and introduce it largely to the mass market because there wasn’t very evolved, there wasn’t the level of natural food industry in England, Missouri was in the US. So this was taking a big, a big bet that KETTLE® Chips would, this natural product would be you know, would be viable in the supermarket’s. So by, you know, it took almost a year to set up the little plant with the furniture that I for the couch through the equipment that I acquired. And I did acquire the right for right equipment. At that time, the learning hadn’t really evolved to do it right. And been through some iterations of these contracts. But by January of 1989, we began making KETTLE® Chips in this section of this potato chip factory that we had rented. And we launched it at an international food show in London, with the help of this company in Durham, that it also had their tortilla chip. And then we we had landed on a certain variety of potatoes that was used in the fish and chips world that had their own version of unique flavor. And we’re often going so the product got launched into a group of small direct distributors that service the shelves, a whole group of them, we had rented a space at the London Heathrow Airport, where invited all these distributors and unveiled KETTLE® Chips with the help of this partner company, and it was a lot of excitement. And the product went out into the market. And then everything went quiet. We didn’t get we weren’t getting reorders. And, of course, we had no marketing and no marketing budget was all meant to be word of mouth. We’re also offering a size of package that never been offered a bigger package a premium price points that have never been done in the potato chip world. So we came in very premium, my my friend who was helping me that that were that my London based friend who’d been a banker, he he insisted he was a financial guy. And he said he insisted that we need to have a premium price, get, you know, outstanding margins. So that we could reinvest in this brand in and grow it when the time comes in. So I was pretty initially on comfortable with coming out of this premium, I mean a much higher premium, even relative to the US what we’re doing. But we we launched with a premium, and then we weren’t getting any orders. And so I thought well, it’s one of two things, they’re just rejecting the price and maybe the product or is just going to take time for word of mouth. We had no idea if they liked it or not the sole test market we’d done months earlier as I brought 10 cases of Oregon US based KETTLE® Chips on a plane. And we they were kind of our smaller one ounce bags, but we talked, talked a little convenience store in a train station in London to put them on their shelf, and we’d give it to them for free. And but we dictated the price and gave them the 10 cases and they sold out in a week. So that was our that was our sole test market based on that we let you know I committed you know that and committed, you know the equipment and committed to launching this product in January of 89. So a couple months went by and I wouldn’t be held back and forth had to go back to the US and then back to the UK. But you know, I was stressed because I had truly bet the company on the depth that I’d taken on in it. If it didn’t, if we failed in, in the UK would have taken the whole US company under as well. And so orders started to trickle in, after about six weeks. And then we got the beginning of June and side started feeling better. And I was over there in June, but all of a sudden, it was like, somebody switched on the, you know, or put things into high gear switch the bright lights, gear, switch on, the suddenly, demand just went through the roof, we just, were inundated with demand and was just a critical mass of I think word of mouth and enough people that tried it. And, you know, all these stores wanted it in all five of the major major supermarket chains, buyers called us, including Marks and Spencers. And it was just we’re overwhelmed. And so we spent the next many years just chasing that demand. And we didn’t really do any marketing, we just built up capacity and felt built up organization of workers as you know, as quickly as we could to meet demand. And pedal chips became a symbol for kind of the cultural change that was happening in the UK and my perception in 1987. And seeing the glimmer of this lifestyle change around health and fitness and natural foods, better foods. KETTLE® Chips became one of the symbols for that change. And the stores wanted that in their in their stores, because they wanted those consumers. And so the brand, the brand grew up very fast in the UK, and eventually surpassed the business we were doing in Oregon. And it became profitable relatively quickly because of those margins. And this gentleman, former banker, ultimately became a partner in the company, I gave him some sweat equity shares, because I needed somebody based in the UK to watch over things I couldn’t live there full time. So that that was an amazing experience. I really enjoyed doing business in the UK. And ultimately, in Europe, I just liked the way they did business, and maybe still do. But the brand became a pretty big brand over there. And we we began making Marks and Spencers own label. And they’re very demanding on quality. They have their own fearnside food scientists go out in the field, and tour and make sure their suppliers are doing the best job possible. And so they really, we were forced to roll in sophistication, or organization around quality and be more scientific. And it was you know, it was we had some hard hard meetings with them at times where we were not meeting their standards. But really, I really have them to thank for your growing, growing the organization’s capacities to you know, have proper disciplines and make make the right best products.
Jeremy Weisz 1:03:32
Yeah, Cameron, I want to hear how, yeah, it’s it’s, I feel like the journey is riveting. You know, it’s you, you say things calmly now I can’t imagine, you know, there’s a lot of moving pieces with all of this. I’d love to go and
Cameron Healy 1:03:50
I say well, I’ll say that there were you know, it kind of became part of the popular culture at that time. And it became, it was on a comedy show woman named Ruby Wax was very popular then. But she just put it, you know, put it on her show and had skits using the product. You know, we had, it just kind of became in the media, you know, none of none of which we were investing in. There was an experience My partner and I and his wife went to what kind of what was the happening restaurant in London at the time a celebrity chef and we went and added a little celebration and what was happening on Friday night and Hannah had a meal and we were the last ones to leave, leave the restaurant. And you know, we got out on the sidewalk. My partner knew the owner, and the owner came out and said we’d like you guys to come back in the dining room for a second. Okay, whatever. And we came back in and he had his whole staff, the chefs and the servers and the bussers and they’re all assembled in the living room. And then the dining room. And I was like, what’s, what’s going on here, and then they all, they all started clapping us and in just giving us praise for launching this product in in the UK that people love so much and that it got a high standard of quality and that, yeah, that was a very moving kind of humbling, humbling thing that here is kind of one of the best noteworthy restaurants in London and their staff is, is including their owners recognizing, you know, this, this product that we brought from Oregon. So, you know, there was a lot of kind of nice ego builders, I guess. Yeah, it’s I mean, it’s gratifying.
Jeremy Weisz 1:05:42
It’s pretty telling. And you took a big risk. I mean,
Cameron Healy 1:05:46
yeah, yeah, he took a big
Jeremy Weisz 1:05:48
risk. There’s no doubt about it. And, you know, I would love to hear so I want to talk about Kona. But how did the journey I would say and but but kind of start to conclude for you with KETTLE® Chips And one of my personal favorites of this journey is the sea salt, rosemary, garlic, that’s my personal KETTLE® Chips favorite, but, um, how did things then evolve and progress towards when I don’t know if you stepped away? Or what, you know, how that concluded your journey with?
Cameron Healy 1:06:22
Yeah, yeah. So really, you know, the path. So, you know, ultimately, I found myself as a CEO of a, you know, somewhat global snack business KETTLE® Chips, continued to grow in the US, and was the, in the natural snack category was the leader in the US, and, and then it grew into the, you know, into the, the supermarkets as well. And so, you know, we managed a team on both sides of the, of the ocean, and, you know, Kettle Foods was really built on some real simple core values of commitment to quarter quality, above all, respect for your team. And, and then being responsible and giving back to the community. And those were, you know, those we propagated both in the UK and the EU in the US. And, you know, our, as a result, we had a great, great people, culture and a lot of very dedicated, dedicated individuals. And that, that, to me, is really the core, the core of the success of KETTLE® Chips, and Kettle Foods was this great, great community of people that were extremely dedicated. But really, by now we’re in the 2000s. I, I don’t know if you want me? Yeah, I’m kind of going chronologically, but I can, I can kind of wind up wind up the KETTLE® Chips story, and then I’ll go backwards to the Yeah, that’s perfect. Kona Brewing. But anyway, the brand grew, you know, grew significantly. Thank you think by the time we’re in the, you know, low, hundreds of millions 100, you know, we’re in the hundreds of, you know, 100 million category. globally. We decided to, we needed to have a board, we were, you know, we had hundreds of employees. And it was just my partner and I usually making decisions in a pub, and had gotten big enough, we need to have some disciplines and recruit a proper CEO, and I create a board. And my partner had a friend who had founded a private equity group, L Catterton. partners is what it’s called now a guy named Michael Chu, who I got to know. And he was very brand oriented in and we started talking to him about our next phase. And he said, Well, you know, we’d be interested in investing you guys and help help you, myself and my lead guy. Scott Dankie, we would be happy to be your board members. And so my partner and I talked about it long and hard and decided to take a minority investment and do that 1004 and largely, because we had our company was very profitable in 20% EBITDA, on on revenue. But we really wanted these guys on our board and for them to help guide us in building the next phase of the company and create proper strategies and recruit a CEO. So we did that. And then we recruited a really awesome CEO. We got really lucky, getting Paul Davis. And so I stepped back and my partner stepped back. as board members, I became chair and there were five of us on the board. And, and we met as often as needed, but we, we developed a strategy plan, got some outside help to how, what the potential for the Kettle brand would be and begin exercising that. And after a couple of years of that we started then, and we were having very strong growth, we started having some companies sniffing around wanting to talk about acquisitions, and we felt it was a little bit premature, but we said, well, if it’s the right people, and they offer, you know, the right value, if they recognize the right value, we would consider that in so a group did was another London based private equity group called Land Capital. And so we, we sold the company to them completely in 2006. And, you know, what they got was, you know, really strong, growth oriented brand, with a great team with a real active, vital company culture, in a strategy plan that we were only two years into a five year plan, and they they executed on that plan the next three years and did really well they, you know, double the business and, you know, I think triple the EBITDA. And it was it was then sold to a food manufacturer. But yeah, the brand continues to thrive and part of snack division. Snyder’s Lance, Lance Snyder, snack division part of Campbell Soup, but it’s still still does well, and I visit our original factory in Salem, Oregon, every couple years, and they still practice a lot of those core values and still have the, the signs in the wall that support those values. And some of the old timers are still there. But yeah, very fulfilling, but I, I put my 28 years into that. I was I was kind of ready to, I’m sure. Yeah,
Jeremy Weisz 1:12:28
thanks for sharing that. So where does Kona come into the picture?
Cameron Healy 1:12:33
Well, you know, I’ve had a habit of starting businesses in places where I want to spend time, and that’s what happened with Kettle foods and going, you know, opening operation England was a primary motivator really was I wanted to spend more more time in England and Europe, because I really enjoyed being over there. And opening a business was a kind of an excuse in a discipline of, you’ve got to you got to be there. So, in 1993 My father had just passed away a few weeks earlier, but I’d had a planned trip to Kona Hawaii, with my family, my oldest son had come to Kona with his girlfriend that summer on a vacation didn’t come back, they found paradise and jobs. And so I’d never been to the Big Island of Hawaii, but I brought my family over in for Thanksgiving, which was a few months a few months later. And we rented a vacation rental. with some friends that came along on a little Bay on South Kona, I didn’t even really know where it was my son kind of recommended it. And I just were here for 10 days. But I, I had an epiphany. I just was kind of moved by this place this bay specific zone in South Kona. It’s an old fishing village, very authentic, Hawaii, old school Hawaiian. And there was kind of a powerful spiritual sense I had about the place. It’s hard to explain it in a practical manner, but I’ve got to figure out how to live here in this specific spot, at least part time. And out of that same trip, my son and I, we started talking in and my ideas there. I mean, my thoughts were, well, I’m gonna live here there’s got to be some fresh craft beer because I was from Portland, Oregon, where kind of was the epicenter of the craft beer started in the US. And there were lots of examples of some wonderful craft brewing operations. And I almost started as a small brewery with a partner in Portland at one couple years earlier, but didn’t. So we had the idea of well, there was no beer, no beer of any kind, aside from home brewers, but no question No commercial beer of any type being brewed in the whole state. And we thought, Well, why don’t we, we start a craft brewery, you know, I’ll mentor you, you teach you to be the general manager and we get it started gather and find the capital. And so we did and I and I told him, you know, he got two years of my time I’m, I was still CEO of Kettle Foods. So I was very busy. But, you know, I’ll come over and help you with this. And so, you know, and that took, took about a year to put it together. We designed I’m in Portland, Oregon and hired a gentleman from a brewery who is their facilities guide, moonlight, designed some brewing equipment and I had a fabric, stainless steel fabricator, I used for Kettle Foods that had never built brewing equipment, it was he couldn’t really buy off the shelf, brewery and quit craft brewing equipment at that time. It was just starting to become available. But anyway, we, you know, redesigned the wheel and brought this equipment over here and got it got it started in. We had our blessing opening blessing on Valentine’s Valentine’s Day of 1995. We incorporated in 94. And the goal is to be a leader in the market. It’s a small market, but it has a lot of visitors. And by then two other little breweries that open and we all kind of open within a month of each other, these other two and a wahoo. But the vision was from the start to be the ultimate leader. You know, there there have been a previous brand in Hawaii for 100 years that you know, was kind of the signature that had this following but it was no longer around. And so it was this opportunity to become the signature Hawaiian beer. So, you know, again, we learned the hard way, made some poor batches initially, we bought a used Italian bottling line didn’t work half the time and we’d have to airfreight parts from Italy, which was very expensive. We also found it was a very, you know, doing business in Hawaii and particularly manufacturing. Hawaii is very expensive. It’s the most expensive state in the US. And also taxes are the highest here, including liquor taxes to distribute, you’ve got to ship your beer from one island to the next island to the next Island. So you know, we got got our products out there and hotels and resorts and stores, but we’re losing our shirts, about $20,000 a month. And that went on for, you know, a couple of years. And I was having to fill that gap with money that I was pulling out a Kettle Foods as it was prospering I was having to, you know, rob from Peter to pay Paul, and then know after a couple years of this, my son then left left the business. And I brought a young guy in from Oregon that have never run a manufacturing business. But you know, when my son did a great job getting kind of a beachhead established, and he hired friends, a brewer and a guide had a degree in marketing and communications. So he was the salesman and, you know, for that team, we made our beachheads, but we knew them needed to make, you know, a next step. And my, my son departed, and we kind of ended up turning over during that period, that whole team, they moved back to the main one and, you know, brought in new people and it was kind of a reboot, if you if you will. And this one gentleman I brought he didn’t have manufacturing experience, but he had a restaurant and specifically gourmet pizza restaurant experiences. And that was part of the goal masterplan was developer, a pub as part of our, our brewery, we just had a tasting room. And so we we learned in those first few months of that next phase that we really needed. We couldn’t bottle beer and do it profitably in Hawaii and we needed to find a contract brewery on the west coast. We also needed to get our pub opened to improve those margins from making beer in the back and selling it at full retail in the front. And so you know, that took the beginning of that phase that took about a year and a half. To accomplish that to find that contract contract Brewer in California and to open this pizza pub. And literally the month that we opened that pub and began bringing the bottles from bottle beer from California to Hawaii, we went from reading to black black ink and really didn’t, didn’t look back. And so we continue to brew draft beer in our brewery in Hawaii, and bring in our bottle of beer from the mainland. And that relationship where we ended ultimately ended up having our contract relationship. It wasn’t in the beginning. But after a year or so we ended up with a friend of mine who Whitmer winter brothers in Oregon that had a pretty good sized brewery, they just built a new brewery and had lots of capacity and invited us to bring our contract business to them. And so I did that. And then over time, that was working really well. And they said, Well, we’ve got this whole sales team, why don’t we do a partnership thing and we’ll start more, you know, selling it in the mainland. We were dabbling in that on ourselves and not being very successful. And we said, okay, let’s, let’s let’s do that. But in order to do that, we had to trade some minor shares because Widmer brewing was own 32% by Anheuser-Busch. And to access the Anheuser-Busch distribution system, there had to be some ownership relationship to Anheuser-Busch. So we did that stock trade and had a, I think, seven different contractual agreements that were created. And so we began selling beer in the mainland US. And that ended up being a fortuitous relationship because that that grew the brand grew our business in a way evolved. Our little pub grew into a $10 million a year restaurant with lots of T shirt and hat and you know, logo wear sales liquid
Jeremy Weisz 1:22:31
Cameron Healy 1:22:33
Oh, liquid Aloha, Aloha. Yeah, exactly. And we opened another restaurant pub in, in in Oahu, just outside of Honolulu. But the brand, the brand began growing in the mainland, and Anheuser-Busch was our distributor here in Hawaii. And that you know, that that distribution relationship with Anheuser-Busch turned into a real key to the success of Kona Brewing, because they have the best distribution. Yeah, in the world. And we also had a strong sales team. I’ll say that. I’ll go back to briefly I’ll digress that I in creating the brand. I was going to make an early trip to Hawaii to pitch the Anheuser-Busch distributor in Hawaii. But we know we were nothing we didn’t have a logo. And so I I approached my approached my cousin, who was a graphic designer, and I said I need a logo. This was Thursday, I need a logo by Monday. Because I need to make shirts and a business card to pitch these guys in Hawaii. She said Why? You know, I don’t work under that kind of speed. I said we’ll just give it a try. And she she nailed the logo. By Monday. I mean, it’s the logo that still exists. I said you’ve got it. It’s, it’s great. So I had a couple some polo shirts, silkscreen and business cards and my son and I went and pitched pitched ourselves to, you know, to the Anheuser-Busch distributor. But anyway, fast forward. The relationship with Whitmer did eventually evolve by 2010. We did a full merger together. So Kona Brewing became, you know, a full full piece of, of what was then called Craft Brew Alliance, which had Red Hook Brewing also was part of its group. So we became part of a group and and allowed the Kona brand to expand quickly in the mainland, because that group had their own existing breweries. By then they had one of these coasts, one in Seattle, and of course, one in Portland. And so, part of our philosophy with the Kona brand was to put it, you know, to produce it close to its market and limit it limit its carbon footprint. And so that that really became, you know, important part of our model is rather than make beer in Hawaii with one big brewery and ship at all the mainland, which is expensive, and, you know, eats up a lot of fuel and whatnot. Our product, Kona Brewing was being made. And in four, four locations in Kona, Hawaii, Portland, Seattle, in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. And so we ran with that, in the last decade, and the Kona brand became, by last summer, the eight largest craft brand in the US by volume, size, and of the top 10. By last summer, only two of them that were actually still growing. And then Anheuser-Busch, had their sights on kind of growing. For the last few years, we’ve actually approached us, and there were some options that didn’t work out. But late last summer, we we’ve completed a full merger of the parent company, Craft Brew Alliance, which Kona Brewing, Kona brand was 70% of that, of that, that was the dominant brand of that, that group. And so now it’s all under Anheuser-Busch’s Craft Alliance, it’s called. And that’s a group of about 25 craft breweries that they own, which Kona is one of the bigger, the bigger ones. But the journey, the journey of Kona Brewing has been a really rich one, the engagement in the community. We’ve supported all kinds of events, and ambassadors are water man and water women. And it’s, you know, it’s just a great culture here. We always pledged to respect the traditional Hawaiian culture and engage them contributed to a lot of the perpetuation of the culture. And the company still does that today. But a really great, fun, rich experience of that. And all I ever wanted out of it was I wanted to drink
Jeremy Weisz 1:27:55
live in Hawaii,
Cameron Healy 1:27:56
Hawaii, free beer from complimentary beer, and complimentary pizza at the pub. And so that’s what I’ve gotten to do the last 20 plus years is I’ve never, ever taken a salary out of the business. But and then with this, this sale, and I have a draft system at my home, I live on the bay that I had the Epiphany, I was eventually able to buy a property and build a home. I live in that spot. And 1993 spoke to me and it still speaks to me today. That’s why I’m here. And under even under the new ownership, I continue as a advisor and I still get my free beer and pizza. So I’m,
Jeremy Weisz 1:28:46
I think you deserve it at this point.
Cameron Healy 1:28:48
So that’s a 20 you know, almost 27 year journey there.
Jeremy Weisz 1:28:53
Well, Cameron, first of all, I really appreciate you sharing your stories even super generous their time. I have one last question before I ask it. Everyone should check out TheHealyFoundation.org check out what they’re doing there. Check out other episodes of the podcast and Rise25. Cameron, my last question. There’s just been a treasure trove of of gems of lessons here that you’ve shared, and I appreciate that. My last question is just what are some of your favorite natural snacks that you like? I mean, we’ve talked about KETTLE® Chips. I talked about WILD TONIC kombucha. I’ve had other people like Truth Bar on the on the podcast, which I love just having the products that I love to eat and consume. I’m curious what are some of your favorites over like currently over the years?
Cameron Healy 1:29:49
Yeah, well of course I sell in KETTLE® Chips. I did not negotiate free KETTLE® Chips, unfortunately. So I do still still purchase those I I still eat that. I Have’a Chips, which I mentioned I distributed in the ‘70s that haven’t changed packaging or formula wise at all since then. And so that’s tends to be my go to tortilla chips. I eat some, some others as well. But I do like
KIND ® Bars when I’m out active in the outdoors. I do like, there’s a brand of what are they called? EPIC? Oh, yeah. Uh huh. Yeah, I’m not a big meat eater, but I liked your salmon strips, and I eat those when I travel. Gosh, and then just, you know, here in Hawaii, we’ve got macadamia nuts. Farmers are always giving me raw macadamia nuts that they’ve harvested and crack. So eat macadamia nuts here. I love them. I love almonds and make my own trail mix and make my own granola. Eat granola is a snack. You know, that’s, that’s kind of, you know, kind of it, you know, but I’m, I’m still a, you know, I’m still a chip fiend. And I have to say that if KETTLE® Chips are better, if they’re if they’re, if they’re to be bad for you, I would be dead now. Because I’ve eaten, you know, I’ve eaten probably more kale chips, anybody on the planet? I still do. And I’m 70 years old, and I’m surfing and, you know, doing all kinds of active things, but very good. Anyway, it’s, it’s been a nice, yeah, nice journey. And I’m I feel privileged to be able to run this foundation and have impact scenarios that really deserve it. And I think particularly during COVID, the hunger, you know, the food scarcity, and the child hunger was just appalling and heart wrenching. And we were able to pivot last April and take. We have taken, you know, a quarter of our funding for the year and contributed just in the month of April to COVID to nonprofits, that we’re addressing the impacts of COVID. And on families and kids, and our team really, really did a great job in executing that. And that’s
Jeremy Weisz 1:32:32
other other clauses that you may want to mention. What do you remember any of the causes, you know,
Cameron Healy 1:32:37
there are a whole whole number of of nonprofit but you know, food pantries and groups that do work around domestic abuse, particularly with children, you know, people that just are doing the hard work on front lines, but think what gave me inspiration through this last year of COVID. And all the other stuff that was going down was can you know, was being able to be a funder and a support of these people that that operate these nonprofits in Oregon and Hawaii, where we we do our work is is people that have such a positive, giving service, attitude and making a real impact. It’s not political. They just get on with it and go in, you know, what some of the hardest was difficult environments and make a difference. And that that really gave me positive inspiration through the year and kept me from becoming a little bit despondent to some of the things that were going on. So I feel very, very humbled and proud to be part of that. That particular moment,
Jeremy Weisz 1:33:48
Cameron, only the first one to thank you. Thank you, everyone, check out TheHealyFoundation.org and we’ll see you on the next episode.
Cameron Healy 1:33:56
Thank you Jeremy. Thanks for your time.