Open for Business
By Janice Llanes Fabry
The Granola Bar just opened at 96 Purchase Street and its owners Julie Mountain and Dana Noorily are feeling their oats. After all, this is their fifth location. They’ve tapped into a loyal clientele that gravitates towards healthy, clean eating in an eatery that’s contemporary, casual, and crisp. Offering much more than a great selection of granola flavors and bars, their menu includes salads, sandwiches, wraps, soups, eggs, and avocado entrees.
“We’ve selfishly put on the menu all the things we love to eat that we’ve always made in our own homes,” explained Noorily.
“We opened here because Rye has the true culture of a suburban/urban market,” said Mountain. “It has the energy of a small town tapped into the city.”
In sync, the two owners genuinely enjoy working shoulder to shoulder. Though Mountain runs more of the brand and product side and Noorily is on the operational end, they admit, “we like to do everything together and go our separate ways at five o’clock. It’s the perfect marriage.”
As most young mothers do, Noorily and Mountain met through their 3-year-old daughters, who sat next to one another at a children’s birthday party in 2010.
Having both made the leap from professional women to full-time moms, they felt somewhat like “fish out of water.”
“I had the idea of making granola and packaging it as gifts, but I wanted to build a business with someone,” said Mountain, whose background was in marketing in the music industry.
Formerly in finance, Noorily added, “Julie pitched it as ‘the Bergdorf of granola’ and I liked the idea of creating something. This felt like a toe in the water from being at home to doing something for myself.”
The fact that they are both self-proclaimed foodies sealed the deal. They established the first iteration of their business, O.A.T.S. Granola, and sold it to friends and family in 32-ounce mason jars. Mountain and Noorily took the next step and started selling them in their hometown Whole Foods in Westport, which led to the Whole Foods in New York City’s Tribeca. Before long, their product was sold in 90 Whole Foods, Stew Leonard’s, and Fresh Market supermarkets.
One day in New York City, the entrepreneurs came upon Dannon’s Yogurt Culture Company and were struck by its model. Fortuitously, Dannon’s CEO took them under his wing and convinced them to open up a storefront of their own. Granola Bar was born in Westport’s Playhouse Square in 2013. They’ve been on the fast track since day one, eventually opening in Greenwich, Stamford, Armonk, and Rye. All locations exude the same vibe with a signature gray palate, exposed millwork, and modern lighting.
With over 80 employees now, the days of making the granola themselves are behind them. They have a catering business, a Granola Bar food truck available for parties, and a Granola Bar app so patrons can order ahead. Those mason jars they started out with still make an appearance with coffee, almond butter, or as gift items. The daughters behind their serendipitous meeting are now 10 and call themselves, “the original granoly girls.”
What’s next? “We’re always innovating and making our stores better than the day before.”
<For more information or to book an event at the store, visit thegranolabarct.com or call 709-4229.
Open Monday-Friday: 6-5; Saturday: 8-5; Sunday: 8-4>