In 2009, longtime friends Kyle Hawari and Brooks Thostenson moved to Taos to enjoy the outdoor life before setting off on their careers. While skiing the slopes, the two mused about starting a business together. They heard about the Taos Food Center, a community kitchen. As self-described ski bums, Hawari and Thostenson hit upon developing a high-quality energy bar.
Taos Mountain Energy Bars are quick and nutritious snacks for those who live for the outdoors. From their first sales in New Mexico, distribution of the bars expanded throughout the United States. As the demand for these bars escalated, Hawari and Thostenson found themselves overwhelmed. They turned to NMSBA
for help streamlining the company’s production processes. NMSBA paired Taos Mountain Energy Foods with the New Mexico Manufacturing Extension Partnership (New Mexico MEP). Cathy Musgrave and her team at New Mexico MEP assessed the company’s problem to determine what facets of their production worked, what needed streamlining, and what needed significant improvement. New Mexico MEP helped the company reduce cooking times, automate manual processes, and improve ways the product flowed from customer order to customer receipt and fulfillment.
Taos Mountain Energy Foods realized $120,000 in cost savings by applying the techniques. Such savings, along with a Los Alamos Venture Acceleration Fund (VAF) award, enabled the company to expand its business to a 10,000-square-foot manufacturing facility in Questa. The company currently employs 17 people.