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Local Fruit Bar Maker Is Ready for Take Off

Company founded by three local women lands key distribution deal and is participating in the 31st annual Mill Valley Wine and Gourmet Food Tasting on June 24 in the Depot Plaza.

Mill Valley resident Anna Hindley is thrilled that her company, Sulo Foods, just landed a distribution deal for its fruit-laden One Bar product – but not only for the reason you’d think.

Sure, the deal will get One Bar on a much wider array of store shelves beyond Bay Area grocery stores and coffee shops. But Hindley’s reason is much more practical.

Until now, most of One Bar’s distribution – lugging around the product and confirming inventory – was done by Hindley, and her two kids, often on the way to .

“This is actually life changing,” Hindley said with a laugh about the deal. “My kids have gone into stores with a clipboard on their way to school. They won’t be doing that anymore.”

Hindley and Sulo co-founder Birgit Cameron will be celebrating their distribution deal later this month at the on June 24 in the Depot Plaza. The event, the biggest fundraiser of the year for the , is a day-long affair with attendees browsing a renowned slate of wineries, restaurants, breweries and food makers.

The event has lured its largest list of restaurants ever, including local faves like , , , , , , , ,  and , along with and a slew of North Bay breweries and wineries.

Hindley and Cameron co-founded Sulo Foods two years ago, latching onto the concept behind One Bar after visiting the Anuga food fair in Germany, where they met representatives from PhytoTrade Africa, and organization that serves as a trade association of the natural products industry in Southern Africa and ensures fair trade for the products.

PhytoTrade’s reps were looking for product opportunities for baobab fruit powder, which had a tangy flavor and is laden with antioxidants and essential minerals, much like including calcium, potassium, iron and magnesium, and vitamin C, much like the trendy acai fruit.

Hindley, whose husband David grew up in Mill Valley and graduated from , says she and Cameron got their first break when a friend who worked at Google connected them with a person who manages the tech giant’s much-acclaimed food service for its employees.

“They make healthy food available to everyone who works there and they hold a fair each year where vendors let Google employees taste the food and the Googlers actually go around and vote on them,” Hindley says. “We got voted in.”

Sulo began by distributing one palett of 20,000 One Bars to Google, and things have grown organically to the point they’re now distributing 2-3 paletts a month to a variety of customers. One Bars, which come in apple, cherry and mango flavors, are made in Alameda.

“It kind of grew from there – no one was telling us no,” Hindley says.

Hindley credits fellow local mom Anne Lemme, a creative director at San Francisco ad agency Duncan Channon, with the branding and design of the packaging of the product.

“She had faith in the idea,” she says. “It’s just been a lot of Mill Valley people supporting us and chipping and getting us to this point.”

The 411: The 31st annual Mill Valley Wine and Gourmet Food Tasting is from1 to 4 p.m. June 24 in the Depot Plaza in downtown Mill Valley. Tickets are $40 advance, $50 on event day. It's a benefit for the chamber's economic development and green business programs. For more info email the chamber at info@millvalley.org or call 415-388-9700.

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