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Simply Suzanne Granola rolls into Meijer stores this week

Suzanne Vier of Simply Suzanne GranolaSitting down for lunch with Suzanne Vier of Simply Suzanne Granola felt more like a reunion with a long lost friend than it did a first time meeting for an interview. Her charm and warmth are immediately noticeable, as is her love of Detroit.

The Detroit resident and foodie suggested we lunch at Mudgie’s in Corktown. I have been to Mudgie’s before but I’m pretty sure I found a new favorite sandwich on this visit. The combination of turkey, applewood smoked bacon and strawberry cream cheese was unexpected and delightful.

We talked about granola, Detroit and our similar paths in life as we munched on our gourmet sammies. Vier had the special of the day, which was a barbecue chicken number on foccacia.

The Detroit-based granola company launched in 2009 by Vier and her then business partner Randy TenBrink under the name Randy’s Granola. After TenBrink left the company it was renamed Simply Suzanne.

The difference between Simply Suzanne and other granola is spice. The sweet and savory flavors include Original, Lotsa Chocolate, So Very Cherry and Dark Chocolate and Coffee.

Simply Suzanne Granola just turned two years old a few weeks ago. For being such a young company, it’s currently experiencing tremendous growth.

Vier’s granola is in a few of the Whole Foods in Michigan and she expects to be in all 5 of them within the next few weeks.

This Saturday is also a big day for the granola company, on June 18th it rolls out in Meijer stores throughout Michigan. Simply Suzanne Granola will be in 100% of the Detroit stores and 95% of the Michigan stores.

Being in grocery stores isn’t new to the company. “We’ve been in stores for two years,” Vier tells me. Right after the company launched the product was stocked at Westborn Market in Berkley.

The local granola has also been available at farmers markets in the area. “Farmers markets are where the foodies go to shop. That’s where they find inspiration, to try new products, to see what’s going on. It’s very local, little carbon footprint and it’s a lot of fun.”

On the growth of the Detroit-based company Vier says, “We set ourselves up in the last year very thoughtfully with production and operations. We really went internal to make sure that we were ready for the growth that we are now experiencing. Which is really exciting! You can prepare yourself forever, right?”

As our conversation turned to Detroit and our love for the city we realized that our stories were similar. I left the area for 17 years and Vier left for 16 years to work in marketing and human resources in New York City.

I told her about how I came back to Detroit kicking and screaming before I left again 5 years later. “That’s exactly my story,” exclaims Vier. “I came back to Detroit for one year. I couldn’t make a friend to save my life—this isn’t for me. I loved Detroit but I didn’t love it enough and I moved back to NYC.”

Vier moved back to Detroit shortly after I did and she came back for good reason, she wanted to start her company here. “The reason I wanted to do this in Michigan was because I saw all this amazing talent leaving,” the Detroit resident said.

“New York City has a strong structure. Here, it’s endless opportunity. If you have a level of creativity, vision or entrepreneur spirit you can create anything.”

Shameless pat on back coming up in…

Vier told me that she started doing a lot of research on Detroit, “and I found your blog. It was your blog that helped me understand that there was all this happening here.”

The executive team of Whole Foods was recently in town trying to determine if a store in Detroit is the right move for the company and the city. Vier was one of the people they talked to, “We should be opening our arms to anyone who comes in and at the same time help them navigate. They can make mistakes, I made mistakes.”

Our lunch was winding down and I had to pry for a bit more information on new flavor combinations. “We are starting to expand into trail mix,” says Vier. They’re going to launch later this summer with two flavors.

Plus, there’s going to be a new flavor of loose granola, “with some kind of dried apple component.” I guessed correctly that the new flavor would be available in the fall.

Simply Suzanne did limited edition granola bars in the past and those might be coming back as well.

Finally, what are her favorite places to grab a meal or a drink in Detroit? Roast for happy hour, Motor City Brew Works, Foran’s for local brews, and Mudgie’s of course.

Then she threw me for a loop and said, “The best burger is at The Bronx Bar.” I caution her that this might cause controversy—better than the Roast happy hour burger? “They’re two totally different things. The Bronx burger is an elevated bar burger. It comes on amazing bread and it’s a different type of environment. The ambiance is old school bar.”

I left lunch having made a new friend and I have a new burger to try at The Bronx Bar.

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Reader Comments (1)

These are great! I packed up a ton of bars for me and the family when we went to the Lions tailgate downtown! I didn't know it was a local product, that makes it even sweeter!

May 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterHarry

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