Brothers are groovin’ on grandma’s granola

Grandma’s scrumptious home-made granola recipe is helping two Saanich brothers pay post-secondary school expenses and also get an education in how to run a business.

You can find entrepreneurs Ryan and Trevor Lainchbury at capital region markets, such as Moss Street on Saturdays and Sidney on Thursday evenings, selling bags of their freshly made Peace Lovin’ Granola.

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Their original recipe and maple-pecan granolas are also sold in retail locations and online through their website at peacelovingranola.ca. Their website lists stores, restaurants and the markets where the granola is sold.

Peace Lovin’ Granola is tasty and crunchy, but not jaw-breaking, or too soft. That’s because it is fresh, said Trevor, which “is huge for us.”

Once a week, or more often if there is demand, Ryan, 22, and Trevor, 19, head to a rented commercial kitchen to bake 90-kilogram batches of granola, watching carefully during the 45-minute process to make sure it is just right.

“I know when it is done when there is a crunch and a chew at the same time,” Trevor said.

Each production session takes four hours. The pair do it all themselves — taking orders, baking, packaging, delivering.

Since launching the business a year ago, the Mount Douglas Secondary School graduates have more than doubled production while they keep up with orders during the school year. They added a maple flavour after their first month.

They sell a 600-gram bag for $10, and a one-kilogram bag for $15.

Ryan is heading into fourth year at the University of Victoria, where he is studying psychology, but also has a keen interest in business and organizational behaviour. Trevor is going into second-year courses at Camosun College this fall, planning to transfer to UVic to earn a commerce degree.

Despite work demands, which can see them sending each other text messages about deliveries during the day, “we are all about school,” Ryan said.

They already sound like experienced businessmen as they strategize on the most efficient way to run their business, and when to carry out various tasks. They listen to customers and think carefully about each move. “We figured out how to work smart,” Trevor said.

Grandfather Terry Erskine is their mentor, meeting with them once a month “to keep on track with our goals.” They split jobs that need to be done, even dropping off two bags to a Nanaimo customer on their way to snowboarding at Mount Washington.

“Customers come first — always,” Ryan said.

They fill orders as they come in, sometimes delivering granola made just an hour earlier. These personable and cheerful young men enjoy meeting their customers.

Peace Lovin’ Granola has roots in Ryan’s 2010 trip to New Zealand, where he couch-surfed around the country. After being given granola at one house, he became a fan, eating it frequently. Once home, Ryan bought some granola, but didn’t like it. It was too sweet and did not have much flavour. He turned to his grandmother, Lynn Erskine, a resident of North Saanich, for a recipe. He took it to school for a handy snack and shared it with the family and friends, who loved it.

Trevor laughs when confessing, “we would slowly empty his jar, hoping he wouldn’t notice.” Its popularity prompted the brothers to go into business.

Peace Lovin’ is made with gluten-free oats prepared in a Saskatchewan facility, pumpkin, sunflower and flax seeds, coconut, cranberries, cinnamon, vanilla, local Babe’s Honey and sunflower oil.

Their granola is shipped throughout Canada, including Tuktoyaktuk, N.W.T.

Ryan and Trevor are now figuring out expansion plans. For their next stage in growth, they are hoping that larger grocery stores on Vancouver Island will stock their granola.

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