Location: Timonium, MD
Founder and Owner
Michele’s Granola makes granola from scratch with organic and GMO-free ingredients. The company, whose production facility is 100 percent wind-powered, started as a one-woman operation at a Maryland farmers’ market. Today, Michele’s Granola produces 12,000 pounds of whole-grain cereals each week, which are distributed to more than 400 natural foods retailers, grocery stores and food service facilities. “We look at the triple bottom line of people, planet and profits, giving as much attention to how we make our products as to how much we sell,” says founder and owner Michele Tsucalas. “My primary goal in business has always been sustainability.”
Quick Tip: “Do one thing and do it better than anyone else, and scale your business thoughtfully.”
In addition to sustainability, Tsucalas is dedicated to the happiness of her employees. “Not only do satisfied employees stay longer and work smarter, but I’ve learned over this decade of granola-making that the granola tastes so much better when the people who make it are relaxed and happy,” she says. The starting wage at Michele’s Granola has increased by 30 percent, and the company now offers benefits like health insurance, a retirement plan and paid time off. In 2014, Tsucalas created the Give One for Good Food program to support local food projects with 1 percent of Michele’s Granola sales. To date, the company has donated more than $40,000 to organizations that increase local food production and improve access to fresh, healthy food for lower-income consumers.