Taos Mountain Energy Bars Announces Major Expansion: Espanola’s Food Hub Plays Major Role

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Taos Mountain Energy Bars Founders Brooks Thortenson, left and Kyle Hawari with Gov. Susana Martinez after announcing that the company will expand its business into Questa on Monday (April 20) at Questa Industrial Park, Photo by Katharine Egli, courtesy of The Taos News

Taos Mountain Energy Bars Announces Major Expansion: Espanola’s Food Hub Plays Major Role In Keeping The Company In New Mexico

QUESTA – Monday afternoon several dignitaries traveled to Questa where Taos Mountain Energy Bars announced that they will be expanding their manufacturing operations by opening a new facility in the small town of 300 residents, creating 15 new fulltime jobs over the next few years.

Now that this project is locked down, Siete Del Norte, the managing organization for the Northern New Mexico Food Hub is holding an information meeting 5:30 Wednesday evening at Anthony’s at the Delta in Espanola to talk about this success story and how other people can try to start food businesses as well (CLICK HERE FOR EVENT INVITATION).

Siete Del Norte’s Roger Gonzales said “The Food Hub right here in Espanola was the lead partner in securing the money to keep this business in New Mexico. Wednesday night we are inviting potential entrepreneurs to attend where we can talk to them about how this small startup grew and how other food based businesses can get started as well.

It was just a few months ago that the Taos Mountain Energy Bars company, a Taos based startup was facing the dilemma that in order to grow they would have to leave New Mexico. The company had over the past few years grown from a small two person operation to a 17 person multi-million dollar company with new orders coming in from Kroger and Whole Foods. They were reaching the point where it was impossible to keep up with the new orders and were being told the only way to meet demand was to move production to out of state facilities.

That’s when a partnership of local organizations stepped in to help find a way for this locally grown business to stay in New Mexico.

Many organizations from throughout northern New Mexico began coordinating efforts to find a way to help this company grow their capacity in state. Through this cooperative effort an economic development package has been pulled together from the state and local governments to help finance the remodeling of a facility in Questa.

Kyle Hawari, one of the two founders and owners of Taos Mountain Energy bars said of the effort “This is a testament to the power of collaboration. We worked with everyone from Siete (del Norte) to all the various economic departments, TEN, the RDC, the regional food hub, the Economic Development staff, and others to make this happen. We couldn’t have done it without all of them.”

Siete Del Norte, operator of the Regional Food Hub based out of Espanola helped coordinate the development of the financing package through the Local Economic Development Act and has also finalized a direct equity investment in the company to help them get the expansion going quickly.

Hawari said that with the new facility, projected revenues are expected to grow to $50 million within five years, at which time they may need to expand again. He also said the company has a vision of using these facilities to create a regional manufacturing and packaging facility to help other people in northern New Mexico start food based businesses.

Governor Martinez and Economic Development Secretary John Barella attended the announcement event Monday at which time Governor Martinez also said that we need to get capital outlay done this year, implying the stalled capital outlay bill may be brought back to life in a special session sometime this spring or early summer