Pat Bennett’s granola-making started 25 years ago out of necessity. While living in New York City, she needed a healthy, filling and tasty snack for her then-elementary school-aged son. After a year of experimenting, she finally created a recipe that was a home run. Now, the Clevelander of nine years sells three varieties of granola on her website and at shops such as Nature’s Oasis in Lakewood and Hudson News stores at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport.
Three years ago, Bennett started exploring how to turn her handmade granola into a business. She sought help from places such as the Women’s Business Center of Ohio on how to start. The day her nutritional facts label was approved was like Christmas Day. “It was like a blessing saying, ‘You’ve got a legitimate business,’ ” Bennett says. “And it just gave it validity.”
Bennett got the Hudson News contract four months before the COVID-19 pandemic grounded air travel to a halt. In response, she pivoted to online sales and started blogging on her website, sharing recipes, stories about her family and more. “The blog is not about selling granola,” she says. “It has helped people get to know me and the brand, and that Pat is a real person.”
Based on her first recipe, Bennett’s citrusy tropical blend is a customer favorite. She’s since added a kicked-up ginger spiced blend and salty-meets-sweet peanut butter blend ($11 each). She got so busy that she needed help making the product from a local contract packer, but she’s always on-site to make sure the granola is up to her standards. “I know exactly what it needs to look and taste like every single time,” she says.
Whether it’s making a new granola flavor or writing a
blog post, Bennett looks for inspiration in other creators. She keeps small notebooks on her at all times, making notes of what it was that moved her. “It could be the beautiful summer, it could be sitting on a bench looking at Lake Erie or it could be sounds that you hear when you’re on East Fourth Street,” she says. patsgranola.com