Forget everything you think you know about oatmeal - MINNEØATS is putting a modern twist on the breakfast classic.
From their slow-cooked, creamy base to fresh and fun toppings like fruits, compotes, and of course their homemade granola for an extra crunch, MINNEØATS is sure to fill your spirit.
But what’s really special about MINNEØATS is the idea that oatmeal can be a catalyst for building community. We talked to MINNEØATS co-founder, Maria Sharperson, to learn more about their story.
MINNEØATS was founded in a college apartment by long-time friends Allie Billeadeau and Maria Sharperson. But the entrepreneurial mindset is not new to these old friends. “In high school, we would spend nights working on power-points building businesses and just coming up with creative ideas, especially centered around food,” said Maria with a laugh, “We are really passionate about food and love getting creative in the kitchen.”
During college, the pair studied abroad in Europe where they happened upon an oatmeal cafe in Copenhagen, Denmark. Through this overseas endeavor, the inspiration for what was later to become MINNEØATS was born.
In 2017, Allie and Maria started sharing their bowls of oatmeal on Instagram and gained some fans who were eager to try their creations.
Quickly, MINNEØATS turned into a mini cafe of their own, located in their college apartment. This unconventional meeting spot soon grew into a community large enough to expand into a commercial kitchen, and MINNEØATS hasn’t stopped growing since.
Both Allie and Maria became Christians in college, and connected over - you guessed it! - oatmeal. “As we would spend time with God we would have oatmeal and coffee. So it was very meaningful for us,” said Maria.
This experience became the catalyst for Allie and Maria’s mission to show that a warm and filling bowl of oatmeal has the power to build a community - just like it did for them.
You’ll find them popping up at farmers markets, coffee shops, public events, and even some drive thru events at their kitchen in White Bear Lake, MN.
It’s this community building and outreach that keeps their brand alive. When asked what inspires her about MINNEØATS, Maria explained it’s the joy that comes from serving, gathering, and seeing people connect at events.
With their success in events and pop-ups, Allie and Maria felt encouraged to stay on the path of perfecting their oatmeal recipes. Then COVID hit in March of 2020 and the pair knew they had to pivot. This is where their crunchy, lightly sweetened granola comes in.
“When COVID happened, all of our events were postponed or rescheduled and so we thought ‘this would be a perfect time to package our granola and sell it,’” said Maria.
“Our granola launched in December of 2020, and now I can’t really imagine MINNEØATS without selling it. It’s something that we’re definitely going to continue to do,” Maria explained, “it was a natural fit.”
MINNEØATS Maple Almond granola is now sold in retail stores and has quickly become a fan favorite because of its versatility and the sweet and salty taste.
As community-building is so central to the MINNEØATS brand, having support from fellow Minnesotans means the world to them - and they sure do have support!
“Minnesotans love supporting Minnesotan brands,” said Maria, “There is a lot of small business and entrepreneur support in Minnesota. There are people who want to come alongside you, help you, and encourage you on your journey.”
MINNEØATS started by bringing the love of oatmeal and granola to the University of Minnesota community. Now, it brings the love to the greater Minnesota community, reinforcing the original purpose of the company.
“With anything that you love, having other people love it as well is a reinforcement and such an encouragement,” said Maria, “We didn’t start this for ourselves, we started it because we wanted to gather people.”
What started as a passion project for co-founders Allie and Maria quickly turned into a successful small business. One thing we know for sure, MINNEØATS will continue to build communities one bowl at a time.
LEARN MORE OR SHOP:
To learn more about upcoming events, including their next drive thru event on May 7th, visit the MINNEØATS Instagram.
MINNEØATS Maple Almond Granola is featured in our Naturally MN Box