Baller life with Sarah Pool
"We have people who are so unbelievably loyal and tenacious" - Sarah on Bend work culture
Bend was a completely different town when Sarah Pool grew up here, and she has even more passion about about the area and its people now that she runs Pacific Superfood Snacks in her childhood backyard. Focused on bringing healthy snacks to the masses, Bend was an obvious choice to start a company for this family-focused entrepreneur.
On the the path to CEO
Leaving Oregon for Berkeley
- Sarah grew up in Bend and went to high school in southern Oregon. Her parents were business owners in town, but encouraged her to "take full advantage" of college "and become a diverse and open-minded human." Armed with a scholarship to culture-rich Berkley, Sarah played basketball, studied Buddhism, wrote a thesis on the Bilingual Education Policies & the Marginalization of Mexican-American, and taught classes in Oakland as part of her graduate studies.
How basketball influenced her work style
- Sarah thrives on competition and describes herself as "results-driven" which she attributes to her time playing collegiate basketball. "It's translated directly to business, one of the biggest things we pride ourselves on is our work ethic and hustle." It's evident that her company's impressive growth is a direct result of the passion she carries over from sports. "I have total passion for the total hype, I am really hungry to learn, and grow, and to be pushed."
Where finance and activism coexist
- After leaving Berkeley Sarah worked for Merrill Lynch but ultimately ended up as the Director of Finance for a global non-profit in Portland. "I had my hands on absolutely every aspect of the business." While changing the world is on the mind of almost every Berkeley graduate, Sarah discovered an intersection where her financial and operational prowess could help her achieve that goal. "Oh wow...you can actually change the world. This is possible on a daily basis."
A snack food company for everyone
The start of Pacific Superfood Snacks
- With an incredibly well-rounded foundation, Sarah just needed the right moment of inspiration to get her next endeavor started. "It really was as simple as, yes - I absolutely wanted to start a company, and one day i was eating kale chips, and a lightbulb just went off....I think I can make them better...why not start it?" She registered the business with the state of Oregon that same day.
Back to Bend
- Sarah was living in Portland during the company's inception, but moved it over to Bend when "the right property became available at the right time...I can't imagine it being any other way." Being close to family is a major contributor to Sarah's quality of life but she also notes how much employees contribute because "they treat the business as if it was their own, and I think it speaks to the general culture in Bend that people are very authentic, people are very loyal, people are very hard-working. It's a great great place to be, and when you're surrounded by people like that - it just makes life so much better. We've been able to grow the business so much quicker because of them."
- Sarah noted that awareness and transparency around health food is growing. While kale chips are a mainstay in major grocers in urban areas, she's been particularly focused on getting her product to the masses. "We didn't want it to be an exclusive thing that you could only buy at a high-end retailer or natural food store." The company now has distribution in Wal-Mart's across the country which has been a major boost for sales. Sarah also spends a lot of time with Opportunity Knocks, focusing on outreach programs for local children. "We want kids to see themselves as arbiters of change and see themselves as future CEO's." They have a great role model in Sarah.
Favorite things to do in Bend
On the trails
- "I walk the Butte everyday. I walk the river trail multiple times a week, I'm always hiking." You might even be able to coax her into a game of 1 on 1 if you ask her nicely.
Best place to grab a bite
- Sarah was very quick on the draw on this one and I don't blame her. "My favorite place, hands down, to get a snack and a drink is Crux Fermentation Project. I could go there every day." They have kale chips on the menu too.
Get in touch
222 SE Reed Market Rd.
Bend, OR 97702