Made in the Northwest: BumbleBar and Clean Copack

SPOKANE VALLEY, Wash. – Liz Ward founded BumbleBar a quarter century ago because there weren’t any certified organic, gluten free energy bars on the market.

“I was really passionate, and still am, about organic, healthy food,” Liz explained. “It has to taste good, though, or people aren’t going to eat it.”

And sometimes, she finds it hard to believe how far the company has come.

“The business has just really grown in ways that I never could have imagined when I started it 25 years ago.”

Ward says BumbleBar got so good at making its energy bars that other companies started asking it to make their bars.

“And we thought, ‘All these people are coming to us, wanting our services. Why don’t we say yes?'”

BumbleBar is now what’s called an SQF certified facility.

“SQF stands for safe quality food,” said BumbleBar co-founder Glenn Ward. “It’s kind of like the gold standard for food safety.”

In late 2020, BumbleBar started a second company, Clean Copack, to handle making energy bars and protein products for other companies. Its clients come from all over the country.

“Rocky Mountain, Southwest, Southern California, Northern California, Oregon and some here in Washington, too,” said Liz.

And it can really crank out product.

“We can do about 100,000 bars a day in one shift.”

But with the success of Clean Copack and making bars for other brands, like Protein Puck here in Spokane, BumbleBar production was often neglected. But now, in its 25th anniversary, the company is trying to revitalize the brand. It purchased million dollar machine to make BumbleBars in greater numbers and Liz has spent countless hours in the test kitchen, tweaking the recipes.

“We recently re-formulated all of the BumbleBars so that they use Pacific Northwest honey, which I’m really excited about.”

The new bars could also feature things like blueberries and hazelnuts.

“We’re try to get Northwest hero ingredients and incorporate those into our new BumbleBars,” said Glenn. “And we’re just really excited, because we’re going to create a whole lot of new products and offer them direct to the consumer.”

That direct to consumer approach is what its soon to be third company, Bars Direct, is all about. BumbleBar is working with the founder of Spiceology, Pete Taylor, using influencer marketing.

“We’re going to be rebranding BumbleBar as a Northwest legendary product that’s being developed in conjunction with these influencers,” said Glenn. “And we’re going to go back and start creating our own branded products directly to the consumers.”

And Liz says they’re excited to create more products and continue making delicious, healthy food.

“I feel really lucky everyday that I get to do what I do.”