Eric Buckley is smoothing out a less-than-ideal 2020 — grinding pandemic-fueled misfortune into flavorful opportunity.
“I just kind of started getting creative,” Buckley said of his experimentation with a nutty pantry staple since losing a software sales job at a local tech company in March, a setback that inspired a path forward through entrepreneurship.
“I’ve always liked peanut butter,” he said, laughing. “At my old job, I would literally have a jar of peanut butter and a bottle of honey on my desk with a bunch of spoons and would just go to town all day long. But I never really looked into making my own.”
After a few hours of research one quarantined-afternoon, Buckley found a recipe for a 2020 second act: EB’s PB, his newly-unshelled company that cranks out custom, premium peanut butter tailored to the tastes of curious customers and nut butter aficionados.
“I didn’t think that it was going to be nearly as popular as it is. We’re still very much in the beginning of things, but it’s been really cool to see how our friends and family have responded,” he said, highlighting initial flavors like agave habanero and Princess Lily’s strawberry — a treat highly requested by a young friend of Buckley’s family.
Future product expansions could include almond butter and mystery flavors, with two new flavors set to roll out soon, Buckley teased.
“We’ll come up with a flavor, put it in a black jar or something like that, and let people know, ‘Hey, if you can guess correctly we’ll send you a jar of your choice for free,’” he said. “I think people really enjoy that type of thing and feel like they’re more and more involved.”
The business is so freshly unearthed that it hasn’t yet launched a website to handle promotions and sales. Customers are encouraged to reach out to EB’s PB by email or through such social platforms as Instagram and Facebook to place an order — or to suggest flavors, which Buckley plans to name after customers.
“A good indicator, at least in my mind, has been when we started getting orders from people that we’ve never met and don’t have any mutual friends,” he said. “They send us a message or give us a call asking for an order. So that’s been really cool, very encouraging.”
Click here to connect with Buckley or EB’s PB on Facebook.
While the venture is early in its journey, Buckley acknowledged, businesses like EB’s can scale quickly — adding that in today’s world he’s more than OK with proactively taking things one day at a time.
“We’re not ones to just kind of drift along,” he said. “We’re certainly going to push the envelope and see what the response is. It was really just something that I wanted to try for myself and then once we had that really positive response, it was really just like, ‘Go for it.’”
And if a pandemic can’t help Buckley build a resilient business that rises in the ranks of dozens of widely known Kansas City-based food products, he said he doesn’t know what well.
“There’s always going to be some roadblock, some obstacle that you’re going to come up against,” Buckley said of the entrepreneurial experience. “It’s just a matter of if you’re willing to push past it, to overcome it. You’re always going to come out stronger on the other side.”