Neil Dudley: The Cowboy Perspective, well, it might be hard to define, but I guarantee if you think about it, you’ve got one in mind. Whether you’re building a legacy, an empire, or a fan base, I bet when your friends look at you, they see some cowboy in your face. Y’all come along, let’s talk about this or that. Maybe when we’re done, you’ll go away with another perspective to put under your hat.
Thanks for coming back around here to the Cowboy Perspective. I just like to always say thank you. I do appreciate your attention for me and my guests. It is a great opportunity for us to give you some information that we hope you find really valuable. This episode is going to be all about Tribali Foods, who or what eventually, ultimately boils down to the vision of Angela Mavridis, John Bicos and Chris Bicos, siblings building a brand, calling it Tribali Foods. Hope you really learn a lot of fun, interesting information, and realize this is part of our series, the Brands of the Simple Grocer, and we want everybody shopping the Simple Grocer to get a deep insight into who they’re spending their hard-earned money with, and they can fully understand what these brands are all about and what their products should be bringing to the table whenever they take them home and feed them to their families. Hope you enjoy the listen.
Hey, everybody. I’m so glad. Well, let’s set the stage a little bit. We are sitting in the napping area of the Tribali Bicos – is that correct way to pronounce that? — restaurant group headquarters. Not so much, but we’re on some couches. There’s a huge picture of Elton John in the background. And we’re going to talk a little bit about the Tribali brand, where it came from, what it means to this family, and that kind of thing. And also, how that plays a role in the Simple Grocer and what we want to do as a company in bringing these kinds of really awesome products, people, brands really to the nation. And we’re not the only people doing that, but we think we’re going to do it better than anybody else. So, Angela, John, welcome. Thank you so much for your time. So maybe the best way to go, the thing people may not know is who are you? So, Angela, why don’t you start, tell us a little bit about who you are and just what you do and maybe a little bit where Tribali came from, and then we can plug John in whenever he starts dosing off.
Angela Mavridis: Okay, great. So, I am the oldest of the three siblings, so it’s myself, John-
Neil Dudley: Sorry, Chris is hiding off camera. He’s actually hiding off camera and off audio. Okay, sorry.
Angela Mavridis: But he’s part of the team too. And we grew up in the restaurant business. So, my dad owned and operated fast food hamburger drive thus here in Pasadena and the boys took over that business quite a while ago, years ago, and expanded to barbecue and other types of restaurants. I was off doing other things, living abroad, getting my MBA, owning a shoe store and clothing store, all the fun stuff. And then I was also vegetarian for 35 years. So, growing up in a Greek household- a burger owned restaurant, I was almost the black sheep – like, why do you not eat meat?
Neil Dudley: No, but you make a great representative now for the vegetarian community, you really understand. See, I have a hard time relating to the vegetarian community. Just I never have really been brave enough or strong enough willed or educated enough to just eat vegetarian.
John Bicos: You don’t need to. Meat’s great for you.
Neil Dudley: Well, I believe so. Of course, being raised on a ranch where we would eat our own beef, so it just never even crossed my mind that it wouldn’t be a part of my diet.
Angela Mavridis: But I think back when I was into nutrition, I think the messages were that meat’s bad for you, it’s going to clog your arteries. Grains were promoted. We were all concerned about calorie counts. And now we’ve swung the pendulum to the other side where fat is embraced. You want to eat healthy fats. People are putting fat in their coffees in the morning for bulletproof coffee. The carnivore diet and keto diet are so popular. So, there’s definitely a switch in perception. And I studied nutrition about four years ago and became a holistic nutritionist to realize that there’s some great health benefits in good high-quality meat. So, I was deficient in a few things, I had done some tests, and I realized let me try incorporating meat back into my diet. I was eating fish the whole time, but not red meat. So, I tried a piece of grass fed [and finished] steak about four years ago, and I never looked back.
Neil Dudley: I was so hoping you would say bacon. I always tell everybody bacon is the gateway meat for vegetarians. But it turns out it might be grass fed ribeye. Was it ribeye?
Angela Mavridis: Yeah, it was. And I am eating more meat now to make up for 35 years of abstaining from it. So having said that, I started making burger patties. And the reason being, I grew up, like I said, in the burger business, I was very familiar with utilizing a patty, but I was always eating it sort of bun-less, more on the healthy side. And when I was a vegetarian, in the freezer section, I would always buy those veggie patties – when I was in college, you throw them in, you cook them for a few seconds, made out of quinoa or black beans or mushrooms. When I was looking into the meat section, I’m like there’s no flavorful patties. There’s nothing there that’s got some umph to it. Most of them tasted like cardboard to me. So, I started making them, and really, I would tell my clients as a nutritionist really eat the rainbow of vegetables and fruits. I started eating the rainbow of animal proteins. I was trying veal and venison and lamb and beef, and all sorts of different ones. And I would cut various herbs, spices, vegetables, and purees into the meat after I would grind it. I actually bought a refurbished grinder on Amazon and a white lab coat. My kids thought I was a mad scientist. But I would sit there, and I would make these creations that were tasty. I’d stick them in the freezer, and then I would have friends and family pass by and go, “Oh, do you have that Moroccan lamb you made? Or how about the Mediterranean beef?” And the Mediterranean one is actually, like in Greece, my grandmother would make these – they’re more oval in shape – but we would eat these, they’re called biftekia. It’s ground meat with nice herbs and vegetables in it, and it just gives it a little flavor. So that’s how, that was the first one that was made. And lo and behold, I had these and I went up to Whole Foods here in my local city. And they knew my dad from the restaurant business, and they knew that he owned Top’s, and when I told them what I was doing, they said, let’s give it a try; we love burgers. So, I introduced them to the patties and then they set me up with corporate and said, “You’ve got something here.” And at the time, I didn’t really have everything planned out. Like I didn’t have the brand, what we’re about, I didn’t know how to produce a product USDA in a facility. There are so many intricacies to that. But I introduced them to the concept, and I said there’s a need for higher quality. And that’s what I was about. Now that I’m eating meat again, it needed to be organic, grass fed [and finished] pasture raised, natural, and clean as possible.
Neil Dudley: There’s so much stuff you just said there. Well, the picture I want to paint for people listening is you ought to see the passion in this lady’s eyes when she starts talking about this stuff. It’s so fun to talk to founders of companies, inventors of products, because you know everything there is to know about it because you birthed it. So, it’s so cool. It’s really fun to just talk about that. So, John, let’s tell everybody a little bit about you and catch them up on that piece.
John Bicos: Yeah, so I, as Angela mentioned, we kind of all grew up in the restaurant business and each kind of went our separate ways into college, and I thought it was something that I would possibly end up doing but didn’t start off doing. And Chris, my brother, was already running our father’s burger place, the original Top’s in Pasadena.
Neil Dudley: Is it still there?
John Bicos: Oh yeah. It’s still there. It’s been in Pasadena since the 1950s.
Neil Dudley: Is it still under y’all’s management?
John Bicos: Yes.
Neil Dudley: Okay. Cool.
Angela Mavridis: Picture big burgers, a shoe box of French fries, shakes, I mean, that’s all American.
Neil Dudley: So, everybody listening in the Pasadena area, go check it out if you haven’t already. They probably already know. But if you’re in Texas, fly out there.
John Bicos: Yeah, exactly. So, as I kind of started working a little bit more, I found that that was clearly my passion and joined Chris after I graduated. And from the burger place, we kind of went off and did various things – went into upper casual dining and did a barbecue restaurant, we did a bar, and I’ve opened a few others since then. And so, along the way, Angela, as she mentioned, was kind of tinkering with this idea and having us be the guinea pigs to taste it. And surprisingly, even the first batch was amazing. And so, she ran with it, and as she said, pitched to Whole Foods and realized there was something there. And as the momentum grew and responsibilities grew, we kind of joined the team, probably about a year ago, maybe a little bit less.
Angela Mavridis: Yes. It’s a good thing we all get along.
Neil Dudley: Or even if you don’t, you’re able to work together. I mean, growing up in a family business myself, just the ranch, we do get along, but we don’t always agree. That’s kind of what we say, and you just have to spend a little time communicating and caring. If you can do that, you really can take a business as a family wherever you can dream it.
Angela Mavridis: Well, there’s a level of trust, too. We know we have each other’s back.
Neil Dudley: Trust and vulnerability have to be, I mean, because if John just said, “That sucked,” it would maybe hurt your feelings a little bit because you just put this recipe together you love so much. I mean, this has happened to me personally. My mom is kind of my best measuring stick. “Hey mom, we’re trying this stuff. What do you think?” And she will just like, I’ll never forget this, we were doing ham or making ham, and I said, “Mom, try this ham. This is going to be our holiday ham.” And no knock on Vienna sausages, but she said, “That tastes like Vienna sausages.” Well, that’s a big problem because it’s supposed to taste like the most scrumptious ham you’ve ever had. But it was such honest feedback that I could be vulnerable enough to just listen, hear and react based on it, and turns out, it helped us make what I think is a really quality product now. But you got to be willing to understand the first try isn’t necessarily always going to be the best try.
Angela Mavridis: And they’ve come to the table, it’s so great, with not just a sophisticated palette because they are in the food service business, but also just such efficiencies to streamline the business. I mean, cause we’re, I’m up and running and I’m full throttle, and they’ve come in and just helped just manage all sorts of aspects because there are all sorts of moving parts.
Neil Dudley: I’ll never forget my wife came home after meeting you somewhere, some conference or something. She said, “I just met a lady that’s going to be successful.” And she was like, “She is such a tenacious go-getter personality, and attitude towards it.”
Angela Mavridis: Thank you, Neil. That’s so sweet.
Neil Dudley: Well, you should be thanking her because she’s the one that told me. And she’s got a great knack for that kind of stuff. She has just a feeling for marketing and business, and I want to just call it tenacity. So, she saw that in you early on. So, we’ve always known Tribali is going to be a brand to reckon with.
Angela Mavridis: Well, I’m excited to have partnered with the Simple Grocer. I think this is a great vehicle to get us out there and get our product to the right consumers that care about quality and care about sustainability and where their products are coming from.
Neil Dudley: Sure. And I believe as we go along, Peterson’s, Tribali, Pasture Bird, all these different brands and really high-end proteins that we get together, bring together, and we’re going to be doing a dinner tonight, kind of with a group. I’m really excited about that because I like to think there’s going to be conversation had, ideas bounced off, you get a bunch of these entrepreneurial minds around the table, all doing something kind of similar but not exactly the same, there’s usually growth. At least in my experience, I’ll learn something from that conversation or that time together, almost every time. Okay, so maybe we’re going to get off of Tribali here a little bit because this restaurant thing’s just clicking in my mind. It’s really interesting to me. I’m trying to think of, I’ve read a book just recently by a guy, his first name is Danny. He’s a really well-known restaurant owner.
John Bicos: Danny Meyer.
Neil Dudley: Yes, Danny Meyer. So give me your thoughts on Danny Meyer
John Bicos: I mean, extremely impressive. And the book Setting the Table, which is a great book. Yeah, he started in New York and the probably in toughest market of restaurants and opened one kind of flagship at a really young age and then kind of waited quite a while, nine years, until he opened his second, really from kind of, I think, fear of failing because the first had been successful. And so, from then on, he ended up opening tons and tons of kind of fine dining restaurants as well as Shake Shack, which is the fast, casual burger place that started in East coast and now is worldwide and went public. So, he’s got amazing insight on not just the restaurant business, but business in general. Setting the Table is a great book, regardless of whether you’re in the food business or not.
Neil Dudley: That kind of parlays to one of the questions I always like to ask everybody. Danny Meyer just happened to come across my brain as we’re talking. But tell me a little bit about y’all’s- What do y’all consume for education or books or podcasts or, I don’t know, classes? What do you do to, I guess, challenge yourself on that front?
Angela Mavridis: Well, I know there’s two podcasts that I listen to and I turned them onto –one is Taste Radio, and they do the BevNET, and they go to all the expos, shows, and trade shows and interview all the brands and have lots of the founders on there. So, listening to their stories, how they started, and how they got from point A to point B has helped me. I look at them as mentors, and I’ve actually reached out to various brand owners when I have questions, and everyone’s so helpful and open in this industry. I mean, it’s so refreshing to see that people want to help you along. So, and then the other one is Brand Builders. Are you familiar with that one?
Neil Dudley: No, I’m not familiar with either one so that’s going to be good information for me. I’ll add that to my growing list of podcasts that I listen to. I have about a two hour commute every day.
Angela Mavridis: Brand Builders is a great podcast.
Neil Dudley: I never read a book until about November of last year. I never read a full book. I don’t even know how I got through schools. Just reading, I don’t know, didn’t jive with me. But I started listening to audibles and podcasts, and I’ve listened to 32 books and I’m listening to podcasts all the time. And I’m really sad about it because I think all this education I’m now trying to flood into this brain, it won’t all get in there. So it’s always falling out and I’m trying to jam it back in. I could have been putting it in slowly and held a lot more. But I’m also happy because I’m doing it instead of not. Now, I feel like, wow, like I know about Danny Meyer. I know about Gary Vaynerchuk, which is a marketing guy I really like. I know about Tim Ferriss and now I’m going to get to know about- Now, the Brand Builders, is that a person or is it different people all the time on that podcast? Is there kind of a host?
John Bicos: Yeah, it features a different topic, and there’s usually a guest speaker from either a CPG company or a marketing company or a consultant, someone that can offer insight on building a brand from zero to a hundred. And so, it’s got some really great- Angela turned me on to it and I think I’ve heard all of them.
Angela Mavridis: It’s really worth listening to.
Neil Dudley: Yeah, you bet. I’m going to check it out. I know we’ll be driving around town today. I’ll make these girls listen to it.
Angela Mavridis: Yeah, and podcasts have picked up so much lately. Like I think that’s where it’s at. You want to learn just because you listen to their experiences – it’s so different than reading a book because the book will give you one dimensional of how it’s done, and then these brand builders that have built their brand, each one had a different approach, a different journey. And I literally have reached out to so many of them because I, too, am a brand now. And so, when there’s questions, it’s nice to be able to just go to the source.
Neil Dudley: Hey, folks, I want to take a quick break in the action to tell you a little bit about one of the sponsors of the podcast. It’s thesimplegrocer.com. I highly recommend you go Google that, check out all the scrumptious bacon, sausage, hams, and many other things they have to shop. And if you choose to place an order, be sure and use TCP in the discount code for a special the Cowboy Perspective discount.
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Well, that’s great. So, what about books; any books?
John Bicos: I think I’ve, now I’ve run out of time to actually sit, which is sad to say, and have time. On vacation, I’ll end up reading a book or two and catch up for the months that I haven’t. But I think podcasts is a big one. On the restaurant side, just within like our office, we’re constantly sharing ideas through articles, recipes, new techniques. Internally, one of the things that we always talk about, it’s like a value of ours, is curiosity. So, anything that can make us better, we’re usually looking into, and I think we’ve kind of started that with Tribali too – looked at everything that we’re doing and how can we do it better and how can we learn from what others have done.
Neil Dudley: Well, I’m sure- Now, you just said Tribali. Where did that come from?
Angela Mavridis: The word itself?
Neil Dudley: Yeah, where did Tribali come from? I’m sure that story is out there somewhere, but let’s put it on tape.
Angela Mavridis: Absolutely. Part of what I believe in is that when you change anything in your life, especially a way of eating, you need a teacher, a teaching, and a tribe of people. You need a community, a sense of people that care about the same values that you care about, about what you’re putting in your body, how it’s affecting you. So, we kind of gave it a little spin and did Tribali with the, I don’t know, a little accent.
Neil Dudley: I need to improve that pronunciation because I miss it – Tribali.
Angela Mavridis: But it is just bringing that tribe of people together that also have common beliefs and values into the food system.
Neil Dudley: Well, I think you kind of plugged into a really growing tribe when you hit into the keto space, the paleo space, the Whole30 space, these communities of people that are, or they’re making their health better. They are very close knit and just a really fun bunch to even be a part of, because they’ll help you be a better product and brand if you’ll listen to them. I mean, they’ll tell you what they’re looking for.
Angela Mavridis: Right, right. And even now, like we’re looking at our next innovation and our next product line and we’re reaching out to our tribe and to our community to say, what would make your life easier? What in your daily life and in your eating protocol, what are you looking for? And that’s how the breakfast sliders actually came about. I had the patties – three versions of a patty, two beef and the chicken – and people are like, oh, I’d love something for breakfast. Breakfast was their hard point. Something clean, something easy to make. So now we’re going back to them and saying, all right, we’re looking to expand, what do you guys need?
Neil Dudley: I’m glad you mentioned that because depending on when this podcast makes it out to the people, there likely will be a chance that we’ll have those pork and sage sliders on the Simple Grocer for them to order them there. We currently have Mediterranean, umami, and what’s the other one?
Angela Mavridis: Chipotle chicken.
Neil Dudley: Chipotle chicken, there you go.
Angela Mavridis: We just came out with our Thai turkey.
Neil Dudley: Now, what is your, as a company, as a business, what’s your best- I don’t want to say best, but what’s your bestselling product?
Angela Mavridis: I thought you were going to ask me what is my most favorite. That’s like out of your three kids, which one do you like? Well, the bestselling is the chicken, Chipotle chicken. My favorite, I will say I love them all, Mediterranean was my first, because like I said, it was grandma’s inspiration, but I do love the Thai Turkey. It just has a little tang to it, and I just can’t get enough of it.
Neil Dudley: Now, when did that Thai Turkey come around or come out? Is it recent?
John Bicos: Yeah, in the last three months or so.
Angela Mavridis: And we just got an expansion with Whole Foods. So, we got another, we’ll be in Southwest, NorCal, Pacific Northwest, and they’re taking the Thai Turkey.
Neil Dudley: They are just taking the world by storm. That’s cool. Well, it’s really fun talking to you guys. I appreciate it. Just the smiles, the engagement, it makes what I think is a real nice opportunity, story for some interaction, a chance to tell people about Tribali and make sure they understand you’re not owned by some conglomerate, multinational – you’re out here eating the dirt and making this thing come out of the ground. And so that’s really impressive, and we’re so happy to work with you guys. I do this podcast called the Cowboy Perspective, so these will end up being a series on the Cowboy Perspective called the Simple Grocer series. So, we’re going to talk about each brand on the Cowboy Perspective, the Simple Grocery series. I don’t know why I said that 29 times in a row. I guess I’m talking myself into it now – no, I know what I want to do, I promise. So, you got to answer a couple of standard the Cowboy Perspective questions. One of those is what is the value of a dollar or a bitcoin?
John Bicos: Current?
Neil Dudley: In your mind. In your mind, what is a dollar worth? What’s a bitcoin worth?
John Bicos: Gosh, a Bitcoin to me, nothing because it’s all over the place. And I don’t know, I can’t fully grasp it.
Angela Mavridis: Is it a virtual-?
John Bicos: It’s a crypto cryptocurrency.
Neil Dudley: Cryptocurrency. So, you don’t even know what a bitcoin is, oh my goodness. One of these days, they might be wanting to pay you in little one-
John Bicos: Don’t take it.
Neil Dudley: It takes ten thousand bucks these days to buy a Bitcoin. And so, if somebody was going to buy your product, it’d be like 1/1000th of a bitcoin for a package. I love asking this question because, or the reason I ask it is I was raised on a ranch and my granddad came through the Depression and a dollar, I mean, a dollar to him was blood, sweat, tears, life, all these things. It’s not the same to me necessarily. To me, a dollar is leverage. And it’s always like you kind of just get what- how you guys, I was talking to another guy the other day and he said, well, I never think about it. Maybe it’s just like a giant poker table, it’s just a thing to trade.
Angela Mavridis: I have to tell you. My dad came from Greece at a young age, and he taught us hard work. And he passed away recently, and my brother Chris had a speech during his funeral, and he said that dad didn’t teach us the value of a dollar, Dad taught us the value of a nickel. And so that’s what- That’s really how we grew up.
Neil Dudley: I think it just ends up- This is the conversation I want to have from that question is where you come from, what-
Angela Mavridis: We’ve never been afraid to roll up those sleeves and get it done.
John Bicos: And I think both, I think being in this business and the CPG business and also the restaurant, a dollar is a big unit. I mean, everything in our business works in pennies. And if you can shave a little bit here and there, it’s much bigger than thinking in terms of a dollar.
Neil Dudley: Alright, I’m going to pick your brain a little bit there. You touched on something that I need to learn. Maybe you can teach me if you don’t mind divulging a bit. Being that it works like that, and let’s say, I want to sell you a higher end bacon or a higher end burger patty or whatever, and you know your current cost is 5 cents on a patty, whatever, just pick a number. How could I provide of value for you in which you could say, okay, cool, this is a thing I can afford to take the 2-cent extra cost. Let’s say we’re going to go up on that input 2 cents.
John Bicos: As an ingredient?
Neil Dudley: As a piece of a burger. As an ingredient, let’s say the patty. I mean, I’m just throwing out a number here. I find a lot of times, because I’d love to sell to restaurants, and I think we have a brand that’s worth something, but most of the restaurants, in my perception anyways, don’t feel that. I’m wondering, what am I missing? Is there an answer to that?
John Bicos: I mean, I think in any business, you’ve got your standards and values and you try never to sway from those, even as things change and people’s tastes or the really the economy just making it more difficult to produce at a low rate. But I think for us, we’ve set a bar of what we’re willing to put in our food and we’re constantly looking for those better ingredients. At the end of the day, it has to make sense for the end user to be able to purchase it at a reasonable price and experience it, because if we can’t get it in the hands of them, there’s no point. And so, it’s a balancing game. I think we look at everything and there are certain ingredients that might shine a little bit that we might put at the forefront because maybe it’s a great bacon, thick cut bacon, and others are still within our standards, but we didn’t spring for the-
Neil Dudley: I wonder, have you ever dabbled with putting a retail type brand on your menu? Or has anybody ever pitched that to you?
John Bicos: At the restaurants?
Neil Dudley: Yeah.
John Bicos: Yeah, I mean, for sure they pitch a ton of that. We don’t; at any of the restaurants, we don’t have any retail brand on there. And really just cause they’re all scratch kitchens and we make everything. We make our veggie patties. We make our anything-
Angela Mavridis: They don’t even take Tribali at the restaurants.
Neil Dudley: It’s just a chance for me to ask the question to a guy that’s in the trenches and knows. I don’t know how I’ll ever do it, if we’ll ever pull it off, I want to find a way-
John Bicos: I mean, bacon we do, of course.
Neil Dudley: You put the brand on your menu?
John Bicos: No, we don’t put the brand. We use and we’ve-
Neil Dudley: -leveraged the brand, if there was a brand to leverage. And maybe even you might think, well, if I’m going to do that, I need compensated. So I’m curious about the dynamic of it.
John Bicos: I think it’s gotten more-, you did see that a lot, maybe 10 years ago, you’d see menus plastered with Jidori chicken, and calling out specific names, I think it’s just gotten more difficult to do that because if you have to quickly change, it doesn’t mean you’re lowering your standards. We’re still, moving laterally or maybe-
Neil Dudley: It limits your flexibility.
John Bicos: Yeah, exactly.
Neil Dudley: Yeah. Okay. Well, that’s a great insight for me because maybe when I’m pitching that next time, I need to be sure and draw a picture of how it’s not going to limit flexibility. But anyways, that’s really- thanks for that. Let’s see. The next question was, we did the dollar, we already talked about books and podcasts – that was my other thing I like to always ask on the Cowboy Perspective. So how about you guys? You got any questions in your mind for me?
Angela Mavridis: Well, I’d love to hear where do you guys see the Simple Grocer expanding to, or going to, or what does the future hold?
Neil Dudley: Great. I want everybody to know that everybody that shops the Simple Grocer, the brands that are on the Simple Grocer to know we are scouring the country daily to find the highest quality products, the hardest to get products, and the best people to do business with. And that’s where the Simple Grocer is going. We want to give, give, give. And hopefully when we do that, if we do that well, people are going to find a place they can come and just trust. And to me, that even makes goosebumps on my arms now, because I just love that idea that we’re going to have a business that people can just trust.
Angela Mavridis: Well, you’ve vetted the companies, and that’s part of the process, absolutely.
Neil Dudley: And you guys, I want anybody who’s selling a brand on there to say, wow, I’m actually in the mix on the Simple Grocer with a lot of other people I respect.
Angela Mavridis: Likeminded brands, that’s really important.
Neil Dudley: And we won’t be perfect at that. I mean, we’re going to, I picture doing some business with a brand that we’re really in love with and they sell to General Mills or somebody – who knows, pick them – and then that’s going to be a tough thing for me. I did a little research the other day – the brands that are on the Simple Grocer are privately owned, and I don’t know anybody’s actual income statements or what they look like, but they’re smaller companies. Then Tribali is one that I couldn’t find an exact competitor to.
Angela Mavridis: Let’s just keep it that was, shall we?
Neil Dudley: So, you might take Peterson’s for example. Our kind of flip side of the coin would be Applegate, who is actually owned by Hormel, which is a multinational, which is $23 billion market cap company.
Angela Mavridis: So, we kind of feel like David against Goliath at times.
Neil Dudley: I’m not scared to compete against them because I think people, I think most people want to do business with somebody that they think, I feel some connection to.
John Bicos: Yeah, put a face to the brand.
Neil Dudley: I mean, I don’t know how I feel connected to Harmon. I just don’t do that. Now they hide that a bit and people do feel connected to Applegate and they’re a tough competitor and that’s good. We need tough competitors. That’s what drives this whole industry to be better. So, I’m not against the tough competition. The Simple Grocer, I think, is just going to say we highlight people and businesses that, even if you are paying a little bit more, you can feel okay.
Angela Mavridis: Right, right. Excellent. Well, we have our box there, so you let me know-
Neil Dudley: Okay, we need to do that. Here’s some rapid fire – breakfast routine?
Angela Mavridis: I make coffee, not tea. And I usually blend it up with some vital proteins, collagen. And this morning I actually had a keto bar, the Perfect Keto Bar, just because I was running out the door. Oh, and a piece of bacon. I did have that.
Neil Dudley: You did? Or you’re just adding that in.
John Bicos: A little plug. Did it happen to be a Peterson’s-
Angela Mavridis: It came in the box, and I was going to bring it, but I eat it on the way. Grab and go.
Neil Dudley: How about you, John?
John Bicos: Yeah, I make a daily shake – grass-fed protein powder, some blueberries, banana, almond milk. That’s kind of my go-to every morning.
Neil Dudley: Okay. You said coffee not tea. How about you? Coffee or tea?
John Bicos: Coffee. Although yesterday, I did have tea for the first time in forever.
Neil Dudley: And now you might be on the fence.
John Bicos: Yeah, we were briefly in China and I had more tea in five days than I’ve ever had in my life, and I came back thinking I’d try and continue that. There’s a lot of work that goes into it though.
Neil Dudley: Sweet or savory?
Angela Mavridis: Savory.
John Bicos: Savory.
Neil Dudley: Yeah, me too. Although, I talk about this a lot is I feel 99.9% sure I’m a sugar addict. I think I truly am.
Angela Mavridis: Try the keto diet.
Neil Dudley: Well, I’ve ate keto, I’ve done multiple Whole30s. It still doesn’t mean- it’s kind of like an alcoholic – you’re just always an alcoholic. I will always be a sugar addict.
Angela Mavridis: Maybe there’s sugar anonymous? Is there something out there for you?
Neil Dudley: Maybe we should start that! You just came up with the best business idea.
Angela Mavridis: You’re not the only one.
John Bicos: I think there’s help out there.
Neil Dudley: And I guess I just feel a little bit like everybody has a bit of an addiction in some way to something. A lot of it’s really bad; a lot of it’s not so bad. And I feel like I get along better when I’m just kind of like admitting it to myself. I do, I will eat, I can eat great, and I have to stay on it like a hawk. The second I say, you know what, I’m going to eat a slice of pizza or something like that, then it just spirals down.
Angela Mavridis: That’s a whole chemical thing. It’s not like your motivation or willpower, that doesn’t take into play. It’s all chemical. Like you just go down that rollercoaster and it’s a spiral. So, my suggestion is don’t.
Neil Dudley: Just don’t do it. I promise I heard what you said-
John Bicos: It might not fully compute.
Angela Mavridis: Do you know Gretchen Rubin’s four tendencies of a personality? Like if you’re an upholder, an abstainer – like, some people can eat a little piece of, like if they have a chocolate bar and just have one piece and just leave it there. And other people have to eat the whole entire bar. Like they can’t, if it’s there- So, you just have to know your personality and understand how you work with it. So, I refrain from it all because like you said, if I have one bite, one might lead to two, [inaudible 37:10], so don’t even take a bite.
Neil Dudley: Okay, cool. Thank you all so much for the time. Really the thanks isn’t big enough because this hour of your time, I know there’s been 29 emails coming in, if not 2,900 emails, there’s just a lot of stuff going on for somebody running a business, building a brand. So, thank you so much for your time.
John Bicos: Thank you. This was great.
Neil Dudley: Well, we’ve come to the end of another episode here on the Cowboy Perspective. And if you’ve made it this far, well, I just have to believe you found something there that kept your interest. I’m glad you came. Thank you so much for riding around the pasture one more time. See you next time – well, I guess I won’t see you, I’ll just be talking to you next time.