Tucked away in a nondescript brick building on West 75th Street in the West Chatham neighborhood, TeaSquares hopes to be a force for positive change in a community with high poverty and unemployment. It also aims to be a thriving food company in an expanding snack bar category. Since launching in Whole Foods Market in May 2016, TeaSquares has grown to sell its products — made with puffed millet, almonds and pumpkin seeds — in 12 Whole Foods stores and, soon, all Mariano’s stores in the Chicago area.
Realizing the dream of both financial success and social impact is an arduous day-to-day learning process, as founders Jordan Buckner and Isaac Lozano will attest. Like other startup entrepreneurs, Buckner and Lozano have had to learn on the fly how to manage the ebbs and flows of growing a business to meet increasing demand.
Profits aren’t really profits; they go right back into the business to sustain the growth.