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Ally Stacher Murphy is not only an accomplished professional cyclist (competing in some of the biggest and most elite U.S. and world events), but she’s also found time to start her own energy bar company. This native Californian, turned North Carolinian, makes and sells three flavors of delicious and nutritious energy bars made with local sweet potatoes. Read on to learn more about her and the story behind Ally’s business, including its sustainable and eco-friendly practices.
How did you develop a love for the environment and what impact has it had on your career?
I grew up with a passion for the outdoors and animals. I was lucky enough to live in a beautiful area where I could enjoy endless hours outside. Through middle school and high school I worked on a watermelon farm, and a couple of different cattle ranches. One place I mucked out stalls and changed water lines. Another ranch I was more full time with changing water lines, feeding cows, working cows, horseback riding, cutting, bailing and stacking hay. I did all things cowgirl. Because of my time working outside with agriculture I developed a love and respect for the environment. I have an appreciation for where our food comes from.
How did you come up with the idea for Ally’s Bars?
I’ve always had a passion for food. My husband and I were both racing bikes professionally, and I wanted to use sweet potatoes and other natural ingredients to make an energy bar for our long training rides and intense racing. What you put in your body is what you’ll get out so I wanted to make sure we were putting the best ingredients in.
I started making bars in my kitchen. I gave bars out to my family, friends and teammates. I started creating a demand for my tasty sweet potato bars. I was still racing full time on a European team. It was becoming to much to make bars while training and racing full time, so we started hunting for a manufacturer. We wanted to work with a co-packer that had high quality standards and made non-GMO, Gluten Free products. We found someone that checked all of our boxes, so we got to work on perfecting my recipe. I didn’t want to lose the amazing taste profile we had created.
How do you come up with recipe ideas?
For the original bar, I threw all my favorite ingredients together and, bam, our original bar was born. The apple carrot ginger is one of my favorite juice combos and pistachios, cashews and pumpkin seeds are my favorite nuts to eat. Pretty straight forward really.
Which flavor is your favorite?
It changes daily. 🙂 My husband John loves the Pistachio Cashew Pumpkin Seed.
What environmentally friendly practices do you use?
Over half of the sweet potatoes sold in the USA are grown here in North Carolina. We are always trying to reduce waste and are making sure we do everything we can to limit our carbon footprint in all aspects of our company.
How important is it that the brands that you support have environmentally sound practices?
Really important. I love the earth we live on, and brands that have environmentally sound practices mean a lot to me. I want to be part of the solution.
What challenges have you had along the way in running your business and how have you overcome them?
There are daily challenges. It’s all how you deal with them. I have learned that the most important aspect is your team and making communication within our team a top priority.
Where are Ally’s Bars currently sold?
We are still quite small, but we sell online to people across the country. We are in 28 Ingles locations and constantly growing in NC and the Southeast.
What’s next for Ally and Ally’s Bars?
We have some pretty big goals for Ally’s Bars. We will continue to build our brand in the fantastic way that we have planned out. It’s going to be super exciting and a lot of fun to be a part of.
When not cycling or running your business what else do you like to do for fun?
I love hanging out with my 3-month old son, hanging out with my husband and trail running with my dogs. I’m also an avid yogi and I love cooking.
Anything else you’d like to tell our readers?
We like to dream big and make it happen.
Video: See Ally in Action
Ally is one fast gal on her bike, check out this short clip to get to know her better and see her bike racing!
Thanks Ally for taking time out of your busy schedule to share your story with us and for creating such a delicious product! Buy a box for yourself at allysbar.com/#shop and check out Ally’s Bar’s latest news on Instagram: #allysbaradventure & #originalsweetpotatobar!