Meet Us at the EXPO: Belinda and Rick O’Brien, O’Brien’s Own Granola

Attend the Entrepreneur Showcase at Innovation EXPO on Sept. 19th and meet first-time exhibitors, Belinda and Rick O’Brien, Founders of O’Brien’s Own Granola out of Center Point, IA. What started as a personal challenge from Rick to Belinda has become a viable business for this Center Point couple. Rick had discovered a granola he liked while visiting some military friends in Texas. The granola was not easily found in Iowa and Belinda offered to make some. At first, Rick suggested she leave it to “the experts” which challenged Belinda to whip up her own recipe. She surprised him with a batch that was even better than his former favorite.

The O’Brien’s started making the granola in their house, then gutted their basement and put in a commercial kitchen which they grew out of in a year. They now operate out of an old Casey’s in Center Point which serves as their manufacturing/baking HQ. They also have a store front for local customers located in the new strip mall in Center Point.

Early on, the O’Briens also took advantage of Iowa Economic Development Authority’s Targeted Small Business program (TSB). The TSB program supports women, individuals with minority status, service-connected disabled veterans, and individuals with disabilities overcome some of the hurdles to start or grow a small business in Iowa. Rick spent 20 years in active duty for the U.S. Air Force before retiring in May 2007.

The O’Brien’s brand is available in HyVee stores, Fareways stores, online and at various farmers markets. The product line has expanded to include both packaged granola (15 flavors!) and energy bars. Register to attend the Showcase and taste their special recipe yourself!


The support and guidance EDC provided Apache gave us a platform to more clearly flush out and define our strategy. We utilize The Recipe as our planning platform. EDC, in no small part, has been part of our growth and success!

Tom Pientok, Apache Inc.

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