Backpack Entrepreneur

Celestina Blok Special to the Business Press

Working out of his backpack, local entrepreneur Justin Anderson, founder and president of Anderson Trail granola, is always on the go, visiting retailers where his products are sold. With the recent launch of WOATS, Anderson’s new line of soft oat snacks available exclusively at Central Market, he’s found himself at Central Market’s Fort Worth locale almost daily. His “desk” there consists of two cafe tables pushed together on the store’s second level, overlooking his product’s shelf location and within earshot of beeping cash registers. “I’ve been here every day lately. I’ll come in to check on the product and to get work done,” said the 26-year-old. “WOATS is currently on promotion at Central Market. They got me started with Anderson Trail back in 2005.” Anderson’s only work tools are his White House backpack (the Texas Christian University grad was among a small group of entrepreneurs who were invited to meet President Barack Obama in May), his notepad, his phone and his MacBook, his must-have item. “I didn’t get an iPhone until October of 2011,” he said. “The iPhone is the gateway drug to all Mac products. They’re good with that.” But Anderson admits he’d be lost without his paper notepad. He refers to its lined pages daily for details on phone conversations and meetings. And when he needs to make a stop at Best Maid Products Inc., where he works in product development on occasion, everything he needs is already on him. “It’s great to have everything on one little device in the MacBook and on one little notepad, because you can kind of go anywhere,” he said. Anderson also is never without a bag or two of WOATS, which come in three flavors – berry and nut, cookies and cream, and peanut butter graham cracker. “You never know when you need to give samples, or when you’re going to get hungry.” Regarding his makeshift desk at Central Market, Anderson says that despite the noisy bustle below he feels right at home. “It’s great to come up here and get away from all of the craziness downstairs. It’s like a little haven, a place where you can focus, but you still have the activity and the energy of the store.”