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OUR STORY

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Aloha! I'm Gretchen Geisler, founder and CEO of Coconoats. I was born and raised in Virginia and found my way to this rock in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. 

Here's my story...

 

My father always told me to follow my passion and in doing so I was led to the beautiful island of Maui. A land full of adventure, inspiration, and aloha.  A lifestyle that is powered by the sun, earth, and sky. A place where I can be barefoot and carefree, yet serious about creating a life that will inspire others to follow their passion.

 

As a personal trainer and nutrition coach, I have always had a passion for staying active and feeding my body with whole foods. Training in the gym, playing field hockey, hiking, swimming, or traveling the roads, I was always looking for a snack that not only gave me lasting energy, but was also good for me. A snack that my body knows how to breakdown that works for me, not against me.

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Is this really food?

I have always found it weird that food can sit on our shelves for months without going bad. What type of preservative is in there that extends a shelf life that long? I don’t know about you, but that never sat well with me. Our energy bites are baked fresh each week. With 6 simple ingredients your body recognizes. Made in nature, not in a lab. Fueling your body with real food will give you real results.

 

The majority of granola and protein bars on the market have a long list of fillers. These products host a paragraph of ingredients and often, taste undesirable. With my love for training and cooking, I created our Energy Bites. Not just to fuel my passions, but to bake a product that everyone can feel good about and actually enjoy!

When people ask me how I came up with the idea, I always say it was a God thing. I fell in love with all things business a decade ago. Paired with fitness, health, and years of Shark Tank, the idea manifested and  ‘Ono Oats was created. From grassroots farmers markets, hand rolled bites, and handwritten packaging, through hard work,  dedication, and much support, we were able to innovate and update our product and packaging. We relaunched. And Coconoats Energy Bites was born.

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When life throws you a curve ball

 

My world changed in the blink of an eye. April 30, 2023, at 8:12am. Our daughter, Gerty was born with unexpected health conditions. She went to be with Jesus 36 hours after she was born. The life I had planned, was gone. Just like that. Heart and arms empty, left with nothing but memories. How would I go on?

The grace of God is a powerful thing. Through tragedy, grief, and pain, He revealed himself to me in a way I never knew was possible. Hope in Him was all I could cling to. One step at a time. One day at a time. I have learned to trust. To sit down and rest. Because I am not in control of this life. God has plans for my life that are far bigger and better than I can ever imagine. If I believed this for myself, I had to believe it for Gerty.

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Somehow, someway, this tragedy would be used for His glory. I had to hold onto that and focus on him, not the fleshly pain I was suffering. He is our source of strength. I didn’t truly know what that meant until I was at my lowest point and couldn’t even utter a prayer. A peace that transcends all understanding. In my weakness, I am strong. Through the support of my family and friends, both near and far, I was able to start my healing journey.

Coconoats gave me something to focus on. To work towards. To feel again. It gave me purpose. I slowly began working again in July. It brought joy back into my life. We began getting everything ready to open again. We had just signed a lease closer to home. On Front Street, Lahaina.

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Front Street, Lahaina 2022

Tragedy struck again

 

August 8, 2023. Wildfires engulfed our town. Lahaina. Gone. Burnt to ash. Truly unbelievable. I am still in shock. Our community will never be the same. 2,200 structures burned. 100 lives lost. 10,000 residents displaced.

The kitchen we were about to move into was no longer. After searching for a new place to bake, we found one in Wailuku, a nearby town. Coconoats was back!

What was expected to be 3 months off, turned out to be 5. Then 7 months.

However, I found my passion for life again. Being back in the community, with a new focus of supporting Lahaina, gave me something bigger than myself to work for. 10% of our proceeds are donated to the Maui Relief Fund at King’s Cathedral.

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Banyan Tree, Lahaina 2022

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Our Mission

Coconoats does fuel your passion, but it did bring me out of my sorrows too. Coconoats gave me a vision when I couldn’t see a tomorrow. I thank God every day for the opportunity to do what I love and share it with all of you.

 

I aspire to educate, encourage, and provide a healthy snack to all people while enlightening customers of the importance of what goes into your mouth, what’s on the market now, and how we can change the industry one product at a time. We are here to inspire others to fuel their passion and go after they life they dream. If I can do it, you can too.

“So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”

1 Corinthians 10:31

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