Local Producer Profile: GoMacro
Located on high ground near the Kickapoo River in Viola, Wisconsin, GoMacro is a local hometown success story. The company is owned and operated by mother and daughter team of Amelia Kirchoff and Jola Sonkin. Their MacroBars are a staple on our shelves and on the shelves of over 25,000 retailers across the country.
GoMacro MacroBars are a raw, vegan, gluten-free, and certified organic protein bar that is a great workout boost, delicious snack, and a quick meal on the go. Each bar is a mix of nut or seed butter (peanut, almond, cashew, sunflower), brown rice syrup, and other additions like fruit, chocolate, coffee, etc. VFC always carries around 10-12 varieties of their bars, with our best sellers being their Protein Pleasure (Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip), Sunny Uplift (Cherries and Berries) and Sweet Awakening (Mocha Chocolate Chip) bars.
GoMacro was a positive outcome from Kirchoff’s health struggles. In 2003, Amelia was diagnosed with breast cancer. Instead of taking cancer suppressing drugs following surgery, Amelia decided to follow a strict macrobiotic diet that focused on eating organic whole grains, vegetables and beans to heal. She also had a deep love of baking, so she transferred her new macrobiotic diet to her favorite sweets. Amelia began to develop recipes for a variety of delicious macrobiotic pies, cakes and cookies using unrefined sweeteners like maple syrup and brown rice syrup. Jola’s husband Alex tried some of her macrobiotic cookies and thought they were delicious. He recommended that Amelia and Jola sell them to health food stores.
From that sample and conversation, GoMacro was born. Amelia and Jola started small at first making GoMacro cookies in their commercial kitchen in their barn on their farm outside of Viola. They sold their first cookies to retailers in 2004. After a few years they began making no-bake, raw macro bars for the first time.
In 2011, they outgrew the capacity of their on-farm kitchen and they took the leap and moved the business to the west side of Viola to a 5,000 square foot building that was formerly home to a furniture company. Since the move, they have had explosive growth. They expanded the building in 2014 (7,000 additional sq. ft.) and 2015 (4,800 additional sq. ft.) to help keep pace with demand for their organic energy bars. In Autumn 2018, they completed their largest expansion yet of 21,000 sq. ft. – which includes new offices, more warehouse space, new loading docks, and new employee locker rooms and fitness center.
The company hasn’t cut corners when it comes to sustainability with their expanded facility. The design of the building intentionally took advantage of the structure’s southern sun exposure. They worked with Ethos Green Power of Viroqua to design and install 840 solar panels that provide around 2/3 of the power required for the facility. Beyond that, the building has high efficiency LED lighting with occupancy sensors that help reduce energy needs.
It is hard to believe that this small hometown company, that had seven employees and made 760,000 bars in 2012, now has over 90 employees and is expected to make over 30 million bars by the end 2018.
Next time you are at the VFC and need a quick snack, pick up a few GoMacro MacroBars and know that you are supporting a local organic company that employs many of our neighbors.