AKRON, Ohio – It’s the story behind the snack that makes Akron-based Peaceful Fruits’ fruit strips different from other snacks on the shelf.
And now, thanks to the eBay Retail Revival, a 12-month pilot program that teaches 120 entrepreneurs from Akron and Warren how to sell on the platform, Peaceful Fruits Founder and CEO Evan Delahanty hopes he can share his company’s story with prospective customers around the country.
Delahanty was inspired to create Peaceful Fruits after a two-year stint in the Peace Corps in which he was stationed in a remote village in the Amazon rainforest. It was the first time he sampled the antioxidant-rich acai berry. Enamored, he decided to make snacks using the berry as a main ingredient. After working to find a way to ensure the berry could be ethically sourced, Delahanty got to work making fruit strips using just fruit.
“Whole organic fruit, that’s it,” Delahanty said. “Take the whole fruits, blend them up and slowly dry them. It’s as natural and as real as you can get.”
Delahanty handled initial production of the fruit strips, but at the suggestion of friends, decided to partner with the Blick Center to employ individuals with disabilities to produce the strips. Delahanty now employs 27 individuals with disabilities with full-wage jobs.
“When the opportunity with eBay came along to help build our ecommerce business it just made so much sense,” he said. “A company that’s committed to helping the little guys like us, what an incredible opportunity for a partnership to highlight our mission and grow our following.”
The Retail Revival program offers participants online training and a dedicated concierge to help them get set up an eBay store and learn best practices for selling online. Participants also receive a complimentary eBay storefront subscription for one year.
“I have to say I was really blown away by the resources eBay is putting into this program. The team that is being made available to help us out and the commitment to helping the little guy here in Akron is really above and beyond what I could have expected from a huge company like eBay,” he said.
The company sells packs of fruit strips in eight flavors on eBay, and plans to offer Peaceful Fruits merchandise in the near future as well.
Delahanty hopes the platform will be a good fit for Peaceful Fruits because of its potential to amplify his mission.
“For us, it’s always been a focus to connect people with the story behind the snack so they can understand all they good they are doing for their bodies, their communities, and for the Amazon when they make that purchase,” he said.
While it’s only been a few months since Peaceful Fruits launched its eBay store, the experience so far has been positive, and the company has already seen some sales on the platform, according to Delahanty.
“The eBay community is a lot more vibrant and diverse and interesting than I knew about. It’s exciting to connect to that community and to see if they are a good fit for our product,” he said.
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