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DIRIGO STORIES: Maine-born energy bar brand expands

A young entrepreneur is marking a big milestone. (WGME)

BRUNSWICK (WGME) -- A young entrepreneur is marking a big milestone. He turned a backpack business into a coast-to-coast operation.

Redd, an energy bar created by Alden Blease, of Bowdoinham, is now being sold in 1,000 stores across the country.

“Here we are definitely a scrappy group,” Blease said. “We find ways to innovate and overcome obstacles.”

Blease's current obstacle at his office space in Brunswick is perfecting a recipe for his energy bar brand that he developed in college at the University of Maine.

“I didn't have a lot of money, didn't have a lot of meal funds, running two hours a day, eating a vegan diet and just cruised through the meal funds,” Blease said.

So Blease started making his own blend of super foods to keep him going throughout the day.

“I had this basketball-sized ball of dough that I was breaking chunks off of and eating,” Blease said.

Eventually, his friends noticed his bag full of dough, and he started selling it.

“That's where the backpack business was born,” Blease said.

He spent a few years developing his backpack business, and it's now hitting a big milestone.

Three years since launching Redd, their bars are now in 1,000 stores from coast to coast, even Hawaii.

“We've never given up,” Blease said. “We've always fought to make this happen.”

Blease also fought to keep the product vegan, gluten free and now, GMO free.

They produce 110,000 bars a month, at a plant in Portland, Oregon, and show no signs of slowing down.

His team consists of Peter, who handles the business side of things.

Reed handles the marketing.

While Blease is the cook and creator, with big dreams to make Redd the next household health food brand.

“We're kind of fueled by our own product,” Blease said.

They're on their way to growing even more, just Tuesday, Redd announced that they've raised more than $1 million in new investments.

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