Becoming an entrepreneur was not a stretch for Josh Monahan, who grew up watching his parents build their own business.
More impressive is the decision to start his company at the age of 20, while still a full-time college student. His company, called 1 in 6 Snacks, has been up and running for three months.
“I’ve been working on it for a year,” he said. “I knew I wanted to be in the snack food business, but I didn’t want to do peanuts like my parents did.”
His father, John Monahan, owns The Peanut Roaster, whose peanut processing facility was in Cary in the late 1980s and early 1990s.
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The impetus for starting 1 in 6 Snacks was Josh Monahan’s realization that one in six people in the United States don’t know where their next meal is coming from.
“With hunger being such a serious problem in America … I decided to name my company 1 in 6 Snacks,” he said. “My vision was to sell great-tasting products while being able to give back to local food banks at the same time.”
With his parents’ help, Monahan has made his vision a reality. His first product is Carolina Kettle potato chips.
“We told the spice company what seasonings we wanted, and they would tweak them until eventually we narrowed it down to the six that we have now.”
The flavors set his chips apart: Bee Sting Honey Sriracha, Southern Twang Salt & Vinegar, the “Mama Gin” Dill Pickle, Down East Carolina BBQ, Low Country Crab Boil and Cozumel Jalapeño Queso.
In addition to online sales, Monahan is working to get the chips into local stores. Currently, they are sold in 15 stores, including Whisk and The Perfect Piece in Cary.
He has already made good on his promise to give back by making a donation to the Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina. For each bag sold, he gives five cents to a food bank. Future recipients of the quarterly donations will be decided by his customers’ locations.
“We will try to do it wherever the cases are sold,” Monahan said. “Wherever people are buying, so people have the feeling that they are giving back to their own community.”
Monahan will graduate from N.C. State University next year with an agricultural business degree and will concentrate on 1 in 6 Snacks full time. He says his goal, in addition to expanding his customer base, is to add other products to his lineup.
He has already gained valuable experience and heeded the advice of his parents. “They give suggestions on what to do and how to improve things. They know the things they did wrong and what will make a business grow.”
As an added perk, Monahan says 1 in 6 Snacks occasionally boosts his standing among his peers.
“My friends think it’s cool, especially when I give them free stuff,” he said.