VIP Guest Profile: Gary Erickson
Posted: January 31st, 2017
Named after his father Clifford Erickson and conceived nearly 30 years ago on a 175-mile bike ride, the original Clif Bar was crafted in Gary’s mother’s kitchen and bred from the years he spent cooking with his Greek grandmother, Kaliopi. A family inspired business that Gary has kept true to his roots since day one.
With an rock climbing image a friend sketched on a paper napkin from a dinner in San Francisco, to the 1991 Interbike debut of Clif Bar with three flavors, the business has been on the rise ever since. Entering the market at a key point during the expanding growth of the health food movement as well as the energy bar vertical, Clif Bar took off. Sales doubled each of the first five years and by 1997 Gary’s company groomed in his grandmother’s kitchen and born in his mother’s, saw revenue surpass $20 million.
Turning down offers to sell the prosperous Bay Area based company, Gary instead implemented an employee stock ownership plan in 2010, offering Clif Bar’s nearly 400 employees 20% ownership stake in the business. He’s also gone on to start the Clif Bar Family Foundation to promote organic farming and crop genetics research.
Most recently Erickson has started Clif Family Winery, a proud partner of the inaugural CampoVelo Napa Valley, hosting the the Friday afternoon festivities with select wines and their renowned Mediterranean inspired Bruschetteria food truck.
Gary and his wife Kit recently expressed their feelings on being involved with such a great event, “We are so excited that CampoVelo is putting together an event that brings together our favorite things—cycling, food, wine and community support!”