Our story begins as banks were failing, unemployment lines were growing, and the economy was grinding to a halt. In the midst of this chaos, Totally Bananas co-founders Chuck and Mindy Pheterson lost their jobs due to corporate downsizing. Chuck was a product manager for a high-tech company and Mindy was a software engineer. With two kids in college and a mortgage to pay, they had to act quickly but the job market was stalled.
What to do?
With no job offers in sight, Chuck decided to risk it all and create his own company. Being a product manager, he considered the merits of various product concepts. The vision for Totally Bananas came one evening at a local ice cream shop. Mindy ordered an ice cream sundae for dessert. Chuck noticed a chocolate-dipped banana on the menu. Because it seemed like a healthy alternative, he ordered one. Instantly, Chuck realized that he had found the ideal product for his new company.
Totally Bananas is born
Great ideas (such as a flying car) come easily; implementation does not. Through trial and error, the vision slowly materialized with the help of food scientists, packaging experts, machinery and refrigeration experts, and endless experiments.
By the end of the year, two single serve products, plain chocolate and chocolate topped with granulated peanuts, were ready for market. To launch these products, Totally Bananas bought a small reach-in freezer, a soup warmer for melting chocolate, and rented 10 square feet of kitchen space from a local caterer.
Turning the crank
The first two products were a hit. With no employees and no automation, Mindy and Chuck worked endlessly to meet demand.
It was a challenge but a good problem to have.
Every now and then, things go according to plan. 2011 was a year of expansion for Totally Bananas. Joel Kornbluth, with a background in finance, accounting, and business, became a partner in the company. Our first local distributor, Rick Johnson, came onboard. Manufacturing employees were hired, and the company moved into its first facility.
In 2011, the company added two new single serve novelties to its product line: rainbow sprinkle and coconut.
Spreading our wings
All four of our single serve products are a hit. National distributors come on-board. Our products are now sold by major theme parks, zoos, and attractions throughout the US and Canada.
The media loves anything that is whacky and fun. Totally Bananas was discovered first by Netflix. To promote the 2013 series of 'Arrested Development', they erected their iconic Bluth banana booth in Times Square. Director Ron Howard and actors from the show, including Jason Bateman, treated thousands of New Yorkers to our banana novelties. The event was covered by Time magazine, People magazine, Good Morning America, and numerous newspapers. Also in 2013, our products were featured on Food Factory and Universal's Telemundo.
Check out our videos!
Because bananas vary widely in terms of length, curvature, girth, and weight, we faced an interesting challenge to mass produce a consistent product. To meet demand, Totally Bananas invented novel production techniques and equipment for dipping, topping, cutting, and wrapping.
A Dream Come True
Millions of customers have now enjoyed our full-size banana novelties at theme parks, zoos, and major attractions. From these customers, we had received numerous requests for a retail product to be enjoyed at home. After years of planning and development, Totally Bananas launched their first grocery product: Chocolate Banana Dream Pops. At only 60 calories each, these non-GMO treats are an ideal snack between meals or for dessert.
Due to popular demand, our single-serve product line is expanded to include two new banana novelties with crunch toppings: strawberry crunch and cookies and cream. These two new products have become wildly popular with young and old alike.
2019 & beyond
We Ain't Done Yet
Our mission has born fruit and we are rolling up our sleeves for the tasks ahead of us. Delicious new single-serve and grocery products are currently being developed. To bring these products to market, we are developing new innovative and patented manufacturing techniques and processes.
Our journey, though resulting from an economic crisis, has resulted in honest work for many and delight for millions. We look forward to a bright future.