Family-Owned B. Happy Peanut Butter Is Becoming A Central Indiana Favorite
Writer / Nicole Sipe
Photographer / Ryan Woodall
There is a jar of B. Happy’s Go Lucky sitting on one of the uppermost shelves in my kitchen. I put it up there so it would be out of sight, and hopefully, out of mind. Otherwise, I would not be able to stop myself from devouring spoonful after spoonful of the smooth yet crunchy peanut butter studded with bits of milk chocolate, toffee and rice crispies.
Yeah, it’s that good.
Apparently, lots of other people agree, because the popularity of B. Happy has exploded since Jon Weed and his family (wife Kathy, and children Julia, Jackson and Sawyer) officially started their peanut butter business in 2013. Now, you can find jars of B. Happy in shops big and small around Central Indiana (everywhere from Goose the Market in Fall Creek, to Target in Avon, to Fresh Thyme in Broad Ripple), as well as Market District grocery stores throughout the Midwest.
But B. Happy has humble beginnings. The idea started when Weed couldn’t buy one of the brands of peanut butter his family liked anymore. So, he decided to make peanut butter himself.
“Through a lot of trial and error, and some really bad attempts, I finally came up with some flavors that worked well,” Weed says.
He didn’t have a culinary background, but he did have a computer. “I had to look on the Internet just to see how this whole peanut-butter-making thing worked,” he says.
At first, Weed made peanut butter for himself and his family and would occasionally give jars to friends.
“Our friends really liked it, and so when a friend offered to let us use their commercial kitchen, we decided it would be a fun family project to sell it at the Zionsville Farmers Market that summer,” Weed says. “Really, that was about all we committed to – every other week at the farmers market. We didn’t have some grand plan for the business that evolved.”
Even though he didn’t have a business plan for the company, in the beginning, Weed knew from the start that he wanted to involve his family in the business. To Weed, B. Happy was a way to teach his children about all aspects of small-business owners and the nitty-gritty details that come with it.
“[B. Happy] was and is a true family business,” Weed says. “Our kids helped from the start. I do quarterly and annual financial meetings with the whole family, so the kids have learned a lot about business through these meetings. They are still involved in making and jarring, but we now have employees that help since we have grown so much.”
B. Happy has grown significantly in these past few years. What was once a hobby has now grown into a full-fledged company that employs people outside the family.
“B. Happy has grown into a semi-full-time job for Kathy and a few of our friends who are now employees,” Weed says. “For the first nine months of the year, most of the work can be done in three or four days a week.”
During this time of the year, they usually produce about 1,000 jars per week. Once the holidays hit it’s all hands on deck though as that number triples to about 3,000 jars per week. “Come the holiday season, it is a five- to six-day-a-week job for most of us,” Weed says.
The secret to B. Happy’s popularity can be attributed, in part, by the quality of ingredients used to make their nine signature flavors.
“We start with really high-quality, honey-roasted peanuts that we get by the ton and grind ourselves,” Weed says. “We then mix in the various ingredients.” Those ingredients can be anything from white chocolate and pretzel pieces in the Dream Big flavor, or dark chocolate, coconut and almonds in Don’t Worry.
Each flavor is made in small batches to ensure that every jar is of superior quality. “When we say, ‘made in small batches,’ we are not kidding,” Weed says. “The peanut butter is made in ridiculously small batches, but that is needed to give each jar the unique texture of B. Happy.”
Weed says he likes all of B. Happy’s flavors, but if he had to pick, his favorite is Count Your Blessings, which includes dried cherries and milk chocolate.
“Kathy loves Dream Big with white chocolate with pretzels, Sawyer and Jackson like Go Lucky with chocolate and toffee, and Julia is a fan of Pay It Forward with apple and cinnamon,” Weed says. “Our best seller is the Dream Big white chocolate with pretzels. There is something about the combo that people are addicted to and the pretzels stay super crunchy.”
Although you can eat B. Happy on a sandwich, Weed says that it’s not really made to just go on a sandwich. The B. Happy website suggests to try using it as a dip with apple slices or pretzels, stirred into yogurt or slathered on pancakes. But really, the best way to eat B. Happy is straight from the jar with a big spoon.
Weed credits B. Happy’s success to the legion of family and friends who have given their time and effort to the company.
“Our employees are good friends who have invested a lot of time and pride into the business, which makes them awesome to work with,” Weed says. “We literally couldn’t do it all without them. We didn’t know that five years ago we would become ‘The Peanut Butter Family’ but it has been a great experience, and we feel lucky and blessed that it has become much more than we ever expected.”
Visit the B. Happy website to find retail locations or to order online: bhappy-peanut-butter.myshopify.com.