Taos Bakes offers “Alternate Snacks from an Alternate Universe…”, with out-of-this-world taste, proudly made right here in Questa. Yes, Questa is the center of the Taos Bakes™ universe: it is where their flavorful snacks are hand-mixed, carefully baked, packaged, and shipped to all 50 states, since 2011.
Taking advantage of the slower pace of the shutdown over the past year was a great opportunity to blaze new trails. Taos Bakes creators have recently perfected and launched two new product lines to complement their successful Taos Bakes Energy Bars and Taos Bakes Bites.
The founders of the company are local pioneers Kyle Hawari and Brooks Thostenson, who have been friends since they were 10 years old, together forging new snack frontiers with the addition of their Trailblazer Granola
and CosmoNuts. Each new line features four original and unique flavors.
CosmoNuts are “savory and sassy” glazed nut clusters with exotic combinations, including Sweet Chile Cashew, Cilantro Lime Pistachio, Citrus Glazed Pecan, and Apple Spiced Walnut. The new Taos Bakes Trailblazer Granola pairs Dark Chocolate + Toasted Coconut, Ripe Banana + Maple Walnut, Maple Pecan + Madagascar Vanilla, and Wild Blueberry + Cinnamon Almond. “We are also actively working on a new snackable protein line that is plant-based, 100% vegan, with a wow taste factor,” confided Hawari. He hopes to launch this newer addition to their snack selection later this fall.
“Brooks is the Chief Innovation Officer,” said CEO Hawari, “He came up with these cool combinations; he’s been working on them for years—they are a new school take on old school recipes, focused on flavor. Our products are some of the cleanest and healthiest on the market.” As with the classic Taos Bakes energy bars, the new products are made with simple, healthy, flavorful ingredients, certified gluten-free, organic, and non-GMO.
All snacks are produced in their 10,000 square foot, 100% solar-powered production facility located in Questa’s new Business Park. As the first tenant to open operations in the Business Park in 2015, Hawari now hopes to expand their operations. “If not for the village and the state, we would’ve had to outsource our manufacturing outside of New Mexico, and we didn’t want to do that,” explained Hawari. “Now that we know how to work with local and state funders, we plan to go back and say, ‘Here’s what we’ve done and here’s what we want to do,’ so we can expand our facility up to 20,000 square feet and run three production lines at the same time.”
Hawari appreciates both the public and private partnerships they have established since starting the business in 2011. He is excited to share that Taos Bakes recently welcomed on board “high level celebrity investors,” —he called them “investor influencers.” A formal announcement will be released next month with all the details.
Questa is the permanent home of Taos Bakes. Fifteen employees currently work at the headquarters, including production, sales, and office teams. Their snack products are shipped to over 3,000 accounts nationwide, including REI, Whole Foods, Natural Grocers, Kroger/Smiths, as well as smaller outlets, like Rael’s Coffee House and Questa Center Supermarket.
“The development process begins in Questa with the team, so everyone has buy-in right off the bat. We are taste testing on a weekly basis; the samples that are reviewed most positively by the team are sent to our friends and family for their input, and to our national partners, like Whole Foods and King Soopers, for their feedback,” reports Hawari.
Howari and Thostenson feel that the independent spirit of New Mexico gives them the freedom to create snacks “that refuse to play by the rules,” which includes the new, unique tasty flavors
of their Trailblazer Granola, and CosmoNuts, along with the original energy bars in flavors combinations of peanut butter chocolate + butterscotch, caramel pecan + cranberries, almond agave + cinnamon, dark chocolate almond + sea salt, toasted coconut + vanilla bean, pinon coffee + dark chocolate, pecan praline + maple syrup, gingersnap + pecan, and bags of Taos Bake Bites, in combo flavors of toasted coconut/vanilla and dark chocolate almond + sea salt.
Taos Bakes is currently hiring. “It’s been great to find people locally—we have an amazing work force,” boasted Hawari, “we pay fair, above-average wages that create stability and opportunities for our people to grow.” Individuals interested in working with Taos Bakes should email the company for more information, at email@example.com.
To purchase Taos Bakes products, including their new snacks, go to their website, www.TaosBakes.com to find local retailers, fill your online cart with a one-time purchase, or sign up for their repeat subscription program for regular deliveries at substantial savings.