Be Happy bars launch tasty business

Full disclosure: The subject of this article is a personal friend and I have been a fan of Be Happy bars since their first iteration nearly four years ago. Also, I have an unabashed pro-entrepreneurial bias. Fair warning!

The square bars with the bright orange stickers sit dangerously close to impulse-purchase level at the Over-the-Rhine Coffee Emporium shop. "Be Happy, Be Healthy," reads the label, and so far, dozens of customers have done just that.

A new locally made treat at Coffee Emporium and Park + Vine, Be Happy, Be Healthy bars have long been a labor of love for teacher Christine Scheadler. She and her husband, photographer Bob Scheadler, left a three-story house in Norwood for a condominium in the Gateway Corridor last year. Since then, she has channeled her culinary impulses into planning her urban farm on River Road and tweaking the "Be Happy" recipe into both original and vegan varieties.

The original bars' orange-flavored cranberries and raisins make the chewy squares sweet and chewy. The vegan bars, created especially for sale at all-vegan Park + Vine, have a toasty, sesame flavor. They derive their power from honey (original) or agave (vegan), steel-cut oats and ground almond. "They don't give an energy burst," Scheadler says. "They are like long-lasting supplements. They can be meal-replacers."

Fans at Coffee Emporium compare them favorably to Clif Bars. "People are really positive," Scheadler says. She, along with her husband, prefers the vegan recipe to the original, but so far both flavors, priced at $2.50 per bar, sell out quickly. Scheadler offered samples and bars for sale at Second Sunday on Main and at Imago in Price Hill. The trick, she knows, will be maintaining her full-time teaching job and growing her business carefully.

"I really want to keep it manageable," she says. "I don't want it to grow faster than I can handle. But I'd like to expand to some more coffee shops."

While promoting healthy eating remains a side job for Scheadler, her educator's touch makes its mark, literally, on every "Be Happy" bar. Two exclamation marks, rounded off with a curved smile at the bottom, serve as the basis for the smiling Kylie Kale, the first in a line of vegetable icons Scheadler plans to use to identify a growing line of products.

By Elissa Yancey

Photo courtesy of Christine Scheadler

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