Mike Barbour, originally from New Glasgow, shows off a bottle of GoodStuff. The coconut water is being stocked and sold at Sobeys throughout Atlantic Canada, with expansion out of the Atlantic provinces expected within the next month according to Barbour, the founder and CEO of GoodStuff.
©Christopher Cameron - TC MEDIA
New Glasgow native and former MHL hockey player Mike Barbour’s latest entrepreneurial endeavour, GoodStuff, is one he hopes to sweep the nation.
The coconut water, a hydration and replenishment product, was rolled out on shelves at Sobeys over the weekend throughout Atlantic Canada. The official launch is this Friday at Sobeys Clayton Park during Food Revolution Day.
Barbour said this health and wellness beverage isn’t meant to be a pre- or post-workout product, but something used day-to-day for hydration.
“Coconut water is for everyone. It’s specifically designed to hydrate and replenish your body and it has more potassium than five bananas,” he said. “Everyone says hydration doesn’t take a day off, so why should you?”
According to Barbour, what makes his product unique from others of its kind is that it’s the first to be packaged in a glass bottle. The idea for the packaging, ingredients and overall product came from conversations with professional athletes about what they are looking for to stay hydrated and healthy.
“They’re worried about plastic leaching from plastic bottles, BPA poisoning and things like that,” he said. “When you take care of your body at such a high level as someone who plays in the National Hockey League, you recognize those things and you want to take every precautionary step to keep yourself in check.
That doesn’t mean it’s just for athletes.
“The same concerns that a professional athlete has, everyone should have because they exist for everyone.”
His connections with the professional athletes he discussed this product with came from working with RIVALUS, after attending the University of Windsor for four years. At the time (2011) it was the largest sports nutrition company in Canada.
Barbour’s executive position with RIVALUS allowed him grow his knowledge of health and fitness, consumer packaged goods products, as well as learn more about what it would take to create a new product.
“It was actually a conversation with a group of professional athletes who had some interest in me and wanted me to go out on my own and start my own business,” he said. “Once the company RIVALUS was sold I knew it was time for me to do that.”
As soon as he stepped down from his position with RIVALUS in December the process in working towards the products creation and launch got underway. Six months later he said the feedback has been nothing from positive, especially with regard to the packaging and flavour.
Although the accomplishment of seeing the product come to fruition was big for Barbour, having GoodStuff make it to shelves at Sobeys throughout Atlantic Canada tops that.
“I’ve purposely not gone into some of the smaller chains where it’s currently on the shelf because for example it will be on the shelf at Sobeys and that’s been my biggest working accomplishment to date for GoodStuff,” he said. “I think when I walk in the store and see it there I think it will be a humbling experience, but I also know that means there’s a lot of work to do. Getting it on the shelf is one thing, but building a business is another.”
The plan and goal for GoodStuff is to grow the business nationally, making it a household name. He wants to get it to that point before beginning to distribute the product into the United States.
“For me I’m looking to take something I created and build it up to a point where it’s exciting, something I can be proud of,” said Barbour. “That’s my main goal. It’s not about selling this business and making millions, it’s about achievement.”