PlayHard GiveBack was sparked during a father-son road trip along the coast of California in a vintage Winnebago. The son, a hockey player named Spencer, was enjoying his last summer break before returning to the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota. His father, Jeff—a serial entrepreneur and athletic in his own right—knew Spencer wanted to stay in athletics post-college. Without sacrificing the start of Spencer’s professional career, the father-son duo dreamed up what would eventually become PlayHard GiveBack: a nourishing snack that also makes the world a better place.
Although Jeff and Spencer had minimal capital and equally primitive knowledge of the snack food industry, they remained steadfast in their vision. Ultimately, they decided that trail mix was the perfect vehicle to spread their message, Play Hard and Give Back. Unbeknownst to them, a large gap existed in the snack market industry; snacks with high-quality ingredients and creative healthy flavors were few and far between.
While on a Wild Gift project, Spencer was able to cultivate his ideas and create a crisp outline for the PHGB business plan.
With an initial investment of $7,000 from one of Spencer’s college professors, PlayHard GiveBack (PHGB) was founded. Their goal in mind was to leverage the influence and social following of athletes to build a giveback movement—one that fuels positive social change and universal awareness.
Collectively, testing for PHGB took over two years. They combined a variety of different trail mixes and offered them to athletes and patrons at countless sporting events, farmers markets, and grocery stores.
Play hard Give Back stuck with its original idea to bring in athlete ambassadors to promote the product and a charity of their choice. Before long they had many athletes apart of their program including Travis Ganong, a member of the US Ski Team featured here.
PHGB's mission was and has been ever since to unite athletes to social causes that impact the lives of those beyond their own sport. With this mission PHGB has leveraged athletes personal success to have purpose andinspire a movement of giving back within their communities.
Recently PHGB moved its headquarters into a industrial facility that will give PHGB the ability increase their production and reach out to more partners.
PHGB has decided to pursue the hotel industry as its current vehicle for providing the opportunity to give back as hotels have helped to establish PHGB as an emerging specialty snack brand. We have found that hotels feel the need to show their guests that they are being sustainable and responsible for giving back and our snacks are the perfect way for hotels to offer their guests a delicious snack while giving back to those in need.
Today, PHGB sports bars and trail mixes can be found in locations nationwide— coffee shops, sports concession stands, hotels, ski resorts, and grocery stores—and are a favorite snack among athletes, adventuresome millennials, healthy-minded moms, and more.
PHGB sets itself apart from other trail mix brands with its socially conscious business model and emphasis on customer engagement. For example, PHGB donates 5% of its gross revenue to Hope Sports who provides life- changing opportunities for athletes to engage with one another while also building houses for families in need. PHGB is proud of its partnerships and the collaborative impact they’re making. They hope that everyone will join the PHGB movement.