Raising the bar

Charlottetown native turns energy bar business into a big success with more than 30 locations selling the product across the Maritimes

Dave Stewart dstewart@theguardian.pe.ca
Published on July 27, 2014

Ryan DesRoches, a native of Charlottetown, is pictured picking berries while cycling on a trail in Germany, meant to show his fondness for using natural products. His Bandha Bar business is flourishing in the Martimes, with 30 locations now selling the energy bars.

©Submitted photo

A Charlottetown native is turning his passion for energy bars into a successful business venture.

Ryan DesRoches says it all started as he was competing for P.E.I. at the 2009 Canada Summer Games in cycling.

“I was eating two or three energy bars a day when I was training and racing and I decided to remove processed foods from my diet,’’ DesRoches said. “So, I decided to make a more natural energy bar.’’

The Bandha Bar was launched two years ago. It comes in two varieties at the moment, cashew cocoa and almond chia chocolate. He bills it as a mouthwatering mix of unsweetened cocoa, organic nuts, chia seeds, coconut and dates. The bars are gluten free, soy free, vegan and a source of omega-3, fibre and iron with five to six grams of protein.

Manufactured in Halifax, he first started selling it at a yoga class. It was a hit. Now, it’s available in 30 locations across the Maritimes, including three in Charlottetown — Café Thomas-Martin on Fitzroy Street, Timothy’s World Coffee on University Avenue and at Synergy Fitness and Nutrition on Mount Edward Road.

While the bars are made in Halifax, the cooking really started in Charlottetown.

“I learned to bake with my mom and grandmother when I was young on P.E.I. That was helpful for learning and skills and taught me how to make quality products. So, I combined that with my sports nutritious knowledge that I picked up from racing.’’

He still makes deliveries by bicycle in Halifax.

DesRoches said he has sold bars to a customer who bought a box before climbing Mount Washington, a couple who were going hiking at Gross Mountain in Newfoundland and Labrador and to a climber who was going rock climbing in Europe.

DesRoches has a mountain of his own he wants to climb on the business ladder to the top - he has plans to apply for a spot on the CBC show Dragon’s Den next year.

And, he wants to branch out from bars.

“My ultimate goal is to continue to make helpful products like this that are convenient, simple and nutritious. I want to make products with locally grown trail mix with all locally-sourced Maritime ingredients like hazelnuts, unsweeted cranberries and dried apples.’’

That’s his project for the summer and fall.

No doubt, his mother and grandmother must be proud.

For more information, visit www.bandhabar.com.

DesRoches can be reached by calling 902-403-3530 or by email at bandhabar@gmail.com.