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Updated: April 22, 2020

SBA names owners of Hiram-based GrandyOats small-biz persons of the year

Photo / Tim Greenway Aaron Anker, left, and Nat Peirce, owners of GrandyOats in Hiram, were named the U.S. Small Business Administration’s 2020 Small Business Persons of the Year for Maine.

The owners of GrandyOats in Hiram have been named the U.S. Small Business Administration’s 2020 Small Business Persons of the Year for Maine.

The selection was one of 10 honors given to Maine businesspeople by the SBA.

GrandyOats, owned by Nat Peirce and Aaron Anker, is a maker of certified organic granola, trail mix, roasted nuts and hot cereal. 

GrandyOats products are distributed through retail and wholesale channels nationwide. All products are made in small batches at GrandyOats' solar-powered bakery. It is the largest employer in the Oxford County town of Hiram, with 35 workers.

Peirce and Anker were nominated for the award by Terry Trickey of Bangor Savings Bank.

"We are proud to be Maine business owners and are honored to receive this award,” Peirce and Anker said in a joint statement. “The SBA and Bangor Savings Bank have been true partners to GrandyOats and an integral part of our growth. We are grateful for our hardworking team members and committed customers, who allow us to continue on this amazing adventure.”

In 2015, the duo was named to Mainebiz’s NEXT list. 

“Our annual awards are our opportunity to recognize the amazing work being done by Maine’s small businesses, and GrandyOats truly stands out,” Amy Bassett, SBA’s district director for Maine, said in the release. “We are especially thrilled to honor a business that has shown a great dedication to its community, providing good jobs and economic opportunity in rural Maine.”

In 2017, GrandyOats won the “best granola” award in Delicious Living magazine’s fifth annual Best Bite Awards competition.

Peirce bought the company, founded in 1979 in Farmington, in 1997. He was a one-man show for several years, making product for New England outlets. 

One of those outlets was Bread and Circus, which became the largest natural food retailer in the Northeast and in 1992 was acquired by Whole Foods Market. GrandyOats’ fortunes grew with Whole Foods's growth. In 1998, Peirce reconnected with Anker, a friend from college. They go by the titles Head Honcho and Chief Granola Officer, respectively. 

Young entrepreneur

In other SBA awards, Maddie Purcell, founder of Fyood Kitchen in Portland, was named the 2020 Maine Young Entrepreneur of the Year. She was a 2018 Mainebiz NEXT List honoree.

Maddie Purcell, founder of Fyood Kitchen in Portland, was recognized as the U.S. Small Business Administration’s 2020 Maine Young Entrepreneur of the Year.

Purcell started Fyood Kitchen in Portland in 2016. A cooking competition and social connection business, participants use mystery and pantry ingredients to cook dishes, then eat and decide on winners.

Other SBA winners

Winners for other SBA categories are:

Maine and New England Home Based Business of the Year: Sarah Lapine, Watershed Floral of Pownal

Maine and New England Veteran Owned Small Business of the Year: Gregory Greuel, Wayside Publishing of Freeport

Photo / Jim Neuger
Gregory Greuel, president of textbook company Wayside Publishing.

Maine Jeffrey Butland Family Owned Business of the Year: Joel and Melissa Gilbert, Berry Fruit Farm of Livermore Falls

Maine Small Business Exporter of the Year: Jodi Ann Breau, Dental Lace of Cape Elizabeth

Maine Woman Owned Small Business of the Year: Karen Gellis, Swim Lids of Saco

Maine Minority Owned Small Business of the Year: Mariama Jallow, Mariama’s Beauty Supply of Portland

Maine Micro-Enterprise of the Year: Robyn and Mike Sealander, Sealander Studio of Ellsworth

Mike Sealander

Maine Small Business Manufacturer of the Year: Heather Lux, True North Beauty of Milo

Maine Financial Services Champion of the Year:  Glen Holmes, Community Concepts Finance Corp.

Photo / Tim Greenway
At right, Glen Holmes, president of Community Concepts Finance Corp., in Lewiston, looks over the work of Wicked Water Graphics owners David Kelso and Linda Engelhardt.


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