Photo by: Joseph V. Labolito
Jared Cannon, MS ’16, is a Fox alumnus known for his most recent success, Simply Good Jars (SGJ), which offers chef-made salads in reusable packaging that make for a healthy on-the-go meal. In early 2021, Cannon pitched his idea to the investors on Shark Tank where he was able to secure an investment deal with Mark Cuban and Lori Greiner. A year later, Simply Good Jars has expanded into 30 Wawa locations and select Saxbys locations, including locations at Temple University.
The Fox editorial team caught up with Jared a year after our last interview. Here’s what he had to say.
How did you meet Nick Bayer, CEO and founder of Saxbys? Did your relationship with him help your partnership with Saxbys? In what ways?
I met Nick prior to launching SGJ and approached him in the idea phase for general feedback. As a local Philly entrepreneur, he had values I could relate to and a business savvy that I respected. Nick, to his credit, empowers his teams to operate their respective worlds. So while we had a great relationship, we still had to work through the normal processes like any other partner of ours.
Our business continues to thrive as a retail wholesale distribution model. Shark Tank created a level of exposure and credibility that still surprises me weekly. But even through all of the positives, we have a saying, “with great opportunity comes hard work,” and we’ve been working harder than ever!
How were you able to introduce your product to Wawa?
A lot of persistence, product samples and continuous improvement.
How are you able to keep up with the demand for SGJ?
We’ve spent a lot of time (and money) designing and building scalable infrastructure. That infrastructure has enabled us to have almost endless potential from a production and distribution perspective in regional pockets of the country. We just recently launched our Orlando, Fla. facility to service the entire South Eastern US.
What is your best advice for future entrepreneurs?
I joke that I may someday write a book titled “The Art of the Pivot” or “Fifth Time’s The Charm.” All joking aside, designing and creating a solution that solves a real problem or fills a white space in a unique or special way is 80% of the 100. When done well, this can give you the best shot at creating something that produces its own ongoing value. The business model canvas, understanding of the customer and product journey really helps to set some foundational elements that when done well, and with intention, are some of the critical building blocks of building a lasting value proposition. The proof in my example is that our “business model” has literally changed four times but our product is largely unchanged from its conception on day one. In fact, three of five products currently available were sold from day one.
Who were some of your mentors while developing the business?
I’ve had several mentors, advisors and super-smart people along the way that have added amazing perspectives, challenged my thinking and opened up doors and opportunities. I’ve always felt that I should surround myself with smarter, more capable people than myself. And then take the role of listening, absorbing, evaluating and making informed decisions as to the way I personally work best. I love tons of perspectives, but I’m happy to share that some of my earliest mentors were from Temple and the Fox School: Robert McNamee, Dwight Carey, Paul Silberberg and several others.
What’s next for you…and for Simply Good Jars?
Getting more jars into more places that may, or may not, contain products other than just salads.
Simply Good Jars: Saxbys Opinion
The Fox editorial team also caught up with Saxbys CEO and founder, Nick Bayer, who said that this partnership came as no surprise as Cannon and he has been longtime friends. “I’ve had the great pleasure of watching Jared take an exciting, impactful entrepreneurial idea and bring it to life,” says Bayer. “Being able to partner with him by selling Simply Good Jars in our Experiential Learning Cafe in Temple’s Fox School of Business is an exciting way to provide nourishing food to young adults while also donating to local food organizations that feed the community.”
We also spoke to Saxbys student CEOs about the recent Simply Good Jars launch. Sela Nicolas, the Student CEO at Saxbys Fox, says, “The Simply Good Jars are perfect for a nutritious, delicious lunch on the go. The jar is so convenient, just shake and you’re ready to go!”
Brooke Belanger, Saxbys Liacouras Student CEO, says, “Simply Good Jars are a great addition to Saxbys Grab & Go cases. They perfectly define ‘Grab & Go’ for those who are in between classes or on their lunch break and want something healthy and delicious to eat. They do especially well in Speakman and Alter Halls as a lot of the people going in and out of there every day are always on the move.”
Next time you’re looking for a quick, healthy lunch, be sure to check out Simply Good Jars in either of our campus Saxbys locations!