Achieving Peak Performance: An Adventure in Innovation and Entrepreneurship

Chocolate and adventure go hand-in-hand for this Edmonton-based company.

Imagine building a company that solves an existing problem with chocolate. That was the idea behind 7 Summits Snacks, an Edmonton-based company that sells chocolate energy bars. 

“If you’re an athlete, you know that most of the products you can find in the fuel market are extremely functional, but may not taste that great,” said Christine Reimer, co-founder and CEO of 7 Summits Snacks.

Launched in 2019, Reimer (’19 MBA) said 7 Summits Snacks was born to fill a gap in the market after her co-founder went to the grocery store looking for a more appealing alternative to both the heavier energy bars or gels and the chocolate treats that pepper the checkout aisles.

With fuel your next adventure as their company tagline, Reimer knows that most people don’t normally see chocolate and sport as going hand-in-hand, but argues the notion that food is either good or bad for you is outdated.

“Just like the world isn’t black or white, chocolate isn’t inherently healthy or unhealthy,” said Reimer.

“We intend for our product to serve a purpose.”

7 Summits Snacks – a name that pays homage to the tallest mountain peaks on each of the seven continents – currently offers two chocolate flavours: The Everest (dark chocolate with Himalayan Rock Salt and Goji Berries) and The Aconcagua (Peruvian Dark Chocolate with golden berries and crunchy cocoa nibs). More flavours are on the way.

An athlete and avid runner herself, Reimer knows that chocolate bars generally aren’t packaged to last on longer adventures – they’ll often squish or melt, making them hard to eat. But the 7 Summits Snacks bars are created to last, using a more durable pyramid-shaped mould. The wrapping itself is also easy to open if fueling on-the-go.

But from the start, 7 Summits Snacks has been more than a food company. Rather, it’s a community of like-minded endurance athletes and outdoor enthusiasts with a passion for adventure, working hard and stepping outside your comfort zone.

“We want to build up and inspire our community of endurance enthusiasts, because great things happen when you go outside and try really, really hard,” said Reimer.

Reimer operates the business with co-founders Leanna and Kristyn Carriere, and while each brings their own unique skills and strengths to 7 Summits Snacks, they complement each other well. While Reimer works on the financial aspects of the business, Kristyn works on product development and creation and Leanna operates on the innovation side of things.

As long-time friends, Reimer said they’re in constant communication; because of that, they can make quick decisions without letting ego or feelings get in the way. It also helps that the three of them are all equally personally and mentally invested in the success of the company.

Conversely, as a business run by three women, they’ve received pushback on different aspects of their business, most often about where their product fits within the market. But Reimer said that pushback is “a sign you’re doing something interesting.” 

“If we had a common product that fit in a box people already understand, we wouldn’t be that innovative.”

Reimer’s even received questions on why she’s kept her job at a biotechnology company to support her family while 7 Summits Snacks gets the business off the ground.

That’s why Reimer said it’s crucial for student entrepreneurs to not only be passionate about their project but to be clear on both the “what” of the company and the “why” behind it.

“Launching a company is hard; at some point, it’s going to possibly be your money and definitely your time and emotional and mental well-being,” she said, adding that it’s important to find a support system and community to help out along the way. 

But according to Reimer, there’s a clear parallel between entrepreneurs and endurance athletes, both of whom work hard and are passionate about what they do.

“Like many endurance athletes, even if we don’t reach our goal, it’ll be worthwhile because we work hard and love what we do.”

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