Founder and CEO, Corner Harvest
Founder and CEO, Corner Harvest
Travelers rushing through the airport in search of a quick bite to eat before boarding often have little choice than the predictable array of fast food chains with a dearth of healthy menu options. But as of September 2018, travelers at Newark Airport will be able to avail themselves of two vending kiosks offering fresh, gourmet jarred salads made by Stamford-based Corner Harvest.
Corner Harvest is owned by 34-year-old Erin Jerde, a former nurse practitioner turned entrepreneur. She’s a health and fitness enthusiast who was inspired by a similar business she encountered while living abroad with her husband, Garett. “There were these incredible, nutritious salads in a jar that people could order for lunch and have delivered to their offices by bike. I loved the concept and couldn’t wait to bring something similar back home,” she said.
When she returned to the States in the summer of 2017, Jerde turned to the Women’s Business Development Council for help with making her concept a reality. “I was getting into an industry that I wasn’t familiar with,” she said. “Accounting, marketing, and building sales from scratch … it was all foreign to me.”
Jerde, who was in her third trimester of pregnancy at the time, registered for WBDC’s GPS: a Guide to Plan for Success class led by Business Advisor Carol Cheswick. “I learned so much about everything from finding an accountant to writing a business plan, finding food suppliers and how to set up my business structure. Carol was able to lay it out in a much clearer way than I could find in a book or by looking it up online.”
“The Women’s Business Development Council helped me determine which markets would have the largest potential demand for the product … it was a complete shift away from the markets I was originally intending to pursue!” she explained.
Erin partnered with Chef Marc Weber of Stamford’s “On the Marc” and Amos Bigler, Executive Chef at On The Marc to help create a menu and original dressings. Billed by the company as ‘Salad with a Twist’, the chefs created six varieties of gourmet salads packed with a range of nutritious ingredients such as chickpeas, black beans, fresh beets, kale, sprouts, cracked wheat and more, all priced at $10 to $11 per jar.
Since formally launching in February of 2018, the brand has found incredible success in home and corporate deliveries for customers in Fairfield and Westchester Counties and currently employs a staff of eight.
“We’ve also tapped into coffee shops and specialty grocery stores and we’re in three locations of We Work in Manhattan,” Jerde said. She said that plans are underway to place more kiosks in airports, shopping malls and to expand their footprint in New York City. Corner Harvest is also targeting customers such as schools and universities, hospitals, country clubs, as well as catering for corporate events, food and music festivals and sports venues where a healthy, portable dining option is in demand.
Her husband, Garett, is undeniably the biggest fan of his wife’s achievements. “Erin is 100% the brand; she personally lives the lifestyle she is promoting through her healthy meals. I attribute all of the growth to her hitting the pavement and knocking on doors, building trust with her clients, and creating a fantastic product. It’s not easy to launch a new brand with a newborn, but she absolutely crushed that aspect.”
“Erin shot for the moon,” he proudly said. “And she reached it.”
For more information, visit www.cornerharvest.com.