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Why a Snack Bar Maker Turned Down a Deal With Starbucks

Starbucks store in Amsterdam on Sept. 16
Starbucks store in Amsterdam on Sept. 16Photograph by Jasper Juinen/Bloomberg

Back in 2009, Kind Healthy Snacks founder Daniel Lubetzky was profiled in the New York Times. The story described how Starbucks had started selling Kind snack bars, the fruit of Lubetzky’s many efforts to connect up with the coffee behemoth. The small company, which was founded in 2004 to fill what Lubetzky saw as a void for snack bars made with natural ingredients, set to work lining up additional manufacturing capacity.

Kind hit $120 million in sales last year, up from $15 million in 2008. At various points along the way, Lubetzky says Starbucks expressed interest in acquiring his company or having Kind produce a private label snack bar. Earlier this year, “we got to a breaking point where they said, ‘If you’re not willing to be acquired or do it private label, let’s agree that we’re going to end the relationship.’”