What-a-Ya Nuts?!, a Clayton-based snack company with a line of nut clusters on shelves at 100 retail locations, has raised $300,000 from investors and plans to expand regionally and nationally. The timing is good: The snack industry is a $35 billion market that grew 3.8 percent annually between 2009 and 2014, according to research firm IBIS World. Howie Sher and a partner started the company in 2011 with an investment of $700,000. Sher’s recent investors include Paul Lorenzini, former CEO and Chairman of Bunzl N.A.; Tim Stern and Barry Sandweiss, co-founders of mortgage cooperative Lenders One, and Michael and Roxanne Bernstein, former Kellogg’s executives who live in Wichita, Kansas.
Sher was a fourth-generation grocery store owner when in 2009 he had a nutty idea to sell a healthy line of snacks.