CALS dietetics grad’s new enterprise is nuts—in a very good way.

nutsWhen Nicole Drives graduated from CALS in 2011 with a degree in dietetics, she wanted work that would draw on her devotion to good food as well as her creativity, passion and discipline. Drives decided to take a bold leap by starting a business based on some treats from her  grandmother’s kitchen — for example, a nut confection called sugar and spice pecans. With her parents’ encouragement, Drives wrote up a business plan, formed a limited liability company (LLC) and secured a $10,000 loan to launch her business in a shared commercial kitchen space. Today, the products made by her company, called Lala’s Nuts, are finding a growing audience in the higher-end specialty snack market—online, a five-ounce bag costs $7.99—and are sold at nearly a dozen retail locations in Wisconsin as well as at expos, markets and festivals and directly to customers online. Read more in the summer issue of Grow magazine.