Have You Ever Loved a Local Product So Much You Want to Invest in It?

I love Billy Goat potato chips.

Unless you’ve eaten a Billy Goat chip, you won’t know what I’m talking about. But nearly everyone I’ve ever introduced them to has been unable to stop eating them. I haven’t been interested in any other potato chip since discovering Billy Goat years ago.

The reason they’re so good, in my opinion, is twofold:

  1. They have strikingly few ingredients. Potatoes, canola oil, salt, onion, garlic, spices, and sugar. No preservatives. No chemicals you can’t pronounce. Just clean, simple ingredients.
  2. The spice flavoring is superb. I would say this is highly subjective–and it is–but there’s something about the spices on the chips that really resonates with peoples’ taste buds. I personally like it so much that I’ve bought the spice separately.

Billy Goat is a St. Louis company. I’ve been to their office once (to buy the spice shaker). And oddly enough, for reasons I can’t fully explain, for several years now I’ve thought about seeing if they’re open to investments.

I think part of the reason is that I like the chips so much that I want to ensure they continue to exist. I also like sharing them with others–it feels good to share something that people respond so well to. There’s a pride in that, even without a financial investment. Also, at least from the outside looking in, I think it could be a good investment.

So why haven’t I informed Billy Goat of my interest? After all, I know from people proposing investments to Stonemaier Games that it’s flattering to hear when a stranger believes in you so much that they’d consider an investment.

I think my reasons are (a) I’m not rich, and a lot of the money I have is in a retirement account, (b) it feels weird to appear out of nowhere and say I want to invest, (c) I’ve never done something like this before and don’t know if it’s a good idea, (d) while I know the product, I don’t know the people, and (e) my number one priority is to Stonemaier Games, so any investment that distracts me from my company doesn’t seem prudent.

Despite all this, it’s still fun to think about the possibility. I’m curious if you’ve ever thought about something like this or actually done something about it. If so, how did you approach the company as a stranger?

Also, if you want to see how good these chips are, Whole Foods has them (both in their store and on Amazon). Of course, if you live in St. Louis, you can find them everywhere.

2 Responses to “Have You Ever Loved a Local Product So Much You Want to Invest in It?”

  1. Vitaliy says:

    Yes! 🙂

    But I’ve been trying to apply that to not quite “local” but even larger “brands” that I feel are quality products with the right attitude towards modern consumer. One good example (hey, it’s local to you!) is Panera Bread. Over a decade ago, my wife had to do a bunch of day-long “business” trips within a 100 mile radius and I accompanied her. I could work remote while waiting as I just needed an internet connection – but back then that was much harder to find than today. Starbucks always had it, but they charged for it which felt outrageous given pricing on their menu.

    I wasn’t familiar with Panera (they weren’t as prominent around here as they are nowadays) but I learned they always had free WiFi, and then found that their stores felt welcoming and their food choices appealing. I bought a modest amount of their stock without doing a whole lot of financial research. It worked quite quite well.

    Another example on a whole different scale is the country of Ireland. During our vacation there it felt like there was quite a bit of focus on welcoming businesses to come to the country so after I got home I bought shares of Ireland ETF.

    • Jamey Stegmaier says:

      That’s awesome, Vitaliy! I like the idea of recognizing when businesses are doing something that sets them apart and investing accordingly.

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