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Columbus-based peanut butter company continues success at Arnold, forges ties with OSU

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Crazy Richard’s Peanut Butter Burst. Credit: Courtesy of Crazy Richard’s

After 30 years in business, a Columbus-based peanut butter company is expanded its reach into the Arnold Sports Festival and to Ohio State.  

The owners of Crazy Richard’s peanut butter, Richard Marcus and Richard Sonksen, recently turned over the business to Sonksen’s daughter, Kimmi Wernli, who is now the company’s owner and president.

Since she took over, Wernli has made some big moves in the company, including introducing a new performance line of peanut butter, Pure PB Plus. The powdered peanut butter is fortified with B vitamins and green tea extract. The addition of this product has led to the company being featured at the Arnold Sports Festival in Columbus for the past three years.

“Two years ago we launched a line of performance peanut butter and thought there was no better way to make the debut for these products than at the Arnold Sports Festival here in our hometown,” Wernli said. “We sold out of the product we brought with us in less than two hours the first day.”

Because of its success at the Arnold, the company decided to get involved with OSU more, Wernli said. She recently spoke to the Pathways Program for female students at the Fisher College of Business. Later this month, she will be speaking at the Alpha Kappa Psi co-ed professional business fraternity’s event.

In 1972, Marcus decided to start Crazy Richard’s Peanut Butter because he felt people had become too accustomed to cost-cutting and convenience in peanut butter. The product he missed the most was the all-natural peanut butter that had been replaced by new, cheap spreads that featured salt, sugar and fatty oils, instead of strictly peanuts, according to the company’s website.

According to the company’s website, Sonksen, who was working at Krema Nut Company in Columbus, and Marcus agreed that because both worked with peanut butter strictly using peanuts, they should work together and make their two brands “sister brands.” The two companies merged 30 years ago and have continued to operate in the Columbus area.

Morgan Martinez, a first-year in marketing and newly inducted member of Alpha Kappa Psi, said they chose Wernli to speak because she is a strong woman running a Columbus company that characterizes professional values.

“We hope those who attend are able to see all of the different aspects of professionalism that are right here in Columbus,” Martinez said. “Attendees will learn the importance of remaining professional in all areas of business.”

Wernli said she hopes the company will continue to work with the university.

“I want to actively seek out professors and student organizations in which I feel our company or myself, as the new president, would be able to help foster student growth and experience,” she said.

The Alpha Kappa Psi professional event is set to take place on March 27 in Schoenbaum Hall, room 220 at 7:30 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.

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