The pro wrestler behind growing Twin Cities food brand Fit Butters
By day, he's Ryan Bucki, the Twin Cities entrepreneur who owns a growing nut butter brand. By night, he's "The Iron Rebel" Renny D, a bulging professional wrestler who body slams his opponents.
Driving the news: Bucki's Fit Butters, made in Northeast Minneapolis, has gone national with distribution in 140 Hy-Vee stores and all 720 Vitamin Shoppes, among other retailers.
- The company, which he and his wife Danielle started in their kitchen, is on track to do $1.1-$1.2 million in sales in its second full year, which ends March 31.
Meanwhile: Renny D got a big break last month when All Elite Wrestling — a rising competitor to WWE — called him up to wrestle in front of a packed Target Center last month.
- He also continues to wrestle at local venues, including at First Avenue.
Context: Bucki, 34, previously worked as a brand manager for General Mills' Cascadian Farms and runs Fitness Informant, a digital content company focused on health and nutrition.
- He and Danielle launched Fit Butters in the early weeks of the pandemic.
What they're saying: Bucki said Fit Butters has caught on quickly because he had already built a big following from Fitness Informant.
- Plus: He and Danielle created Instagrammable packaging — and often photograph their products with dessert toppings — that gets lots of attention on social media.
How it works: Fit Butters, which go for $15 a jar, are marketed as a healthy replacement for sweets.
- The nuts are dry roasted and not fried in any oil, and while the jars are topped with chocolate and candy, a serving only has between one and four grams of sugar.
The Buckis surveyed their customers two months ago.
- "They turn to this product to taper their satisfactions, so they're not grabbing ice cream or Oreos from the cabinet. Instead they are grabbing a tablespoon or two of Fit Butters and a rice cake and their sweet tooth is taken care of," he said.
What's ahead: Fit Butters is close to securing a deal with the 1,200-store Publix chain, Bucki said.
- And Renny D? He's headed to Orlando to do some tapings for All Elite and hopes to continue to earn spots on the wrestling promotion’s cards.
Editor's note: Nick and Ryan hung out in college about 14 years ago.
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