Here’s How This Entrepreneur Built His Own Maple Syrup Business

Joshua Parker started his own venture at age 11 after learning how to make maple syrup on a school field trip. A few years later, he asked his dad to co-sign a loan so he could launch the business for real – and Parker’s Maple was born.

A family business, Parker’s Maple is run by Joshua Parker and his wife, Alessandra Parker. Their maple syrup, maple cotton candy, and maple butter are marketed as a healthier, vegan alternative sweetener as well as an all-American treat made in the U.S.

“They call it a superfood,” Joshua Parker explained why the timing was right for maple. “All of a sudden there were these health articles coming out saying that real maple is good for you, and it’s actually, if you’re going to eat sugar, you should eat maple. … We have the right products at the right time.”

This article provided courtesy of TheBlaze.

STU: So a few years ago, we had a kid. Joshua Parker who came into the studios back when we were in New York. And he actually started his own company.

GLENN: Joshua, how old were you when you were on the show with us?

JOSHUA: Seventeen.

GLENN: Seventeen.

You started your company in -- at 11.

JOSHUA: Yes. Eleven.

So I started making maple syrup when I was 11, on a school field trip. I went home and bought my own stove. And then actually my grandparents bought me a small evaporator to put in my backyard. And when I was 15, I was like, this is something I can do. If I do it well enough, I want to do it at college. Dad, will you help me?

STU: Good inspiration there.

JOSHUA: And so he said, if the bank is crazy enough to co-sign on a loan, I'll do it -- or, give us a loan, I'll co-sign on it. So we went to a bank. The bank said yes. And we went into business there.

STU: He's really the crazy one there. He's co-signing.

GLENN: How great is it to have a dad like that?

STU: It's awesome.

JOSHUA: It really is. None of this would have been possible without him. So having a dad like that has been amazing.

GLENN: Okay. So you -- you started making real maple syrup. And this is no joke. My son drinks it straight from the bottle. He really does. We get your syrup. When we get it, we can't -- we have to hide it. I swear to you. He's 13, and he sees your syrup, and he's like, oh, my gosh. No, Raphe. No. Those are for pancakes.

STU: That's you.

GLENN: So, anyway, he's your biggest fan. He's your biggest fan.

So you started making the maple syrup. And it went really well. And what's happened since?

JOSHUA: So after I first got that first loan and went into business, I had my first year of making a lot of syrup. And Upstate, New York -- I'm from way up by the Canadian border, where it's maple country.

And in June of 2015, I was actually on the show with you. And so that was really our first big thing, where we all of a sudden got a whole bunch of online orders. And we started to kind of be substantiated as a real national brand.

And so after that, by the end of that year, we're in 500 stores.

GLENN: Unbelievable.

JOSHUA: And so we had grown. And last fall, we went on the show Shark Tank. And there's no deal. And that was okay.

But this year, we've expanded. We've come out with an organic maple cotton candy, a maple butter, which is a delicious spread. And, of course, the maple syrup.

GLENN: Oh, my gosh. Oh, my gosh. Will you please introduce your wife? She's sitting here. Please introduce your wife.

JOSHUA: Yes, yes. So this is my wife, Alee Parker. We got married in January of this year.

GLENN: How old are you?

JOSHUA: I'm 19. And she's 21.

GLENN: You're breaking every rule. This is so great.

STU: Making everyone in the audience feel like failures. I know I do.

GLENN: I know. We do secretly hate you.

STU: Yes. But you brought us cotton candy. So we'll let you in anyway.

And now you're the chief marketing officer for the company?

ALEE: I am. Yes.

GLENN: How did you guys meet?

ALEE: So we actually met at CPAC. I was working for the Ted Cruz campaign.

(laughter)

Yeah.

JOSHUA: But it's just amazing because we really believe -- have kind of bonded over the fact that business is a -- the most powerful platform for ministry. And so we can take these products that God has given us and bring it to the rest of America in new delicious ways. And really be able to -- to change people's lives through business. And so I'm working together this year. We've launched into two regions of Costco, two regions of Whole Foods, Wegmans, and a handful of other retailers. You know, God has just been very, very good to us this year. And it's been an amazing journey.

GLENN: So you're in Wegmans, and who else?

JOSHUA: Costco. Whole Foods. And a few others.

GLENN: Costco. Whole foods too. Wow.

STU: This is about to be in my mouth as well.

GLENN: Yeah. I know. Parkers' maple cotton candy. There's two quotes on here, which I think are great. One hundred fourteen servings -- calories per serving. The biggest serving of the best-tasting 114 calories ever. Mark Cuban said that.

STU: Wow.

GLENN: And then there's another quote, underneath your signature and your little face.

Let's see. When I first produced my first bottle of Parker's 100 percent real maple syrup as an 11-year-old in 2009, I saw the day when it could cover the earth.

Okay. Just most pancakes and waffles in America. Parker's real maple butter and real maple cotton candy soon followed. And I knew it had to be shared. Made from real cane sugar. Real maple sugar. Hope you enjoy the delicious smooth, not too sweet, 100 percent maple cotton candy. Your taste buds will never forget.

Then you sign it. And underneath, it says John 15:5. What is John 15:5?

JOSHUA: Yes. It says I'm the branches -- I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit. Apart from me, you can do nothing.

So it's just -- it's something that when I was 1515 and designed our first package, it was something I put on there. And it was -- it was just -- to me, it was like, this company, there's no reason for my dad to say yes. There's no reason for the bank to say yes. There's no reason for all the people who helped along the way to say yes. And every night, it was just me praying, you know, God, please. Please open this door. I'll do everything I can to make this happen.

And he did. And it was just -- it truly showed that when you are willing to work hard, but also put praying and faith first, there's nothing that God won't open or make happen for you. So...

STU: That's great. You see capitalism be vilified so often. And then you hear things like that. And also you eat things like cotton candy.

GLENN: This is really good.

STU: Oh, my God. I've never had anything like that before.

GLENN: You realize when you're my age, you're going to be fat like me. Because there's absolutely no way -- I used to be skinny like you. I could eat anything. Not anymore.

STU: And I was really impressed with Alee when I first started this. Because she's chief marketing officer -- marketing, this has got to be the easiest job in the world.

ALEE: It is. It is.

STU: Made out of maple syrup. It's really delicious. It has that maple taste.

GLENN: It's really good.

ALEE: Right.

STU: What is it like trying to grow a company like this? I'm always fascinated by these stories. I'm addicted to that podcast, How I Built That? Have you guys listened to that?

JOSHUA: Yes. Yes, I have.

STU: It seems like you should be on it. But just going through and taking it from, hey, I went on a school trip and got maple syrup and figured out how to make it, to get to Wegmans and Costco, what is that process like? And make the answer long so I can eat this.

ALEE: Well, a lot of it is just getting the word out, where we exist. There's so many maple companies already on the market. And what we're trying to do is reinvent the maple industry. We're taking products like maple syrup, and we're making it into maple butter, maple cotton candy.

GLENN: Is maple -- excuse my ignorance. Is maple big around the rest of the world?

JOSHUA: So not around the rest of the world. But the northeast is definitely the wheelhouse of it. And then the rest of the country is beginning to hop on board.

GLENN: Right.

ALEE: And so there's actually a study done by the University of Rhode Island that said that maple is high in antioxidants, has a low glycemic index than most honeys. And they called it a super food. And so we just kind of hit it where I had a passion for real maple. All of a sudden, there's these health articles coming out saying that real maple is good for you. And it's actually -- you know, if you're going to eat sugar, you should eat maple. And so we kind of hit that curve, right at the right time. And we have the right products at the right time. So we've been able to get traction through that. As you said, capitalism is vilified so much. When you look at companies, even some of the ones that you just talked about, that are really good. I mean, Chick-fil-A.

GLENN: Yeah.

JOSHUA: I think that we do a good job of this. I think that there -- like Nature Nate's Honey in Dallas, puts God first. There's a whole list of companies that really do take capitalism and the free market and turn it into something good and benefit people's lives. So that's what --

GLENN: That's what capitalism was supposed to be.

STU: And it is, in a lot of ways.

GLENN: It's supposed to be serving people.

STU: Yeah. You know what I want to do, is I want to take a big handful of this. I want to put it in pancake batter and then make the pancakes with it inside. Have you done this yet?

JOSHUA: I have not tried that yet.

GLENN: He's a food scientist. He'll make you look like a rookie. Thank you so much. Thanks for coming in.

JOSHUA: Yes. Thank you so much.

GLENN: Okay. So if you don't -- give a website for people who don't have it in the grocery store.

JOSHUA: It's ParkersMaple.com. ParkersMaple.com. And, again, it's in Costco and Wegmans and Whole Foods.

GLENN: It's so good to meet you guys. Keep breaking all of the rules.

JOSHUA: Really, I mean, we are married young. So there's hope for millennials. We're really trying to grow this company and work hard to do it. And really, there's hope for America.

GLENN: There is.

JOSHUA: You know, we think if we can inspire other young entrepreneurs and people who maybe don't have what my dad was to me, I think that we can, you know, help the next generation really pursue free markets and free people. So...

GLENN: If my son turns out to be half as focused as you are, I will have done a great job. Your father did amazing -- amazing work. Thank you, both for coming in.

JOSHUA: Thank you.

STU: It is ParkersMaple.com. Josh is on Twitter as well. Josh C. Parker. And @ParkersMaple. Get this food and put it in your mouth. It's very good.

GLENN: Really good.

STU: It's my commercial.

GLENN: So good. My son drinks it right out of the bottle.

STU: He is turning out the same way. Round about way. Maybe he's just trying to fulfill that --

GLENN: What I was drinking right out of the bottle was not from a tree. Was not from a tree.

GLENN: I absolutely love those guys. I mean, Joshua has been on the program before. And please go to -- what was their website?

STU: ParkersMaple.com.

GLENN: ParkersMaple.com. Go there. Really, their maple syrup is unbelievable. It's just unbelievable. And it's all pure and organic and everything else.

This cotton candy is -- I don't even -- I guess you can just order it online, if you don't have a Wegmans. Well, Costco has it. So you'd have a Costco.

STU: I never had anything like that.

GLENN: It's weird. This cotton candy thing is catching on. Remember when we had a Christmas party or something, and a woman was making specialty cotton candy, remember? By our house. It was a friend of a friend. And she makes this cotton candy in all different flavors. So it's starting to catch on. This is the first time I've ever had cotton candy maple syrup. And it's really good. It's really good.

But I just love their story. I love their spirit. And, you know, why boycott when you can do something great and just help them out? ParkersMaple.com.

William "Bill" Kelly is 95-year-old World War II veteran from Oregon. He lived through the Great Depression.
He served in the South Pacific during World War II. And now he has just fought the coronavirus -- and won.

Bill joined Glenn Beck on the radio program Thursday to share his experience and a hopeful message about why the younger generations can overcome this crisis.

"I want to tell the people, it wasn't pleasant, but on the other hand, you know, if you do what you're supposed to do, and you have some loved ones around you, and do a lot of praying, why, you'll come through okay. We [American's] have been through a lot. We've been through Pearl Harbor. We've been through the Great Depression, and who knows what else. We're tough. We'll get through it. Hang in there," Bill said.

"You know, it's just -- it's in our American blood," he added. "We're that type of people. We take care of each other, and we are not going to break down. We're going to make it through, every time. Every time."

"There are people that don't think we are those people anymore. That it was the greatest generation -- your generation -- that did it, but now we're not the same people. Do you agree with that? Glenn asked.

"No," asserted Bill. "And the reason I say that is because I remember when I was a young kid, you know, and people, the older people, said 'all those young kids are soft' ... but when we were attacked at Pearl Harbor -- sneak attack, you know -- it's surprising how those so-called goofy kids turned into mighty fine fighting people. And they're very loyal. I have lots of faith in them ... no, I don't have any problems with this new generation. They'll take care of us. We're Americans."

Watch the video below to catch more of the conversation:

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Glenn gives the latest coronavirus numbers, updating YOU on everything needed to know as Americans and officials monitor China's new COVID-19 virus:

Daily Stats as of 5:30 AM CT (from John's Hopkins)

  • Total Confirmed Cases Worldwide: 950,638 (up from 872,891 Yesterday)
  • Total Deaths Worldwide: 48,289 (up from 43,271 Yesterday)
  • Total Confirmed Recovered Worldwide: 202,631 (up from 184,588 Yesterday)
  • 5% of Active Cases are considered serious (requiring hospitalization) Steady from 5% Yesterday, but down from 19% high back in February
  • Note that 12% of US Confirmed Cases require Hospitalization, roughly on par with Italy at 12% requiring hospitalization
  • US has 215,344 Confirmed Cases and 5,112 Deaths, up from 188,592 cases and 4,056 deaths yesterday
  • COVID-19 is now the 3rd leading cause of death in the US, behind Heart Disease and Cancer (based on daily fatalities per 1,000 people)
  • The United States of America now leads the world in total confirmed cases, with 115,000 more cases than Italy (although Italy leads the world in Deaths with 13,155 officially dead)
  • US is 25th in Total Confirmed Cases per 1 Million Population, with 651 cases per 1 Million people. Spain has 2,583 Cases per 1 Million people.
  • US is 23rd in Total Confirmed Dead per 1 Million Population, with 15 Dead per 1 Million citizens. Italy has 218 Dead per 1 Million.
  • US has 5,112 Dead vs 8,878 Recovered and 5,075 in Critical Condition
  • The US currently has 201,354 Active Cases of COVID-19, with still less than 1% of the total US population tested.
  • 17% of Americans who have been tested have been diagnosed with COVID-19
COVID-19 Now Killing Victims Who Don't Have COVID-19 https://nypost.com/2020/04/02/coronavirus-nyc-emts-stop-taking-cardiac-arrest-patients-to-hospitals/
  • EMTs in New York have been given a directive not to transport heart-attack victims to hospitals if they cannot be revived at the scene.
  • Prior cardiac arrest victims would have been transported to hospitals for further life-saving procedures, but with hospitals being overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients, heart attack victims are solely in the hands of local EMTs. If EMTs cannot restore a pulse at the scene, victims are to be left there to die.
  • "Artificial ventilation and/or compressions must not be delayed," the memo states, adding that chest "compressions must begin as soon as it is determined the patient does not have a pulse."
  • But the guidelines change if the patient cannot be revived before arriving at a hospital.
  • "In the event a resuscitation is terminated, and the body is in public view, the body can be left in the custody of the NYPD."
China Lied, People Died Trending on Social Media https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-04-01/china-concealed-extent-of-virus-outbreak-u-s-intelligence-says
  • US Intelligence Services has concluded what the Internet has known since January: The Chinese Communist Party lied about total infected and total deaths due to Coronavirus.
  • Citing a report provided to the White House last week, officials confirmed that US Intelligence concludes 'gross' underreporting of total cases and total deaths, especially from Hubei Province.
  • Many have speculated that numbers coming out of China, Iran, North Korea, Russia and other totalitarian countries have been dramatically underreported, by as much as a factor of 10 according to official British Intelligence reports.
  • The early misrepresentation of data by the CCP may have lead some Western Politicians and epidemiologists to underestimate the seriousness of COVID-19 and delayed response in Italy, Spain, the UK and the US.
  • Though why anybody would have believed anything the Chinese Communist Party had to say remains an open question...
Italy's Death Toll Far Higher Than Reported https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/world/italys-coronavirus-death-toll-is-far-higher-than-reported/ar-BB122vvc
  • In the town of Coccaglio, an hour's drive east of here, the local nursing home lost over a third of its residents in March. None of the 24 people who died there were tested for the new coronavirus. Nor were the 38 people who died in another nursing home in the nearby town of Lodi.
  • These aren't isolated incidents. Italy's official death toll from the virus stands at 13,155, the most of any country in the world. But that number tells only part of the story because many people who die from the virus don't make it to the hospital and are never tested, therefore they aren't included in official numbers.
  • "They were all sick, they all had flu-like symptoms and difficulty breathing," stated a nurse from one of the nursing homes. "We had no ambulance to get them to Milan."
  • In the areas worst hit by the pandemic, Italy is undercounting thousands of deaths caused by the virus, a Wall Street Journal analysis shows, indicating that the pandemic's human toll may end up being much greater, and infections far more widespread, than official data indicate.
  • As stretched and sometimes overwhelmed hospitals fight to save their patients, many other people die unseen and uncounted, including elderly people in out-of-the-way locations.
  • In addition, the health-care crisis can lead to a surge of deaths from other causes that would normally be treatable.
  • "There are many more dead from the virus than are officially declared... People died and they were never tested because time and resources are limited," Eugenio Fossati, deputy mayor of Coccaglio, says of deaths caused by the virus.
More Numbers Hard to Trust as Bodies Left On The Streets in Ecuador https://www.scmp.com/news/world/americas/article/3078077/coronavirus-bodies-are-being-left-streets-ecuador
  • Coronavirus: bodies are being left on the streets in Ecuador.
  • 'They fall in front of hospitals or in back street alleys, or in small villages…no one wants to recover them,' says the mayor of Ecuador's largest city.
  • The army is placing unclaimed bodies in refrigerated cargo containers at the port while authorities pursue plans for a new cemetery.
  • The corpses have been overwhelming Guayaquil, a port city of 2.8 million at the epicenter of the coronavirus crisis in Ecuador.
  • Over the last few days, several were wrapped in plastic and left on the streets. Others have lain unclaimed in hospitals and clinics that have been overwhelmed by infections. The city morgue is full.
  • The majority of the dead are believed to be victims of the virus, but nobody can say for sure how many. There has been little testing.
  • The country has confirmed 2,700 infections and 93 deaths - 60 of them in Guayaquil and its immediate surroundings. But municipal officials there said they have recovered at least 400 bodies in the last 3 days.
  • Mayor Cynthia Viteri, who announced that she has also tested positive for the virus, said the national government should be responsible for collecting the corpses.
  • "They're leaving them in the villages, they are stacked in front of hospitals," she said in a Twitter video message to residents late last week.
  • Many local villages in Ecuador are simply burying the dead in unmarked graves, which will make official counting of COVID-19 victims impossible in the weeks ahead.
50% of Viral Spread Comes from People With No Symptoms https://www.cnn.com/2020/04/01/health/us-coronavirus-updates-wednesday/index.html
  • Researchers in Iceland have confirmed earlier reports from Hong Kong that a significant amount of viral spread is caused by carriers who have no symptoms.
  • In the US, Doctors at the CDC have confirmed asymptomatic spread, but estimate a number of about 25%.
  • If true, then the case for all persons to wear masks, even those who don't have symptoms, becomes much stronger.
  • To prevent further spread, the top infectious disease expert in the US says health officials are reconsidering guidance on face masks.
  • Dr. Anthony Fauci said he would "lean towards" recommending that the general public wear face masks "if we do not have the problem of taking away masks from the health care workers who need them. The public can stay home to avoid infection, but health care workers cannot," he said.
  • "We're not there yet, but I think we're close to coming to some determination," Fauci said.
Ship vs Train... Ship Wins https://abc7.com/usns-mercy-coronavirus-train-crash-derailment/6069395/
  • A Locomotive Engineer in Los Angeles has been charged with 1 Count of "Train Wrecking", a Class A Felony under Federal Law, after purposely derailing his freight train while attempting to sink the US Hospital ship Mercy.
  • Eduardo Moreno, 44, intended to hit the ship, saying he thought it was "suspicious" and did not believe "the ship is what they say it's for.'"
  • Moreno admitted to crashing the train intentionally but said he did not plan it out in advance. It is believed that he acted alone.
  • He allegedly made statements to a CHP officer that included "You only get this chance once. The whole world is watching. I had to. People don't know what's going on here. Now they will."
  • Officials say video from inside the train's cab shows Moreno holding a lighted flare during the incident.
Biggest Issue With COVID-19 in Malaysia: Nagging Wives https://www.npr.org/2020/04/01/825051317/dont-nag-your-husband-during-lock-down-malaysias-government-advises-women
  • Malaysia has the largest number of COVID-19 cases in Southeast Asia with more than 2,900 and counting.
  • This week, Malaysia's government also had a serious public relations issue after an ill-conceived plan went online.
  • Malaysia's Ministry for Women, Family and Community Development issued a series of online posters on Facebook and Instagram with the hashtag #WomenPreventCOVID19. It advised the nation's women to help with the country's partial lockdown by not nagging their husbands.
  • The ministry also advised women to refrain from being "sarcastic" if they asked for help with household chores.
  • Additionally, the Ministry urged women working from home to dress up and wear makeup.
  • After some negative response on social media, the public service messages have been removed from the Ministry's Facebook page.

MyPillow inventor and CEO Mike Lindell was lambasted by the left and mainstream media after he announced at a White House press briefing on Monday that his company will start making tens of thousands of masks to fight against the spread of coronavirus. Lindell also thanked God for President Donald Trump and encouraged Americans to turn back to God in this time of crisis.

Read the details here.

Whether it was his support for President Trump or strong religious beliefs, no one has lit up the media quite like Mike Lindell. He joined Glenn Beck on the radio program Monday to talk about the president, the 'horrible, crazy media' and how he's not afraid to keep speaking out about his faith.

"I think people are going to quit being brainwashed by this horrible, crazy media -- they know who they are -- and the public is going to see the amazing job that our president is doing," Lindell said. "I've done interview after interview today. I'm taking all the bad ones on -- I think I'm going on 'The View' tomorrow I love it. I want to go right into the hurricane. Finally, I get to speak out for Jesus like I want to."

Watch the video below to catch more of the conversation:

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News broke that German Finance Minister Thomas Schaefer reportedly committed suicide on Saturday due to the stress from the economic climate during the coronavirus crisis. Unfortunately, this headline may become more common place. Concerns are far beyond those of just hand washing, finding toilet paper and the latest White House briefings. There may be a secondary crisis growing — mental health and suicide.

Messages fill my inbox daily from parents worried about their teens showing signs of risk of suicidal ideation. Spouses concerned about the toil recent layoffs will have on their partners. Elderly family members are also vulnerable.

Last week, news a father of three dying by suicide made me want to scream to the world – "LISTEN!" We are losing too many of our human family. And I am afraid with COVID-19 on the scene, we are going to lose more than ever.

During the past six years — following the suicide of my 40-year-old sister — my mission has been to bring awareness and help prevent suicide. Everyone is exposed to suicide. You either struggle with depression/anxiety, you love someone that struggles, or like me, you have already lost someone to suicide. That is literally everyone on the planet. Bigger numbers than even the virus.

Little known fact. Springtime is a peak season for suicides. Even compared to the holidays.

Little known fact. Springtime is a peak season for suicides. Even compared to the holidays.

So, pile on the constant stream of news, stats about COVID-19 deaths and a lock down on social distancing, even the most emotionally skilled individual may be drowning in vulnerability and at risk.

What can be done?

Social distancing, not isolation

Even though we are standing 6ft apart in the grocery stores, and no longer going to church together, humans need connection to survive.

Free communication apps like Marco Polo are a great way to not hide behind a text. Whether it is on video chat or old fashion letter writing, making connection a priority is crucial for our survival.

Emotional check-in

The new normal seems to be changing by the hour. It is hard to keep up, recalibrating with all the change. Just like the importance of taking temperature to check for virus symptoms, we need to monitor our emotional temp. Try the one word check-in, at dinner time, simply by asking, "How am I feeling today?" It can be a great barometer.

Naming our feelings keep them tamed.

It's Ok to not be Ok

It is crucial to our survival to frame this crisis with a mental health back drop. Suicide, depression and anxiety concerns should be at the top of the STAY HOME and STAY SAFE list. If you find yourself feeling helpless or having thoughts of self-harm, please reach out for additional support. Therapists are using online formats to serve their clients. Call your doctor or one of the many 1-800 numbers.

No one is an extra, disposable member of our human family.

If you are reading this and struggling. Please remember, we will never be better without you. No one is an extra, disposable member of our human family. We will make it thru this COVID-19 crisis stronger and closer than before. No longer will we take hugging our neighbor for granted.

And maybe, just maybe we will someday find the vaccine that stops suicide virus from spreading.

Ganel-Lyn is a public speaker, media personality & author