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.

Trouble ahead for the housing market

CHRIS J RATCLIFFE/AFP/Getty Images

Our good friend John Rubino over at DollarCollapse.com just released an analysis titled US Housing Bubble Enters Stage Two: Suddenly Motivated Sellers.

He reminds us that housing bubbles follow a predictable progression:

  • Stage One: Mania -- Prices rise at an accelerating rate as factors like excess central bank liquidity/loose credit/hot foreign money drive a virtuous bidding cycle well above sustainably afforable levels.
  • Stage Two: Peak -- Increasingly jittery owners attempt to sell out before the party ends. Supply jumps as prices stagnate.
  • Stage Three: Bust -- As inventory builds, sellers start having to lower prices. This begins a vicious cycle: buyers go on strike not wanting to catch a falling knife, causing sellers to drop prices further.

Rubino cites recent statistics that may indicate the US national housing market is finally entering Stage Two after a rip-roaring decade of recovery since the bursting of the 2007 housing bubble:

  • the supply of homes for sale during the "all important" spring market rose at 3x last year's rate
  • 30 of America's 100 largest cities now have more inventory than they did a year ago, and
  • mortage applications for new homes dropped 9% YoY

Taken together, these suggest that residential housing supply is increasing as sales slow, exactly what you'd expect to see in the transition from Stage One to Stage Two.

If that's indeed what's happening, Rubino warns the following comes next:

Stage Two’s deluge of supply sets the table for US housing bubble Stage Three by soaking up the remaining demand and changing the tenor of the market. Deals get done at the asking price instead of way above, then at a little below, then a lot below. Instead of being snapped up the day they’re listed, houses begin to languish on the market for weeks, then months. Would-be sellers, who have already mentally cashed their monster peak-bubble-price checks, start to panic. They cut their asking prices preemptively, trying to get ahead of the decline, which causes “comps” to plunge, forcing subsequent sellers to cut even further.
Sales volumes contract, mortgage bankers and realtors get laid off. Then the last year’s (in retrospect) really crappy mortgages start defaulting, the mortgage-backed bonds that contain their paper plunge in price, et voila, we’re back in 2008.

Rubino's article is timely, as we've lately been seeing a proliferation of signs that the global boom in housing is suddenly cooling. I've also recently encountered similar evidence that the housing market in my own pocket of northern California is weakening, and I'm curious to learn if other PeakProsperity.com are seeing the same in their hometowns.

The Global Housing Bubble

Housing, as they accurately say, is local. Conditions differ from region to region, making generalizations of the overall market difficult.

That said, the tsunami of $trillions printed by the world's central banking cartel since 2008 clearly found its way into the housing market.

The world real estate market is HUGE, over $200 trillion. That dwarfs the global debt and equity markets. So it's no surprise the central authorities did all they could to reverse the losses the GFC created for property owners.

As a result, many of the most popular locations to live are now clearly in bubble territory when it comes to home prices:

UBS map of global housing bubbles

The chart above displays the most bubblicious major cities around the world in red. But it's important to note that the merely 'overvalued' markets denoted in yellow, and even some of the green 'fair-valued' ones, are still wildly-unaffordable for the average resident.

For example, in "yellow" San Francisco, where the median home now costs $1.6 million, prices are well-above the excesses seen during the previous housing bubble:

And in 'fair-valued' New York City, the median household must spend 65% of its annual income on housing alone.

Is it any wonder that 70% of millennials who don't yet own a home fear they'll never be able to afford one?

Signs Galore Of Topping Markets

At the end of a speculative bubble, it's the assets that are most overvalued that correct first and correct hardest.

So we would expect that as the highest-priced real estate markets fare from here, the general real estate market will follow.

When we take a closer look at what's currently going on with the red-hot real estate markets noted in the chart above, we indeed see evidence supportive of Rubino's claim that the decade-long Stage One mania may now be ending.

Here's a spate of recent headlines about these cities:

Sure looks like Rubino's predicted Stage Two symptoms of rising supply and stagnating prices.

Local Signs, Too

As mentioned, I live in northern California, quite close to Santa Rosa.

Things here aren't as nuts as they are in San Franscico; but it's still a moderately-affluent region with lots of second homes. It's one of the semi-frothy areas I'd expect to see cooling off in first should there be a downwards turn in macroeconomic conditions.

Located less than an hour north of San Francisco, residential housing prices here have roughly increased 2x over the past six years as the Bay Area has boomed. Supply has been in chronic shortage, exacerbated by the loss of thousands of structures burned during last October's destructive Tubbs fire.

But recently, for the first time in many years, realtors here are beginning to talk of a softening they're seeing in the local housing market.

Median sale prices dropped from May to June, which is counter to previous years. And several towns are seeing year-over-year declines in median price -- something unheard of over the past 7 years.

Meanwhile, the days-on-market ratio for properties is beginning to creep up.

Of the greatest concern to the realtors in my area: bidding wars are no longer happening. Houses are selling either at or below asking prices now. That's a *big* development in a market where houses have routinely sold for $50-100K+ above the listing price.

In a similar vein, I'm hearing evidence of the softening rents down in San Franscico and the East Bay (Oakland/Berkeley). Wolf Richter has done a good job chronicalling the substantial volume of newly-constructed units that have recently hit the market threatening to depress rents, and I've heard from a multi-family unit owner down there how landlords in the area are now finding their rents ~$500 too high for the market to bear.

This is all early and anecdotal data. It's too little at this point to claim definitively that my local housing market has entered Stage Two.

But I'm curious to hear from other PeakProsperity.com readers. What are you observing in your local markets? Are you seeing similar signs of concern?

Please share any insights you have in the Comments section below. Collectively, we may be able to add clarity, in one direction or another, to Rubino's hypothesis.

Prepping For Stage Two

Whatever the timing, Stage Two is an inevitability for today's ridiculously-overpriced real estate markets. It's not a matter of if it (as well as Stage Three) arrives, but when.

Given the data above, I think Rubino is correct in his assessment. Or at least, correct enough that prudent action is warranted today.

This makes even greater sense when considered along with the current trends of rising interest rates and quantitative tightening. Remember, home prices and interest rates have a mathematically inverse relationship: as rates go up, home prices must go down (all else being equal). And as central banks start withdrawing in earnest the excess liquidity that inflated property values to their current nose-bleed heights, expect further downward pressure on prices.

To drive the urgeny home even harder, we haven't even yet talked about the damage an economic recession and/or a painful correction in the financial markets would wreak on the real estate market. With the current expansion cycle the second-longest on record and our all-time-high markets looking increasingly vulnerable, it seems very unlikely we'll avoid at least one of those crises in the near to mid-future.

Here are worthwhile steps we recommend at this point:

  • Consider selling: If you're a homeowner and are not committed to remaining in your property for the next decade+, do some scenario planning. If prices fell 20%, how much of a financial and emotional impact would that have on you? If you have substantial equity gains in your home, Stage Two is the time to protect them. If you have little equity right now, make sure you're fully aware of the repercussions you'll face should you find yourself underwater on your properity. What will your options be should you lose your job in the next recession? Whether to hold, or sell now and rent, is a weighty decision; and the rationale differs for each household -- so we strongly recommend making it with the guidance of your professional financial advisor.
  • Raise cash: The vicious cycle that begins as Stage Two transitions into Stage Three is deflationary. Lower prices beget lower prices. During this period, cash is king. By sitting on it, your purchasing power increases the farther home prices drop. And when the dust settles, you'll be positioned to take advantage of the resulting values in the real estate market. We've written at length about the wisdom of this strategy given current market conditions, as well as how, while waiting for lower prices, you can get 30x the return on your cash savings than your bank is willing to pay you, with lower risk. Our recent report on the topic is a must-read.
  • Educate yourself: Yes, real estate is overpriced in a number of markets. But it has been and will remain one of the best ways available to the non-elites to amass income and tangible wealth. And as mentioned, when the next Stage 3 brings prices down, there will be value to be had -- potentially extreme value. If you aren't already an experienced real estate investor, now is the time to educate yourself; so that you'll be positioned to take informed action when the time to buy arises. Our recent podcast interview on Real Estate Investing 101 is a good place to start.

In Part 2: The Case For Starting To Build A (Small) Short Position, we conduct a similar analysis into the overvaluation and growing vulnerability of the financial markets (which are highly likely to correct much faster, sooner and more violently than the housing market), including the details on a recent short position we've started building.

The tranquil "free ride" the financial and housing markets have had for nearly a decade are ending. The string of easy gains with little effort are over now that the central bank money spigots are turning off at the same time the "greater fools" pocketbooks are tapping out.

For a brief time, prices will waiver, as investors remain in denial and refuse to sell at lower prices. But soon that denial will turn to panic, and prices will plummet.

Make sure you're positioned prudently before then.

Click here to read Part 2 of this report (free executive summary, enrollment required for full access)

It's a bad day when you've stepped in dog poop.

But it's an even worse day when you're stepping in human poop — especially when underneath the poop is a dirty needle. That's the glory that is San Francisco today.

The city doesn't know what to do. There's more human feces in the street than ever before. This is starting to look like human evolution in reverse. And I want to be a helper in this situation.

RELATED: What the 💩 is going on in San Francisco?

And so, as a helper, I've got an idea for San Francisco. And I'm going to share it with you — free — at absolutely no cost to you. This is a public service.

We made a little sign — "No Human Pooping" — because I think that's clear enough, even for those who may be high on heroin, to understand.

Feel free to download and print as many copies as you'd like, and post them on your property. Or click the buttons below to share on social media.

Something has got to be done about this 💩.

Click here to download your printable copy of the sign.

What the 💩 is going on in San Francisco?

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Finally, a beautiful Sunday in your picturesque bayside city. You paid good money to move here. Not cheap. The $150,000 range leaves you just about middle class. In Ohio, that'd buy you a small town. But this is better than Ohio, you tell yourself. Sure, the city isn't as scenic as the postcards, but here you are, at the YMCA fields. You're coaching your kid's soccer team. And today is the co-ed Under-8 soccer final. Really, it's their World Cup. You bought the good oranges and Capri-Sun—the special edition kind with cold-sensitive images on the front. You worked hard for this moment.

RELATED: Illegal Immigrant Hits Jackpot and Is Awarded $190K From San Francisco for Deporting Him

Your job is demanding. Sometimes, you're there 60, 70 hours a week. But somebody needs to coach this soccer team so here you are. And, what. What is that. Your son, he's dribbling past the kid shoving dandelions into the ant hill, and, is he going to score a goal? Yes. Yes, he is, but all of a sudden, right as your son's leg angled back to kick the ball, you hear an animalistic scream behind you. You turn around, and see a man shrieking as he squats over the sidewalk. What is he doing, you ask yourself quickly. Oh, God. You know what he's doing.

Following the death of Mayor Ed Lee, San Francisco Mayor London Breed inherited quite a mess. San Francisco is in shambles. Despite topping nearly every list of the nation's highest cost-of-living prices, San Francisco has been plagued by homelessness, often with unbelievable negative consequences.

I'd like to add that, the segment begins with footage of Mayor Breed walking around San Francisco, and as she passes a group of homeless people, at least one person is openly injecting themselves with a needle.

I shouldn't even have to say this, but helping disadvantaged people is a good thing. The Bible is very clear on the subject.

"Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy." - Proverbs 31:8-9

San Francisco's approach to dealing with the poor is in fact detrimental to the poor.

"Whoever oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honors God." - Proverbs 14:31

"Looking at his disciples, [Jesus] said: "Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. Blessed are you who hunger now, for you will be satisfied. Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh." - Luke 6:20-21

San Francisco's approach to dealing with the poor is in fact detrimental to the poor. Walk around the city and you'll see a lot of thousand-dollar tents that function as homes, gifts from good-natured but ultimately misguided people, who function more as enablers than rescuers. The city has set up injection sites, where homeless heroin addicts are provided with clean syringes and allowed to shoot up without punishment. May God bless them. And may we help them in a better way.

Revolutions are started by youth. And the left is desperate for young blood, or, worse, for fresh blood. They're turning on their own.

As reported by the Los Angeles Times, Sen. Dianne Feinstein is more often considered too radical. In a show of force, California Democrats have chosen Feinstein's opponent, Kevin de León, over her.

RELATED: 'I remember thinking liberals were the good guys': Dave Rubin on why he really left the left

Lynne Standard-Nightengale, a member of the Amador County Democratic Central Committee, said she wanted to "send a message."

I just think we need a younger, progressive person there. The Democratic Party in California has moved to the left, and he personifies those values.

Feinstein and de Leon will face each other again in November because California has an open primary system in which the top two finishers face each other, regardless of party.

The left is going hard left. When Dianne Feinstein is not left enough for you—where are the press reports of the extremists taking over? The trend is spreading. A growing number of Trump's base are former Democrats, who voted for Obama.

When Dianne Feinstein is not left enough for you—where are the press reports of the extremists taking over?

So, in response, Democrats are prowling after a new base, a new young base, who's never voted before.

Thankfully, many have predicted that the next generation of voters will be the most conservative generation since pre-WW2. I guess they've watched as their older siblings (or parents) have returned from college with pink hair, atheism, exorbitant debt, and infinite genders, only to decide that personal responsibility, a moral compass, and belief in God are preferable.