CHIA Bia, success story of local man Barrie Rogers and his family, celebrated a milestone event of 10 years in business last week. Additionally, Bia+Brew Café, in many ways the child of Chia Bia, also celebrate their first birthday this week so double celebrations are observed for the Chia Bia family.
Barrie took a leap of faith 10 years ago and while on a trip to America, he injured his back and was alerted to the anti-inflammatory qualities of the South American locally grown Chia Seeds. His experience with the seeds impressed him so much and became the catalyst for change in Barrie’s life, when he and his family became “experts in the Chia Seed game”, bringing the seed to Europe and Ireland.
In 2017, Brexit negotiations had a marked impact on the future of Chia Bia, with the result being unavoidable staff reduction. Their business model meant that with UK Company Holland and Barrett being their biggest customer outside of Ireland and their involvement with a variety of trading currencies, Brexit had the potential to fatally damage the future of Chia Bia. Those staff numbers have remained at that level since 2017, forcing the team to rise to the challenge of becoming more “lean” and sustainable.
However, with an estimated 12,000 customers per month in Ireland, including Aldi, Tesco, Supervalu, Dunnes and growing, Chia Bia were fast becoming a “local and national success story, right on our doorstep”. Today, Marketing Manager, Claire Williams credits “the drive and determination of the team” for the continued success of Chia Bia and the sustainability of the plant-based supplement, which boasts a European recognised health benefit of cholesterol reduction, when placed in the surrounds of a rise in sustainability awareness worldwide. An important partner in their team is Trá Coffee Roasters, another Tramore success story with Tom Weldon at the helm, making the entire process a first for Tramore and therefore a market leader.
A sense of tremendous pride of both their product and their journey is echoed by all staff members, particularly by Barrie Rogers, who regularly sponsors local sporting events, Tramore Racecourse events, local athletes, local school events and many individual sponsorships. Local community is of tremendous importance to the Chia Bia team and with such a watertight team, having a worldwide vision on a community level, they are sure to continue their success story.