Local entrepreneurLuther Cutchins is in business, in part, to keep the memory of his brother alive.
Luther, who has a background in restaurant management, partnered with his brother Ryan in 2010 to start a catering business calledHeirloom Catering.
During the operation of their catering business, Ryan, who was a chef, created granola to serve, and the duo got positive feedback.
People would call and mention the granola specifically. Even when the event also included dishes like roasted duck or lamb, it was the granola that stood out.
So the brothers started developing a plan to sell their granola product.
But then, in 2012, Ryan went to sleep and didn’t wake up.
He had a heart murmur doctors didn’t know about.That combined with prescribed medication for his back seemed to have a deadly effect,Luther said.
“It rocked everything,”Luther said. “He was my younger brother. We were never the siblings that fought. He lived with me on and off his whole life; that was our relationship.”
Ryan’s death promptedLuther to shut down the catering company.
“I just couldn’t do it anymore,” he said.
Fast-forward two years andLuther is following through with the dream his brother helped create.
He’s started a business calledNoke’s Granola, which offershandmade, all-natural, organic granola.
Luther created a website to sell the product, and within the first week of launching, he had 40 orders from across the country and as far away as Japan, he said.
He also sells at the Chattanooga Market. This past weekend, he made more than 100 bags and sold out.
“It was a great feeling,”Luther said.
And he’s also selling at Southside business The Local.He has created a special vegan blend to sell at the juice bar.
Luther sells the original blend that Ryan created and a gluten-free option online.
He’s created a fall version with toasted oats, nuts, pumpkin seeds and apricots, and he has plans for a “wintery mix” product that he will sell next month. It will have shredded coconut, white chocolate chips and gingerbread flavors.
“I aim to spread his legacy to places he never would have imagined,” Luther said.“There is a lot of pride and love that goes into each bag of Noke’s Granola.”