Nutrition company MTN-OPS complements hunters – and hunger
Fourteen years ago, when he was just 25, Trevor Farnes learned firsthand what it’s like to have too many months at the end of the money.
Trevor and his wife, Jenna, had just invested all of their savings in a “must see” franchise opportunity with a mobile phone service company. Within three months, the company was bankrupt.
Overnight, hunger was at their doorstep. Scrambling to work whatever job they could find trying to save their home and pay off their debts, putting food on the table for their young family became a constant problem. Without help, they found they were in serious trouble. They found their way to the Bountiful Pantry, where they took advantage of discounts on groceries. On more than one occasion, they opened their front door to find bags of food on the porch, left there by unnamed neighbors.
As beneficiaries of this largesse, Trevor and Jenna vowed to never forget what it was like not to have enough food for the next meal. Then they made another wish: if they ever got out of their dire straits, they would help feed others as others had helped feed them.
That was over 3 million meals ago.
Today, Trevor Farnes is CEO and Co-Founder of MTN-OPS, a nutrition company headquartered in a historic building in Fruit Heights on the East Bank above Kaysville, which once processed cherries. .
At the front of the store, it sells supplements that help hunters, athletes, and the health conscious lose weight, gain more energy, more stamina and less pain, as well as equipment. and MTN-OPS branded sports products – all just the tip of the iceberg from a company made in Utah that serves thousands of customers online and can be found in retail stores such as Scheels, Cabela’s, Bass Pro Shops and, starting next month, Walmart.
At the back of the store, in the part where the cherries were processed, he stores pallets of food that MTN-OPS distributes with each order he fills.
It all boils down, as success stories often do, to failure – in this case, the collapse of this cell phone franchise in 2007.
“I got in too fast,” Trevor said with 20/20 hindsight. “I didn’t take the risks into account and we lost everything.
Next time, he promised himself, he would start smaller.
While thinking about what next time might entail, he also focused on his father’s heart problems.
Gary Farnes had previously undergone heart surgery to insert three stents. He suffered from extremely poor blood circulation and doctors told him to expect open heart surgery in five years.
Trevor read a book, “No More Heart Disease,” by Dr. Louis Ignarro, which extolled the virtues of nitric oxide in keeping blood vessels open.
Hoping that he could start a business to help not only his father but others as well, he met with a chemist to develop a supplement that would help the body distribute nitric oxide.
Three days after giving her the supplement, her father began to feel the sensation come back to his fingers and toes. (Twelve years later, a rugged Gary Farnes, 82, has yet to have heart surgery.)
Thanks to loans from his brothers, Trevor financed 300 bottles of his supplement and began marketing them to medical offices. The Fenix Nutrition company was born. As of 2014, it was serving over a thousand medical practices across the country with a wide range of supplements that it had since developed.
Hoping to market his supplements to a wider customer base, Trevor reached out to a marketing company run by Jordan and Casey Harbertson. The Harbertsons suggested that hunters would be a good demographic to target. Trevor knew next to nothing about hunting, but he trusted the Harbertson brothers, who knew just about everything. Building on their vision, in July 2014, Trevor partnered with Jordan, Casey and Nick Hanks, Fenix’s COO, to found their MTN-OPS business, specifically targeting the hunting community.
It turned out the Harbertsons were right. Hunters have flocked to the product. The same goes for athletes looking to improve their energy and endurance. One thing led to another, until one day Trevor looked up to realize he was running a business with dozens of employees, a posh head office with trophy animal heads lining their faces. walls (many of which were harvested by him) and a national reach that continues to grow.
And oh yes, feed the hungry.
On the opening day of MTN-OPS, everyone agreed that at least one meal would be offered to the hungry for every order filled. It was the same commitment made at Fenix Nutrition from day one.
More than 3 million meals have been delivered by the two companies. On its own, MTN-OPS has donated 2.8 million meals to date, with an expectation of 3.3 million by the end of the year. Last year, when the pandemic drastically increased online supplement sales, the company delivered 1 million meals.
Meals donated include “pantry kits” which are distributed every Friday during the school year to 3,500 school children in Davis County; children living in households below the poverty line who typically face empty closets on weekends.
“It used to be us,” Trevor says.
“It’s a great blessing to be able to give back,” he says. “It’s a small part of what we do, but the biggest part of who we are.”
At 39, he looks back with a different perspective on those dark days he and Jenna faced in 2007.
“I think the most defining moments in our lives, those moments that become our greatest education, are when we face hardships and setbacks. It was then that my wife and I recognized that we needed God and needed each other more than ever. The pressure placed on us at times in life that may seem overwhelming is a privilege because there is an opportunity for traction and growth, awareness and compassion.
“We wouldn’t be here if we hadn’t been there.