In May of 1987, we incorporated and began producing our first product, Race Caps, and planning some test marketing programs (all of which were complete failures, I might add). The company toll free number was routed to my home number, and I would answer the phone, day or night. On a good day, we'd have two or three orders that my wife or I would pack at the kitchen table, and then I'd go to the post office. On some days, there were no orders.
While sales were initially sluggish, I had great success in getting the endorsements of most of the top triathletes (three of the big four) and duathletes (or biathletes, as they were called at the time). Then we happened upon a "race bag" program that Triathlete magazine was offering; for literally one cent per bag, we could insert an 8.5x11 brochure or flyer into 150,000 starter bags that would be handed out to triathletes when they registered for their race—a very novel and "out of the box" concept at the time. We cobbled together a flyer with the athlete endorsements I had in place, promising increased energy, improved endurance, and dramatically reduced recovery time. By early April 1988, the phone was ringing nonstop and I could not keep up with the orders. I had to rent an office and hire someone pronto. I rented a 300-square-foot office on Geary Boulevard in San Francisco, which also served as my warehouse and fulfillment center. I hired Dan Rosen, a college kid from SoCal who was a hard worker and very sharp; he's now a San Francisco county sheriff and we still keep in touch.
Looking back at the early days of Hammer Nutrition is one of those "seems like yesterday" times in my memory. However, when I think of what has occurred since then, it seems like another lifetime altogether. One thing is for sure—it's been an amazing, almost indescribable journey and it would not have been possible without the support of athletes just like you. Thank you all for giving me the opportunity to take this journey and know that we'll be here when you need us!