When a child has special needs, parents will do whatever it takes to provide them with the best of what they require. That is exactly what Sara Muir has done.
“Both of our sons have special needs that require their diet to be gluten-free and dairy-free,” said the young mother of two. “I found that most of the gluten-free products that were available were not the best tasting, so I began to experiment with cooking and baking my own gluten-free and dairy-free meals, and the boys loved it.”
It is often said that necessity is the mother of invention, and that is certainly what happened to this young family. As Ms. Muir gained knowledge and confidence, she realized that there were likely many other families with the same type of needs who were also faced with the difficult task of finding tasty products. Opening her own business to fill this need seemed like a logical step.
After completing the Self Employment Assistance Program at St. Lawrence College, Ms. Muir began the journey of opening her business – a journey that was not without some difficulty.
“The hardest thing was finding a kitchen location where I could cook and bake at a convenient time for myself and my family, and that fit the required health regulations,” she said. “The kitchen at St. John’s Presbyterian Church on Second Street is a great location for this, and customers can pick up pre-ordered meals here as well. The location is central and there is plenty of parking.”
Customers can choose from several dishes, bring it home, and then simply heat and eat. The menu includes spaghetti and meatballs, stuffed pork chops, cashew chicken, and lasagna. There is also a great selection of baked goods including chocolate chip cookies, muffins, cupcakes and protein bars (just to mention a few). Each dish is packaged in single portions, making it easy to feed just one person or several. Orders can be placed online, by phone, e-mail or text message. All orders must be placed by Wednesday at 5pm for pick-up on the following Tuesday between 10am and 3pm. There are also various baked goods for sale on pick-up day, but only while quantities last.
The Grind is now carrying “blondies” from Tasty Alternatives. A peanut butter and chocolate treat that complements The Grind’s delicious coffee. As of November 26th Sharyn’s Pantry on Pitt Street will be carrying select meals from Tasty Alternatives’ menu to make them more readily available for their customers. Beginning on November 30th, FoodSmith in Perth, Ontario will carry various products as well.
“We are very pleased to be providing our meals and baked goods to these retail locations”, said Ms. Muir. “We know that there is a need for our product and look forward to a long business relationship with these retailers”.
“This is a great story of necessity growing into a passion, and that passion becoming a business”, said Candy Pollard of the Cornwall Business Enterprise Centre. “As a parent, we focus on our own family and their well-being. We soon realize that we are not alone in that need, that there is a gap to be filled. We wish Ms. Muir great success as she fills a need for her product and moves her business forward.”
Visit Tasty Alternatives on-line at www.tastyalternatives.com
Entrepreneurs in Action
Entrepreneurs in Action is an initiative by the Cornwall Business Enterprise Centre to profile small to medium-sized businesses that have recently opened in Cornwall, S.D. & G. and Akwesasne. To see all of the current profiles, please visit the Cornwall Business Enterprise Centre website.
About the Cornwall Business Enterprise Centre
The Cornwall Business Enterprise Centre helps small business owners and entrepreneurs succeed in Cornwall, Stormont, Dundas, Glengarry & Akwesasne by offering information, tools and support during the start-up and growth stages of business operation. The Centre also offers seminars, workshops and networking opportunities that are designed with the entrepreneur in mind. Please visit www.BusinessEnterpriseCentre.ca for more information.
The Cornwall Business Enterprise Centre is operated by Cornwall Economic Development in partnership with the Ministry of Economic Development and Innovation.