New store in Everett focuses on gluten-free food
New business aims to make life easier for people with special dietary needs
The condition, caused by a reaction to gluten in wheat and other grains, renders them unable to absorb nutrients in many kinds of food. And so grocery shopping turns into a reading-glasses-required event that can end in expensive special orders — or a cart full of fruits and vegetables.
Janell Farnsworth thinks she found a way to make that grocery store experience easier for people with gluten intolerance.
She opened Janell's Gluten Free Market last week. The market lives in a small but welcoming storefront next to an insurance office on Evergreen Way in Everett.
Pita chips, candy, brownie mix and even bread fill the shelves. And every single package contains a gluten-free product.
That means there's no label-reading required.
Farnsworth just recently realized what that means to those with celiac disease. She was diagnosed with gluten-intolerance last year after becoming ill on a tour of duty with the National Guard.
Eating gluten-free was a daunting task, she said.
“I don't bake, I don't cook,” Farnsworth said. “Coming up with a regular recipe was hard enough for me, let alone a gluten-free recipe.”
She started drafting a business plan for the market earlier this year. It opened last Tuesday, amidst a flurry of deliveries, phone calls and drop-in browsers.
So far, the business has no employees beside Farnsworth. Her mother, stepfather and friends staff the store for now.
And her young son occasionally runs out from the back room for homework help. (“Grandma, what's four times seven? I hate these!”)
About one in 133 people suffer from some degree of gluten intolerance, according to the Celiac Disease Foundation.
That's why just off to the side of the checkout desk, there's an area with chairs and tables — the reading room, Farnsworth said. She wants to create a gathering space where people can learn about living gluten-free.
Already, the bookshelves are filling up with gluten-free recipe books and support books.
A few days before the store opened, a man came to the door. Farnsworth recalled that he just stopped to chat for a while about his own struggle with celiac disease — and then he said something that struck her as poetic.
“I guess there's finally enough of us to have a store,” he said.
Read Amy Rolph's small-business blog at www. heraldnet.com/TheStorefront. Contact her at 425-339-3029 or email@example.com.
Janell's Gluten Free Market is at 7024 Evergreen Way in Everett. The store's Web site is at www.janellsglutenfreemarket.com.
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