Connecting the celiac disease and food allergy/intolerance community together by sharing our stories to food freedom. From our beginning struggles to striving after a diagnosis, we can all relate and help each other out by sharing what we’ve learned and our unique personal journeys.
We are back with this month’s Freedom Feature and I am so excited to share this one with you! We have Timothy and his wife Lisa from The Happy Mixer, a fantastic (sorta local to me; over the boarder in PA!) gluten-fee bakery! They JUST expanded and opened some new location this month, so it has been a whirlwind for them, but they were still more than happy to share their story with you. They will always be hosting a giveaway for you gluten-free foodies to receive a package of their delicious goodies! Without further ado, here is Timothy answering questions about The Happy Mixer!
tell us a little bit about you and your background.
I acquired an interest for baking as a child helping my mom bake at home in the kitchen. In college, I got a job as a cleaner after hours at a local bakery. Every night I went in after hours to deep clean the entire store. It definitely was hard work, but it just pushed me to work harder, and eventually I worked my way up the ladder and ended up becoming the owner of a new location of their bakery. When I found out I needed to be gluten-free in 2009, the idea of a “Gluten Free Bakery” became a goal of mine. In 2012, I sold my traditional bakery back to the family I grew up working for. I then spent the next year and a half testing hundreds of recipes, and finally perfected a deliciously gluten-free line of baked goods. Finally, in December of 2013, we opened “The Happy Mixer”!
tell us more about your gluten-free journey leading to the creation of The Happy Mixer.
In my mid twenties, I constantly felt exhausted and my immune system was very poor. I finally decided to see a nutritionist to see what was going on, and she told me that I had a sensitivity to gluten. It was such a shock and hard to manage at first. Pretty much everything I ate was full of gluten, especially all the items at the bakery I owned at the time. I missed being able to eat all of the delicious baked goods I was used to, so I decided I wanted to open a gluten free bakery. I wanted to create a place where people could come and get the traditional bakery experience, but make them safe for people with gluten issues.
what’s the background of The Happy Mixer? what’s your mission?
We are The Happy Mixer! The Happy Mixer is my wife, featured in the logo. While testing recipes, she was always eager to help! With little baking experience, she chose to stay in her comfort zone, which apparently was mixing the dry ingredients I had already scaled up. She would smile ear to ear while she whisked those dry ingredients into the perfect blend! I would playfully call her my “Happy Mixer”! When it came time to give the bakery a name, I knew it had to be The Happy Mixer. Seeing her smile in the logo is always a reminder to me of just how much we love what we do, and what baking is truly all about…Family, Friends, and Fun! Our mission is to provide people with the traditional bakery experience, in a totally safe, gluten free environment. All of our products are 100% gluten-free and delicious!
how are your products made? what safety precautions do you take?
All of our products are 100% gluten free. We do not allow any gluten in the facility, and that includes employees’ food/snacks as well. We take all necessary precautions to prevent any sort of cross-contamination, and the best way to do that is to prohibit gluten from the building. Our delicious line of goodies include a wide variety of items, such as donuts, muffins, cookies, cakes, brownies, pies, and even breads! We are very accommodating with other allergies/sensitivities as well, and have many items that are dairy, egg, and/or soy free. We even have several vegan options as well!
what does a day-in-the-life look like at the bakery?
A day in the life of the bakery starts bright and early at 3am. We come in and bake everything from scratch each day. Once our doors open at 7, customers are greeted with the scent of freshly baked breads, warm chocolate chip cookies, and bright smiles from our employees. We always make sure our products are fresh and tasty, and refill the case throughout the day. We are open 7 days a week year round, closing for just a couple days per year.
you recently expanded with new locations! you must be so proud of that! tell us a little about that process and decision.
We are so proud of our new locations! We just had a soft opening at our New Hope location, and Newtown will be opening very soon. Our New Hope shop is located in Ferry Market, on Main Street. We have a stand inside and offer pre-packaged items baked fresh in our Chalfont location. This ensures all of the items are baked and packaged in a 100% gluten free environment. Our Newtown location will be a full store where we bake on premises, like our Chalfont location. We have come such a long way in the nearly four years we’ve been open. We decided that we wanted to expand and bring our delicious treats to even more of the gluten free community! We felt Newtown and New Hope were perfect locations to set up new shops. The process of opening new locations is very intense and can be quite overwhelming at times. It will all be worth it though when we see the smiles in our beautiful new shops. Seeing how excited our customers get over our products is the ultimate reward!
what are your top selling products and fan favorites?
All of our customers have their favorites, but we definitely have some best sellers. One would be our peanut butter delight. It is our moist vanilla cake, with a layer of our creamy peanut butter, and a smooth layer of chocolate on top. It is a chocolate and peanut butter lover’s dream come true! Another best seller would be our kiffles. They are a flaky pastry dough cookie hand rolled by our bakers and filled with premium jams. They come in either raspberry, apricot, or strawberry flavors. Once you take a bite of one, you won’t be able to stop eating them, they are literally addictive! Finally, our donuts are truly a fan favorite. We offer them in a variety of flavors, such as cinnamon crumb, chocolate iced, vanilla iced, jelly, and my personal favorite, cream filled. We take a donut, cut it down the middle, and fill it with our rich vanilla cream. We then toss it in fluffy powdered sugar. It is impossible to take a bite without cream inside, exactly the way it should be!
what’s the most difficult thing about running a gluten-free business? the most rewarding?
I think the hardest thing about owning a gluten free business would be attracting people who do not have issues with gluten and overcoming the expensive ingredients. Expensive ingredients lead to naturally higher prices than a traditional bakery, which makes it difficult to compete. The main ingredient, gluten free flour, can cost up to 8x as much as traditional flour. There is also a stigma surrounding food labeled “gluten free” and when we first opened, we struggled to attract non-gluten free people. As we became more well known, they tried our products and loved them! The most rewarding thing about running a gluten free bakery is just seeing the impact it has on people’s lives. Little kids who never had a real gluten free birthday cake before, or a woman who hasn’t had a donut in over 10 years; those happy faces and touching stories are what makes owning the bakery so rewarding.
what are your hopes for the future? for The Happy Mixer and the gluten-free/food allergy community as a whole?
I have many hopes for the future. The biggest one is to continue to bring our safe and delicious treats to those who need it most. Right now, we are focused on opening our Newtown location and increasing awareness about both of our new shops. As for the gluten free/food allergy community, I’d like to see people have more knowledge of celiac disease/gluten sensitivities, and the gluten free lifestyle in general. It is so important for people, especially restaurant/food business owners that serve gluten free options, to understand what gluten is and how it affects the body of someone who has an issue with it. With many businesses trying to accommodate gluten free requests, cross-contamination is still a big issue. Hopefully, awareness and respect for the gluten free community will continue to rise.
what advice would you give someone wanting to start their own gluten-free business/bakery?
If I were to give advice to someone wanting to start their own gluten free business/bakery, I would give them the same advice I would give anyone wanting to open their own business. Owning your own business can be a big undertaking, but sharing something you are passionate about with others is truly an irreplaceable feeling!
Make sure to follow along with Timothy and Lisa at The Happy Mixer on their website and Facebook! Thank you, Timothy and Lisa! I am so excited to follow along on your expanding business and journey of gluten-free goodness!
So tell me:
+ What Happy Mixer products do you want to try?
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