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South Windsor gluten-free bakery eyes expansion (con't)

Owner Chris Brecka says the store has been doing well but she would like to reach more people.

“We’re located in south Windsor which is convenient for most but there are some people (where) it isn’t as convenient as they would like it to be,” she said.

The new store - Brecka is considering one in a well-known Tecumseh plaza - would help “balance our demographic a little bit.”

The store would be larger than the current one at 333 Dougall Square just south of Cabana. 

“We don’t really have much storage space there,” she said.

“It’s really hard to keep certain things stocked and it’s nice for us that the factory is only five minutes away so when they run out of something we can come and get it quickly,” she said.

“But if we open a location in Tecumseh it’s going to have to be big enough where we can store things so that we’re not going to be running back and forth.”

Healthy Creations - a Speciality Bakery (its full name) sells bread, buns, bagels, muffins, cakes, pies, cookies, breakfast bars and treats - everything from brownies, cheesecake, to lemon squares.

The business would never have come about were it not for a diagnosis of celiac disease in two of her children.

In the mid-1990s there were only health food stores that carried a very limited selection of gluten-free products.

“Really, it was very challenging and very expensive,” Brecka said. 

“And I thought I’m spending this much money on this product and I can’t even get my son to eat it, it was very discouraging, so that’s why I started trying to make things on my own.”

She joined celiac support groups and other people there asked if they could try the baked goods she brought to meetings.

There was such demand Brecka decided to set up business in her home.

“It was like an at home bakery, I had my husband renovate in the basement.”

For 11 years she baked at home and sold from her house and had a web site.

Then in 2009 she opened the south Windsor store.

In 2011 a second store opened in London on Springbank Drive.

Most of Brecka’s clientele are people who suffer from celiac disease or are gluten-intolerant.

A smaller percentage are people who have tried the foods as a novelty or according to various diet trends.

“When we first opened in 2009 there was a big surge for about three years…and then it was like, ‘Oh what happened,’” she said.

The new Tecumseh store will help draw customers from a new geographic area.

Brecka hopes the store will be up and running by spring.


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