In 2003, Teresa Stauber began selling prepared small meals and treats as a hobby at the indoor Farmers' Market at Salzburg Square in Amherst. Today, her business is flourishing.
Stauber began selling pasta and potato salads with the Simply Delish label at the Meat House in Bedford, NH and Harvest Market more than two years ago, and the business has continued to grow behind an ever-increasing consumer demand.
She now sells Simply Delish products throughout New Hampshire and Massachusetts, including the Brookline Meat House location, and has opened a 2,000 sq. ft. commercial kitchen in the Manchester mill yard.
"I went from having no employees to now having 12 part-timers on my payroll," said Stauber.
Patch recently caught up with the proud owner for a good ol' fashion business Q&A. This is what she had to say:
How long did you envision this concept?
Ever since I was very young I wanted to pursue a career in the culinary field but my parents pushed me into medicine. They felt the food business was too risky. I'm glad I worked as a Nurse for eight year but very happy owning a food business now.
Do you have prior work or life experience that inspired you?
I grew up in Brooklyn, NY surrounded by multicultural restaurants. Both my grandparents loved to cook and I learned my skills through them. One grandmother was Italian American and the other was born and raised in Puerto Rico. I grew up loving Mediterranean flavors as well. This is why my food is unique.
Have you met and/or exceeded your original expectations?
My original expectations were to do this as a hobby. I started renting a cafe in Goffstown one night a week. When I began selling to the Meat House I needed to move forward to keep up with the demand. I built a 2000 sq. ft. commercial kitchen in the Waumbec Mill and employ nine people.
What has been the greatest challenge since opening?
The winter months are very slow. I love my staff. They are wonderful people, so the biggest challenge is to make enough money so I do not have to lay anyone off and still pay my bills.
What makes Simply Delish unique?
We use higher quality ingredients. Our products are found in higher end markets. Our preservatives consist of all natural ingredients unlike our competitors.
What community-oriented initiatives, if any, do you participate in?
I like to support the local Farmer's Markets. I also, try to help out local fundraisers in Bedford and Manchester. I am involved with Our Promise To Nicholas whenever I can and Canine Commitment. Community involvement is extremely important to me.
Have you followed your original business plan, and if no, what's changed?
My original plan was to open a cafe. I will eventually do that when the right opportunity comes around.
Do you have any notable changes that plan to make in the near future?
Right now, I plan on offering party and corporate platters.
What's the piece of feedback you receive most?
People like picking up Simply Delish food because it tastes homemade and it makes life easier for them. They can pick up anything from a side dish, home-style entree or a dessert.
What's your most popular item?
I have a few: feta orzo salad, bacon cheddar potato salad and three-potato salad. Our pumpkin bread is popular as well!
For more information, check out the Simply Delish website here.