Everything is Better When You’re Among Friends!
MC: Tell us a little about yourself and the company you own/run.
AF: Among Friends handcrafted baking mixes make it easy for home bakers to produce oven-fresh, delicious, bakery-quality treats with a superior nutritional profile. We started in a 10’ x 12’ agriculture approved workroom off my garage, proudly bearing a world headquarters sign. (Only two kid visitors allowed at a time.) We hand delivered our products to local markets. Last year, we renovated a 10,000 square foot facility that includes two separate production rooms, one for our whole grain classics and another certified gluten-free room. We make our home in Ann Arbor MI, a town that has nurtured many foodies and startups. The energy surrounding that kind of creativity is contagious. Our kids inspire us. We each had a picky, picky eater who tried our patience and palates. My middle son, the bloodhound, sniffed everything before tasting, searching for unidentified specks. We knew if we satisfied our panel of six taste testers, we would appeal to lots of folks WITHOUT sacrificing quality or nutrition. We are Among Friends. Our friendship inspired us. We are a writer and designer by training. We loved the conceptual part, the naming of our products after our loved ones, the colors, the packaging design, the evolution from the closet off my garage to our current facility. And we love to tinker in the kitchen. And even now, immersed in production and distribution issues, the friendship that fueled our ideas and ambitions remains strong. Most of all, we love to share our recipes with an ever-widening circle of friends. It’s inspiring to think we might play a small part in bringing people around the table, where they can talk, laugh, connect, and make memories.
MC: What makes your products special/unique?
AF: Taste. One bite will convert the most ardent skeptics. I wish had a dollar for every time I heard someone say: “This doesn’t taste like a mix, or “this cookie can’t be gluten-free.” Our commitment to whole grains. “At Among Friends, we have a saying that “friends don’t let friends eat white flour.” Our mixes are free of the white stuff: no gums, starches or fillers. For years, brands touting whole grains were adding back a smidgen of whole grain. Our whole grain idealism truly departs from the traditional gluten-free world, where tapioca starch, xanthan gum and white rice have reigned supreme. Like our packaging and our people, our products are transparent. Our business bears the fruits of our friendship, and the friendship of others who have gifted us with their time and talents at key moments.(We grew this business slowly with our children.) We’re helping people to create an experience in their own kitchen. Among Friends is more than just a baking mix company.
MC: What’s your favorite part about your job?
AF: The friendship that began Among Friends is our favorite part of the job and the creativity and collaboration that is both fueled by and fuels that friendship. As we’ve grown and brought other business skills and resources to bear on our company, we’ve looked for that same friendship. We have fun. We extend this friendship to our customers. We connect with them, their lives, their needs, their stories. Because, in the end, we’re just trying to bring a little more light and nourishment into their lives.
MC: Where can we buy more of your products?
AF: Our website and store locator at www.amongfriendsbakingmixes.com
MC: What’s the best way to enjoy/eat/prepare/utilize your product?
AF: Our mixes are flexible and forgiving, extremely easy to prepare and can be eaten by almost anyone. We supply specific info on many of our products under the tab on our website that says recipes and special diets.