Awrey's expands gluten-free operations
by Eric Schroeder
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LIVONIA, MICH. — Awrey’s Bakery on Feb. 19 opened the doors on a new gluten-free baking room, a space the company said was designed so that it may operate without fear of contamination from other products being made in the same facility. The company, which was acquired in February 2013 by an investor group led by Jim McColgan and Rob Beebe, also announced the launch of nearly 40 gluten-free products, including flour and brownie mix, pasta, bread, buns, muffins and dinner rolls.
“So many people have either opted to go gluten-free or need to due to health reasons,” said Mr. Beebe, chairman of Awrey’s. “Having healthy products they can enjoy is a priority for our company.”
In addition to the space for gluten-free baking, Awrey’s has added space it hopes to dedicate to meat pie (meat and vegetables surrounded by a flaky crust) and deli tray production. The company said it is awaiting approval from the U.S. Department of Agriculture on whether the space may be used for that type of production.
Mr. Beebe and Mr. McColgan partnered last year to form Minnie Marie Bakers, Inc. and subsequently purchased the Awrey’s brand name. At the time it was acquired, Awrey’s was in the midst of an auction of its physical assets, including baking equipment, stand mixers, flour hoppers and cooling racks. Mr. Beebe and Mr. McColgan not only were able to keep Awrey’s intact, they have doubled the employees at the company to 94.
“I grew up on Awrey’s cakes and pastries, so to be able to revive this brand and achieve the success we have within one year is a great feeling,” said Mr. McColgan, chief executive officer of Awrey’s. “The efforts of the entire organization, from our front office to the factory, have been nothing short of phenomenal. Be it through traditional favorites like our chocolate ripple cakes, Date Nut cookies, Long John Coffee Cake or our new gluten-free products, we look forward to keeping Awrey’s a household name for many years to come.”