DES MOINES, Wash. — Marian Harris, entrepreneur and founder of Partners Crackers, passed away on September 27. Harris' death was announced by her daughter, Cara Figgins, the company’s president and chief executive officer.
As a restauranteur, recipe innovator and steward of several iconic businesses, Ms. Figgins said Harris leaves a celebrated legacy and a growing company with award-winning products that are sold worldwide.
Partners produces about 11 million crackers each day at its 150,000 square-foot plant in Des Moines, an expanded facility to which the company moved in 2017.
Ms. Harris found initial success serving homemade soups and salads in downtown Seattle, but she came up empty-handed when looking for quality crackers to accompany her meals.
After developing her own crackers and realizing how popular they had become, she set off to start a new business selling her crackers that the company describes as a perfect "partner" for any food. That’s how Partners Crackers was born in 1992.
In addition to Harris' daughter at the helm of the company, her son, Greg Maestretti, serves as the company's chief operating officer. Together, they mourn the loss of their mother and honor her entrepreneurial spirit that set the foundation for Partners.
"Our mother wasn't afraid to try new things, and those risks paid off," Ms. Figgins said. "We have sustained a strong business through many challenges. After my mother took a step back from day-to-day operations, my brother and I continued to lead Partners toward growth and new opportunities. Today, we're thriving."
Producing four brands with a wide variety of cracker sizes, flavors and ingredients, Partners employs more than 90 people and sells in all 50 states and across the world. In 2019, Seattle Business Magazine awarded Partners its Gold Family Business Awards for midsize companies.
"We are committed to being a company that provides better food to more people," Mr. Maestretti said. "As a family-owned business, our priority is to serve our customers, our community and to honor our mother's legacy."