A few months ago I stumbled across a business card for gluten free products at a gas station. I ordered some of the products and my favorite was the Monster bars! Although I am not allergic to gluten, there are millions of Americans who are. Learning to make products that contain no gluten or find foods that are gluten free can be a challenge. Gluten Free Galley is a local company that makes gluten free products without sacrificing taste. Meet Liz Pearce, the owner of Gluten Free Galley.
Q: When did you decide to launch your business and why?
Liz: I decided to launch my business in August of 2010. I had previously worked
for my mom (she owned a Curves), but when my daughter was born it did not
make financial sense for me to go back to work and my mom couldn’t pay me
enough for day care. However, we are really a two income family, so I
needed to work. This way, I could work from home, which would allow me to
be able to be home with my children.
Q: What were some of the symptoms you had that led you to the discovery of the disease?
Liz: I didn’t have what the medical community refers to as “classic” symptoms. I
had severe headaches almost daily, which went away almost immediately. I
also started to have nausea frequently, and I was extremely fatigued
all of the time.
Q: How did Celiac disease change your life?
Liz: Mostly for the good. The hard thing about it is not being able to just grab
something to eat somewhere. I have to be very careful about eating out
anywhere, as the danger doesn’t just exist in there being gluten in food,
but in restaurants there is a high risk for cross contamination (crumbs,
cutting boards, etc).
But, I eat a lot better than I used to. At first, it seemed like I was
cutting out a huge part of my diet, but then I realized that a lot of what
I ate was naturally gluten free. I used to eat a lot of the same thing, but
then I started looking at the grocery store as an adventure and I started
buying veggies and fruits that I didn’t even know what to do with! It has
made me a better cook all around.
It also made me truly realize the effect that food has on your body, and
how important it is to feed it the right way.
Q: Were you already someone who loved to bake prior to the idea of
creating your own gluten free products?
Liz: No, I really was not a baker. Which was probably a good thing since GF
baking is so different than regular baking. I loved to cook, which was also
a good thing since I cook 99% of what I eat. But I learned to work with
gluten free flours, and tried A LOT of recipes (too many of them were
horrible!) and eventually I found a blend of flours that I liked and went
Q: Do you sell your products locally only or do you ship to other places
Liz: Mostly locally. I currently work with the Whole Foods in Cary, a local
co-op called Farm to Fork Meat, the Upper Crust Bakery on Falls of Neuse
Rd, and another coffee shop in Zebulon called Eclectic Intellectual. And of
course, online. I have shipped some to eastern Carolina. I really don’t
want to ship anything less than overnight, so it works out well for NC as
most places are an overnight trip, which helps keep the cost down to the
Q: How has owning your own business changed your life?
Liz: It’s taught me a lot!! I look back at what I have accomplished over
the past year and am amazed. I love being able to be home with my daughter,
pick up my son from school, volunteer at his school when I can, etc. Things that if I worked full-time somewhere would be impossible to do.
Q: What is your vision for Gluten Free Galley (5 – 10 yrs from now what milestones do you see overcoming or accomplishing?
Liz: That’s a tough question. I really don’t want to get too big, I think that’s
what makes my products great. If I got too big and started mass producing,
the freshness and the quality would suffer. I would like to expand into
more Whole Foods locations in the triangle. This would be a huge step in
getting my products to more people. I think that really might be as big as
I want to go. Otherwise, I just want to keep focusing on the online aspect
of my business.
Q: How can others who want to try your products contact you (website,
Liz: Website: www.glutenfreegalley.com,
I’m also on facebook Gluten Free Galley, Twitter @gfgalley, and Google +
Gluten Free Galley
I’m pretty easy to find 😉
Q: Is there any advice you want to give to others who may be interested in
developing their own product line?
Liz: Try not to do it all. If you have a few things you do well, focus on those.
It’s better to have a few things that you do well than a bunch of things
that are just okay. Also, be prepared to fail the first time– I worked on my
bread recipe for months before I felt like it was ready to go. And if you
choose to open your own business, be ready to feel all emotions, possibly
even in one day! But if you are patient and are willing to evaluate and
change what’s not working, you will start to see things working in the way
Thanks Liz for taking time out to share with us! We wish you much success with Gluten Free Galley!