Feature Vendor Interview – T’s Gluten Free

Feature Vendor of the week: T’s Gluten Free 
At last week’s market we caught up with Tanis from T’s Gluten Free.

How did you start your business? 
About 12 years ago I was diagnosed with celiac and that is when I started. At that time there was nothing gluten free available anywhere. Now there is a lot but I was still getting tired of all the frozen kind of preserved stuff in the freezer. I was getting asked a ton of questions by all of these new people because it was starting to become a really big thing that everybody was getting diagnosed with celiac. I started a website filled with all kinds of recipes, information, and tips. I posted all of the menus from restaurants in Red Deer where you can find gluten free menus. It caught on really big so I thought well I’ll start making some of the stuff and see if I can sell it at the market. I did and it just took off like crazy. This is my third summer doing it.

How many market do you attend?
Just this one. Well, I do Saturday sometimes but I work full time too.

How did you first hear about the ATB Downtown Market?
I don’t know. I think I just googled it. I just looked up markets in Red Deer and I came to this one. I heard this one was really good. I did hear that the same people come back every week and they come to look for you. It’s not like the Saturday Public Market in that it’s a sea of people milling their way through, people actually come here looking for certain vendors.

What’s your favorite thing about the ATB Downtown Market?
I’ve had the same people come back for three summers and they have come back to find me here so I love my customers. I love getting to meet the new vendors when they come through. It really easy to be down here and it’s a good market to be a part of.

What do people need to be educated about when it comes to your products?
A lot of my products are vegan as well so, no dairy, no eggs. I try as hard as I can to keep everything hypoallergenic and I can alter my products. If people are allergic to one of the ingredients I will alter it for them. I’m pretty good with custom orders. I try to keep everything natural with normal ingredients that everyone knows, you could make it at home yourself if you wanted to. 
Is there anything people need to be educated about when it comes to having gluten sensitivities and the way that you have to eat?
Yes, although food companies regulate labeling and stuff like that they can still be kind of hidden. You have to know what you are looking for and dealing with. There’s lots of places in Red Deer that have it available. Again you can find that on my website.

Do you have a favorite business on this street or other vendor in the market? 
I’ve been beside Raelyn, The Lamb Lady, for all three summers and I’ve ended up beside her at a whole bunch of other markets so I really like her a lot. True North Realty buy a lot of my stuff!

Do you like being Downtown? 
Yeah I think Downtown is great! People just get off work and come straight here. It’s central and there are a lot of people down here. I think it’s good because Downtown can get really quiet as soon as the end of the day hits it kind of shuts down. I think it’s good to give the rest of the businesses Downtown a little bit of extra business.

What is a “must know” or “must try from T’s Gluten Free?
The most popular is the jalapeno cheddar bread (which is not vegan but it is good).

What makes you awesome? Why should people choose you?
That a tricky one. I think because I try really hard to make everything for everybody the way they want it. I will do custom orders and pre-orders. I like to accommodate everybody. I have been here for three years; the crowd changes and people’s needs change so I kind of change what I make every year based on the people that come in. I’ll make what you want, I’ll make it fresh and good and I’ll keep it fair priced.

What is your favorite thing that you sell?
The pumpkin donuts, everyone loves the pumpkin donuts.

Does anyone else sell your product?
No, unfortunately it is just me at this point.

What advice would you give to people just starting out?
Keep going, it’s going to be ups and downs but it’s going to be worth it. If you just keep trying then it’s going to work. If you put your heart into it, it will work!

How do you define success?
I think just being happy and satisfied with what you do. For me this is not about making money. I love to be out here filling a need for people that need it. I love when people are excited I love especially when kids come and they are excited. Kids with limitations on their diet, that’s hard. I just think success is just being happy with what you are doing.

To learn more about T’s Gluten Free, visit them online at www.tsglutenfree.com & be sure to stop by their booth at this week’s ATB Downtown Market from 4 – 7 p.m. on Wednesday.

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