How does a business stand out when making a classic product with only a short list of ingredients? Start with a 100 year old recipe, add the highest quality ingredients, and make each batch by hand for the perfect result. That is what Baklava Unlimited has been doing since 2012.
…that baklava is so good, you should start a business.friends of Janet Heath
Janet Heath’s road to making baklava started with a beloved recipe shared with her and her husband from the Greek ladies they met during the annual food festival in Arkansas. When they left Arkansas for beautiful Colorado, they collected many of the recipes used in the festival so they could remember their time there through the food they enjoyed. Janet was making the baklava for friends once they arrived and kept hearing the same response, “…that baklava is so good, you should start a business.” They loved it so much, friends even helped Janet find facilities to produce the product.
So Janet, a professional programmer and substitute teacher, decided it’d be a better idea to start a business with one exceptionally made product; thus Baklava Unlimited was born. “I’ve been fortunate to be surrounded by other knowledgeable people. For example, Full Spectrum, a local distributor, helped us find organic phyllo dough.”
Retailer feedback was also an important step in improving an existing recipe, as the original recipe called for corn syrup and non-organic phyllo. With corn syrup removed and a new locally sourced honey formulation put in its place, the organic phyllo was the final step to the product now found in stores.
That’s not to say there haven’t been struggles. Like most wholesalers, ingredients are sourced from many places because they are unable to order large enough quantities directly from the manufacturer. That results in a constant struggle to get the best price while maintaining the same standard of quality. “We ordered our almonds from Dawn Foods for a while, then sometimes Colorado Nut Company was cheaper. I called [Colorado Nut Company] once and they quoted me a price that was just going up up and up; we had a fiery conversation.”
Every batch is all-natural and hand-made.Janet Heath, owner
Since switching to organic phyllo, costs have increased but production speed has also increased, because the sheets are less fragile while having a little thicker texture. Janet gets some help in the kitchen from her husband, a retired electrical engineer, who shares the same level of enthusiasm for the product as Janet. For fun, they sometimes time how long it takes each of them to make a full sheet of baklava, always trying to improve.
The future for Baklava Unlimited is looking bright. A recent update to the packaging has provided a better seal to eliminate leakage while also ensuring freshness over the longer shelf life of 45 days. They are also in talks with more distributors so they can expand beyond the Rocky Mountain region as well as upgrading production for the addition of big box stores. It’s an optimistic outlook for a business that began out of frustration with the job market combined with the love and admiration of friends for a delicious dessert.