It Started with Fudge - The Story of 5 Local Businesses
With five successful shops in Frederick, Mike Winder knows a thing (or five) about this community and finding good business opportunities. His advice to people who are considering opening a business? Do it.
“Do it sooner. Do it, do it, do it.”
Every Business Has a Story – This One Starts With Fudge
Originally from Seattle, Mike made his way to Frederick more than 22 years ago by way of North Carolina and a career in the corporate world. He always knew, however, that one day he would be his own boss.
“My father and older brothers had been self-employed, so I always knew I wanted to own my own business. As my youngest was packing up to go off to college, I decided I didn’t need a ‘real job’ anymore.”
In 2005, Mike and his wife Terri took the leap and opened Frederick Fudge and Ice Cream on the corner of E. Church Street. Since then, they have expanded their corner of the world to include the Frederick Coffee Company, Shab Row Tea Emporium, The Pasta Palette, and Good Juju.
“The [Frederick] community is supportive and they like to buy local. There’s a community aspect to doing business here. You see a lot of the same people and there’s that small town feel. Even 10 minutes down the road you are out of Frederick already and you don’t have the same feel.”
Did you know Terri makes all the fudge for Frederick Fudge and Ice Cream? It’s true. In addition to being a trained occupational therapist of more than 30 years, she does all the paperwork for the businesses and makes all the fudge for the shop.
It Takes Ideas, Opportunity, and Patience
Great business ideas often come from current customers. For Mike, The Coffee Co. has served as a hub and first-hand source of ideas for business ventures.
“Customers at the coffee shop were looking for healthier options and higher-end teas. They were asking, ‘Do you have any vegan options? Any gluten-free options?’ The reality was we just didn’t have space [at the Coffee Co] for those.”
With limited retail space at the Coffee Co., but still eager to meet the needs of customers, Mike knew it would make sense to expand to additional specialty shops. It was just a matter of waiting for the perfect spaces to become available. Location is important to Winder, not only for managing the day-to-day operations of multiple businesses but also for added convenience and the ability to create connected outdoor spaces. He waited specifically for the space the tea shop is now before moving forward with the business.
Other ideas like the Pasta Palette started with travel. On a trip to Seattle for a wedding, Mike and Terri went to Pike Place Market where they discovered Pappardelle’s Pasta. After trying it, they knew there was an opportunity to bring the product back to Frederick.
“It’s all made in Denver by a small mom and pop business operation. Their business model is farmers markets, so we started by doing farmers markets [in Frederick] and special events for a summer. Then I thought we could make a store out of it.”
With more than 80 varieties of fresh and dried pasta (including gluten-free, vegan, and low-carb options), the Pasta Palette in Downtown Frederick is the only free-standing store in the country selling Pappardelle’s pasta.
The Good Juju Journey
The latest venture for Mike and Terri Winder is Good Juju, a vegan cafe and juice bar that is celebrating its third anniversary this month.
The spot where Good Juju is now had been empty for more than 10 years before Mike and his team got hold of it. Originally built as a hot dog and sandwich shop, the space then spent a long time as Friendly’s Bar. When the bar closed the building was left in rough shape.
“It had been empty for a long, long time. The windows were all covered in wood and broken out, there was a horrible smell, the roof was caved in. It was like they had just closed the bar one night and everything was still there. It was horrible.”
With help from his brother, who works in construction, it took Mike at least a year to transform the space into the clean, fresh, smoothie shop it is today.
With juices, smoothies, and a full menu of breakfast and lunch options, everything on the menu at Good Juju is vegan except for a few of the gluten-free options. In addition to the 6-7 seasonally crafted items on the menu, you can always create your own juice or smoothie. They also offer wheatgrass shots.
Mike’s favorite smoothie: Mango Tango (mango, peach, ginger, maple syrup, and almond milk)
The most popular smoothie: Razzle Dazzle (raspberry, strawberry, banana, coconut oil, agave, and almond milk)
Most popular juice: anything that’s green :)
“My plan was to be a juice bar that sold a little bit of vegan food, but we’ve become a vegan place that sells a little bit of juice”
Say hello to the “FCB SLB” Smoothie
As part of the FCB CollaborEATS series, Mike and the team at Good Juju created a limited-edition FCB smoothie. Say hello to the FCB SLB, a strawberry, lemon, and basil smoothie blended with chia seeds, agave, and coconut milk.
The sweetest part of the FCB SLB is that every sip helps SOAR - Frederick. For each CollaborEATS smoothie sold, FCB will make a donation to Supporting Older Adults through Resources - an organization dedicated to providing assistance to the elderly.
The team at Good Juju chose SOAR in honor of Terri’s work with the elderly.
“She’s passionate about elderly care,” said Mike. “She is an occupational therapist by trade and the bulk of her time in occupational therapy was taking care of the elderly. She likes to see them taken care of and SOAR is a great organization.”
The FCB SLB is available April 15, 2019, through May 15, 2019
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