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Federal Way-based Forza to carry Spanaway bakery’s gluten-free products

Post by Kathleen Cooper / The News Tribune on Jan. 28, 2011 at 2:15 pm with 3 Comments »
January 28, 2011 2:15 pm

Interesting news, in light of the spirited conversation going on lately about supporting local businesses:

A Spanaway bakery that specializes in gluten-free, vegan baked goods has added Forza Coffee Company to its list of Puget Sound retailers.

According to a news release today from Federal Way-based Forza, Granny Lala’s Baking Company will have its products in seven Pierce County stores and one in Silverdale.

“We understand a number of people have dietary restrictions and cannot consume certain foods found in popular coffeehouse food selections,” Brad Carpenter, Founder and CEO of Forza, said in the release. “Secondly, much of what is available to those on a restricted diet is less than delicious.”

Granny Lala products at Forza will include carrot cake, mini muffins, double chocolate brownies, cookies and a signature Granny Lala item, chocolate quinoa “Katie Cake” with a chocolate ganache.

Beginning Feb. 1, Forza customers can find Granny Lala products at these Forzas:

  • 1202 South Union, Tacoma
  • 2700 Bridgeport Way W. Suite G, University Place
  • 4828 Bridgeport Way, University Place
  • 1520 Wilmington Dr Suite 100 Dupont
  • 5275 Olympic Drive NW Gig Harbor
  • 2209 N Pearl St., Tacoma
  • 210 West Pioneer, Puyallup
  • 9995 Silverdale Way NW, Suite 111, Silverdale

Granny Lala, whose real name is Lara Weihs, also sells her products at MultiCare’s Tacoma General Hospital, according to her website. The news release says the products – which are free of gluten, dairy, egg, nut, soy, and corn – will be individually packaged for display at Forza stores to prevent cross-contamination.

I’ve left a voicemail with Granny Lala, and I’ll update this post if I learn more.

Leave a comment Comments → 3
  1. summit98446 says:

    Granny Lala makes some pretty indistiguishable gluten-free stuff. Pretty amazing..

  2. Forza CEO, Brad Carpenter’s decision to partner with Lara Weihs aka Granny Lala is not only a brilliant business decision, it‘s also one of compassion and community. For those folks with gluten intolerance; cookies, birthday and wedding cakes and muffins are often a forbidden and dangerous indulgence. Brad carpenter’s comment that most of the gluten free choices are” less than delicious” is an understatement. Gluten free foods have been around for some time, but if you’ve had any experience with most of the gluten free treats out there.. well you might as well chew on a chunk of sweetened cardboard. Safe gluten free food is no stranger to Lara Weihs. Being gluten intolerant herself, she understands the challenges of that life. Several years ago Lara decided to create a line of gluten free products and she invited me to be one of her volunteer taste testers. She had us sample her cookies, muffins and cakes for taste, texture, sweetness and such. Week after week, she collected our input and made changes to each product until each was found to be delicious by her testers. That was just the beginning. Taking the recipes she’d developed and turning it into a business was a huge undertaking. Lara had to find professional baking equipment, a building that was safe from contamination and a way to manage all the shopping, cooking, cleaning, and distributing, on a very small budget. Her tenacity is astonishing. One of her biggest challenges was getting store owners to take a look at her product line. For years she’s shown up at stores, coffee shops and companies with her samples. Few took the time for Lara. While most companies are buying gluten free products from the bigger distributors or making their own products, Forza took the time to meet with a little local company called Granny Lala’s. The proof was in the pudding…or shall I say, it was in the cookies.
    Forza chose to offer the very best gluten free product on the market to their customers when they partnered with Granny Lala.

    I dare say, Washington needs to hear the Granny Lala story in full starting from Lara as a child baking side by side with her own Grandma, learning the old ways and secrets of baking that Lara brings to her proprietary gluten free recipes today. Over the last few years Lara has worked tirelessly to keep her passion and mission alive. It’s a tale both sweet and compelling. Through all the difficulties, dead ends and disappointments, her persistence carried her through. She has truly earned the title of entrepreneur. There’s no doubt in my mind that Granny Lala and Forza will soon be two of Washington’s Darlings.
    Ms Cooper, I do hope your have an opportunity to meet Granny Lala and share more of her adventures with us. I’m looking forward to your next post.

    Teri Blubaugh Auburn WA

  3. Kathleen Cooper says:

    Hi Teri, thanks for the thoughtful comment. Lara did call me back but I left early on Friday — I wasn’t feeling well and didn’t want to share my cold with my coworkers! I think it will be interesting to learn more about her, particularly based on your note.

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