Jennifer's Homemade Grows Up, Offers Short Order Readers 25 Percent Off for August

Jackie Sayet
Home is still baked-in
Jennifer's Homemade may have graduated to a warehouse baking facility, but the same pasta-sheeter that Jennifer Behar retrofit for her flatbread dough, which she cut by hand and baked at home, matriculated along with the business.

"We moved two years ago.  It was a raw space, and we had to build it out, but it still looks very industrial, which I like," explains Jennifer, who was out of the house after three months.  "We knew pretty quickly that we weren't going to be able to operate the business from home for very long.  We were in many other places before this..."

You've seen Jennifer's four year-old small business around.  Her baked goods line the shelves of such supermarket monoliths as Whole Foods and Publix, and small specialty retailers.  She's participated in the South Beach Wine & Food Festival for three years, a decision that got her noticed by Martha Stewart's producers and resulted in an appearance on the domestic diva's daytime show.  Jennifer is no stranger to press, which she handles herself thanks to media savvy from her undergraduate degree in communications and years as a successful career as a New York City 'Mad woman.'

Jackie Sayet
Jennifer Behar in her office in the warehouse district off of Bird Road, in between the Palmetto and University of Miami
Daughter Stephanie, now 11, has been by Mom's side from the beginning at home, and comes to the warehouse every day after school.  "She likes to tell people what to do," Jennifer smiles. 

Jennifer employs eight, from her bookkeeper to the ladies that do the baking from about 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.  If something goes wrong or there's an urgent large order, she gets right in there with them, like back in the day when she was in her sweats kneading dough in her own kitchen.
Jackie Sayet
Pack rat
Cinnamon lucked out in the move.  This spice, which will end up on Sweet Cinnamon breadsticks and flatbread, gets its very own room so that its delectably pungent smell doesn't settle where it's not supposed to, like on the savory baked goods. Pull back the plastic flaps and escape to its exotic origins.  There are many things Jennifer won't compromise on, and quality ingredients is one of the most important to her product.

Then there's the two double rack monster-sized ovens, which she custom-made to fit 30 trays each to accommodate the 30-50 cases a day this mini factory churns out.  Turns out the ovens were being checked out by their doctor on our visit, but quickly recovered after Mom filled a prescription.

Jackie Sayet
Pack 'em up, ship 'em out
In the loading area sit stacks of completed boxes with biscotti, breadsticks and flatbread labels of all flavors.  Jennifer's Rosemary Flatbread is her original item and best seller to this day.  The Double Chocolate Chunk Biscotti is also very popular. Salt & Pepper was recently introduced, but this food entrepreneur is more focused on her core product line and new business, now exploring food service and caterers as potential outlets. One wonders if these pretty packages are headed to the new distributor in St. Barts?

"If there's one thing I've learned, it's to be open to anything, because you never can know for certain where the business is going," Jennifer adds. "I have room to grow here."

One thing that none of us could have predicted is the severity of the economic downturn.  Jennifer's response?  Eating rising ingredient costs -- flour being the major culprit, up three times its price last year -- so her customers don't have to.  Something close to her heart is giving back to those less fortunate, and in Jennifer's case it's through unwavering support of the Daily Bread Food Bank, a part of Feeding America (formerly America's Second Harvest.) Since the beginning, she's donated a portion of her proceeds and any extra baked goods. The environment gets a boost, too, from biodegradable packing peanuts made of corn.   

Jackie Sayet
Closing up for the day
Take advantage of Jennifer's summer special for Short Order readers, and purchase her product online here.  Enter coupon code "Short Order" (without the quotation marks,) get 25 percent off on six ounce boxes, and munch away!

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