Tina Pack’s health took a serious dive several years back.
At the direction of her doctor, she changed her diet, including cutting out gluten.
“I looked around and asked, ‘If you need to eat gluten-free in this area, where do you go?’” Pack recalled. She learned there weren’t too many options.
So, Pack, who has loved to bake since she was a child, decided to create one herself.
She started Tina’s Tasty Treats with her husband, Shawn.
They make a variety of breads and sweets, from cookies to brownies and more.
And after nearly a decade using shared kitchen space and selling their food at farmers markets, bazaars and pop-up events, they’re opening their own storefront in Richland.
Tina’s Tasty Treats is set to take up residence in the former Lotus Asian Market space at the Uptown Shopping Center. The Packs hope to open by Aug. 1 at the latest.
“We’re really excited about this — about what we’re going to be able to do and the people we’re going to be able to help,” Tina told the Tri-Cities Area Journal of Business.
She and her husband are investing about $50,000 in remodeling the space; they’re using a business loan from Baker Boyer Bank to help with the cost.
Tina was working at the store on a recent morning when a longtime customer popped by. Gene Gower of Richland has a family member with a gluten intolerance, and so he keeps a stock of items from Tina’s Tasty Treats at home.
“It’s great. (The food) doesn’t taste like cardboard, like some of the stuff you get out of the big stores. Those stores don’t have the quality. They aren’t invested in it,” he said. “But here, it’s made with love. I know they wouldn’t serve it if they didn’t like it themselves.”
Gower’s favorites are the Packs’ root beer float cookie and sourdough bread.
“Their sourdough is just awesome,” he said. “You can’t tell its gluten free.”
That’s the idea. Tina said her goal is to make delicious food that doesn’t have gluten yet doesn’t taste as if anything is missing or substituted.
She’s spent years perfecting her recipes to ensure that’s the case.
Before she started running Tina’s Tasty Treats full time, Tina was a pharmacy technician. Her favorite part was compounding — and that’s carried over to her current career.
Her experimenting has led to some popular creations, including Gower’s beloved root beer float cookies, plus everything from French toast bread to various bars.
Tina’s Tasty Treats started in 2014, with the Packs renting kitchen space from an event center operating out of the old Spaghetti Establishment building in Kennewick. They eventually moved to the Pasco Specialty Kitchen and then to the Red Mountain Kitchen in Kennewick.
They’re regulars at the Richland Farmers Market in The Parkway on Fridays, and they’ll continue to sell their food there after they open in the Uptown.
Tina said it’s been a dream for years to have their own place, with an entirely gluten-free kitchen. Along with the usual breads and treats, they plan to offer items such as soup, deli sandwiches, take-and-bake dishes, signature drinks and more.
They also have their eyes on eventually mass producing some of their offerings.
Tina said being able to make tasty gluten-free food is personally meaningful.
When she needed to go gluten free, it took her time and experimentation to find foods she enjoyed and could safely eat. She wants to make it easier for others walking the same path.
“People get lost and they get frustrated, and when you can help them navigate that, (it feels good),” she said. “It feels like, this is what I’m meant to do.”
Go to: tinastastytreats.com.
Daily and Monthly NewsSign up now!