Monday, October 24, 2011

Recipient of business loan for people with disabilities to open gluten-free food company

By Storee Powell

HEBER CITY – After 20-year-old Utahan, Chynna Stanely, learned she had Celiac Disease, her family realized that finding and affording gluten-free food was going to be a challenge.
Celiac Disease, according to the Celiac Disease Foundation, is a lifelong inherited autoimmune condition. When people with Celiac Disease eat foods containing gluten, the body responds with an immune-mediated toxic reaction that causes damage to the small intestine and doesn’t allow nutrients to be properly absorbed. Gluten is the common name for the proteins in specific grains such as all forms of wheat and related grains rye, barley and triticale.
Steven Stanley, Chynna’s father, said, “Gluten is in many common foods like pizza and baked goods; it can even be in caramel coloring which is used in soy sauce among other things. There really are no convenience foods for people with Celiac Disease or gluten intolerance.”
Much of Steven’s family has gluten intolerance or Celiac Disease, making family-get-togethers difficult.
“Not too long ago all the family came over for a cookout. I made homemade French-fries and put some seasoning on them,” Steven said. “They called me from home later very sick, and I read the ingredients on the seasoning and learned there was gluten in it.”
From these difficulties Steven got the idea to start a business to create gluten-free convenience foods. The first step was to finance the business, and through the Utah Microenterprise Loan Fund, Steven received a loan from the Utah Assistive Technology Foundation. The UATF is a nonprofit that provides small-business loans to Utahan’s with disabilities.
Steven said, “The positive environment working with the UMLF during the process was very helpful. They wanted us to succeed.”
Thus was born Chynna’s Kitchen, named for Steven’s daughter. The business, located in Heber City, Utah; is a family business and a work in progress, but is officially producing gluten-free food for distribution to grocery stores statewide.  
“I’ve been working on the recipes for our products the last 14 months. I’ve cooked all my life, been in the catering and restaurant business, and it is easy for me to get in the kitchen and have ideas,” Steven said. “There’s not a lot in the range of gluten-free convenience foods. People need them so when kids come home from school they have something to throw in the microwave.”
The Stanley Family during an expo (starting left):
Bryer, Heatherly, Steven, Chynna and Branton.
Chynna’s Kitchen specializes in frozen pizzas, corndogs, chicken nuggets, and cookie dough among other convenience foods. Some of their products are already in some stories, like Day’s Market in Heber City. More food will hit 22 store shelves in Utah the first of 2012, which is being distributed by Associated Foods.
While starting up the business has been slower than Steven anticipated, he said it is important to take the time to start small so product quality is where it needs to be. The business requires a USDA certification among other accreditations. Steven hopes to eventually expand to a larger market.
“We thought we’d start as a bakery, but we soon learned that demand was already filled in this area so we are hoping to partner with such businesses in our distribution efforts to keep prices low for the consumer and so we don’t have to compete with each other,” Steven said.
People tasting Chynna's Kitchen's
gluten-freecookie dough during an expo.
Steven also wants to educate the community about Celiac Disease and gluten intolerance. Chynna’s Kitchen is a member of the Gluten Intolerance Group and the Celiac Disease Foundation. Through these networks, Chynna’s Kitchen will be doing community awareness and educational events to help people understand the disease.
This is necessary, Steven said, because it can be difficult to diagnose Celiac Disease.
According to the Gluten Intolerance Group, gluten intolerance is the most undiagnosed disorder in the U.S. For every one person diagnosed, 80 people are undiagnosed.

“Lots of times people eventually figure it out themselves after they’ve been misdiagnosed for something like for Irritable Bowell Syndrome,” Steven said.

While Chynna’s Kitchen was at a recent expo where people taste-tested their foods, Steven said one woman told him she hadn’t had a corn dog in eleven years.

“When I saw how she was so excited over a corn dog I knew we are doing a good thing,” Steven said.

Find more about Chynna’s Kitchen on Facebook and soon at
For more information on small-business loans for Utahans with disabilities, call the Utah Assistive Technology Foundation at 1-800-524-5152.

1 comment:

  1. This post is awesome..i've been reading tons of crap posts from other blogs, but shows you have a more educated reader base.