A ‘pretty good’ business
In the beginning there were Sparks Bars, and they were good.
Now, more than 15 years after John and Lita Perkins began selling the creamy fruit bars named after a pastry chef in their Squaw Valley grocery, they are providing a wide variety of nutritiously and socially conscious food to places around the globe.
“It’s pretty much health junk food,” John said of his baked wares, many of which adhere to vegan standards.
Offering such goodies as cookies, macaroons and breads, Perkins Pretty Good Bakery caters to customers interested in tasty, health-based snacks.
The small business, which offers its goods through local stores and nationwide through UPS, also concentrates on producing diet-specific items for those with certain restrictions on their diet. In an effort to better serve those with diet-specific needs, the bakery accepts clients’ lists outlining their specific requirements.
“Almost everyone I know is allergic to chocolate and sugar, but they eat it anyway,” said Perkins. “They don’t know why they get headaches, they don’t know why they pass out after dinner.”
In addition to their snacks, Perkins Pretty Good Bakery also sells dietary supplements, hair products and bulk amounts of various food items such as flour, rice and fruit. But their baked goods, from the organic raisin sweetened perk-a-doodles to the wheat-free catch-the-rye flat bread, are the business’s bread and butter.
While the couple has concentrated through the years on different avenues such as catering and running a small grocery store, the business now focuses much of its energy on providing its goods directly to the customer through mail order. Though they still sell wholesale to stores, much of the company’s business is conducted through Perkins Pretty Easy Mail Order.
Staying true to their small business, grass-roots approach, the company relies on word-of-mouth to expand their customer base. Though they dabble in advertising, personal recommendations garner many of their orders.
Another plus for the business is their location. Living and conducting business in tourist-heavy Tahoe allows for a large amount of exposure to out-of-towners. Many customers have called requesting additional orders after having enjoyed a Perkins Pretty Good Bakery product while passing through the area.
“One guy rolled through here on a Harley on vacation and picked one up somewhere,” John said of one visiting Sparks Bar enthusiast. “He ended up calling me from Colorado, asking if he could get more.”
One reason the Perkins believe their products have received such an enthusiastic response is the business’s mom-and-pop feel.
Though it services customers from Tahoe to Germany to Canada, Perkins Pretty Good Bakery still only consist of a husband and wife team that cranks out tasty treats in Rubicon Deli’s kitchen in the middle of the night.
“It doesn’t have a factory-made feel to it,” said Lita.
“It’s like homemade,” added John.
New Moon Natural Foods in Truckee carries Perkins Pretty Good Bakery products.
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