Stacie Skinner’s Lopaus Point waffles are free of soy, dairy and gluten. She leaves sugar out of their batter, instead throwing in whole fruit to achieve a light sweetness. Still, her distributors can’t keep up with the consumers (with or without allergies) who are clearing the shelves.
“A lot of my customers don’t even have to eat gluten free — they just really like the product,” Skinner said. “It’s made with great ingredients, and it tastes great, and it’s better than a mass produced waffle. It just happens to be gluten-free.”
Lopaus Point didn’t start with waffles. Those came along in midsummer of this year, after two years of selling her gluten-free, organic baked goods at farmers markets in Upper Arlington, Clintonville and New Albany. Although the rest of her goods are popular, her waffles were the fan favorite among her family, prompting her to introduce them to her farmers’ market inventory.
“It became just the big item, the big idea,” she said.
From there she started distributing in Columbus and Dayton. Her banana flax, wild Maine blueberry, chocolate chip, and pumpkin spice waffles can be found at the Whole Foods in Upper Arlington and Easton, The Hills Market Downtown and in Worthington, and Lucky’s and Weiland’s markets in Clintonville. Dayton residents can find Lopaus Point waffles at the three-chain Dorothy Lane Market.
It’s several full-time jobs for Skinner to run Lopaus Point at its current capacity. She creates all of the recipes, sources all of the ingredients, makes all of the waffles, and delivers them to her distributors. She even stocks the shelves herself.
“Showing stores that you’re willing to put some skin in the game by demoing, stocking your own shelves, doing the little extras that help them and show your appreciation are really important at this stage,” she said. “You may not grow as quickly as some other brands, but you’re also not falling on your face with as many mishaps.”
Not that she’s not looking to grow. Right now she does it all with some part-time help from an employee through SunApple — an agency seeking job opportunities for people with developmental disabilities. They also have a gluten-free, shared kitchen that Skinner uses for her waffle-making station.
But she’s currently unable to distribute outside of Ohio. A distributor in New York wants to carry Lopaus Waffles, but she’s still working on a way to get them there while keeping them frozen. Skinner said she’s currently looking for a strategic local partner who can help with shipping and distribution so she can accommodate the growing demand for her waffles.
Skinner hopes to overcome these obstacles by the end of 2017’s first quarter. By that time she said she’ll also develop an egg-free recipe, expanding her customer-base to waffle-loving vegans.
For more information, visit www.lopauspoint.com.