It was out of personal frustration and a desire to help others conquer the same frustration she experienced that Marion Welliver, of Stillwater, decided over three years ago to open her store, The Gluten Free Basket, at the corner of routes 415 and 118, Dallas.
Diagnosed with ceilac disease, Welliver found herself unable to eat many foods she previously enjoyed while trips to the grocery store became difficult and even “devastating” ordeals.
“It’s frustrating,” she said, “trying to go from store to store and reading every label trying to find food you can eat. You feel so isolated. That’s what made me understand and want to help people to see life isn’t so bad.”
According to the shop’s website, glutenfreebasketpa.com, “A gluten-free diet is a diet that excludes foods containing gluten. Gluten is a protein found in wheat (including kamut and spelt), barley, rye, malts and triticale. It is used as a food additive in the form of a flavoring, stabilizing or thickening agent, often as ‘dextrin.’ A gluten-free diet is the only medically-accepted treatment for celiac disease, the related condition dermatitis herpetiformis and wheat allergy.”
Welliver said every product sold at The Gluten Free Basket, with no exceptions, is gluten-free.
The shop offers items such as pasta, snacks, cookies, soups and seasonings, baking mixes, flours, cereal, granola, crackers, breads, frozen foods, pizza and more.
“You name it, we have it,” Welliver said.
She added the secret to the business’ success so far is its wide range of products. New selections are regularly added to the inventory and if a customer doesn’t find what he or she is looking for, a special order is often placed.
Welliver aims to help her customers live better and learn to enjoy life again. She explained shopping for gluten-free foods can be confusing and frustrating in a traditional grocery store, as there is a risk of accidentally purchasing a product containing gluten. The best thing about The Gluten Free Basket, she says, is that risk isn’t there, as all the items sold are gluten-free.
“It’s like a safety zone for [the customers],” she said, “because they don’t have to think about labels and picking up the wrong product.”
In addition to The Gluten Free Basket, Welliver owns and operates the nearby Farm Basket at 3950 Memorial Highway in Dallas where she sells vegetables grown on her farm in Stillwater, fruits from local orchards, jams, jellies and more.
The Farm Basket is open yearly from May through Oct. 31. Both businesses are closed Mondays and open 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays, 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays and 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sundays.
Welliver nvites all who have never been to either business to give them a try, especially those who gave up foods they enjoy due to gluten problems.
“Stop by,” she said, “because you will be happy you did. You can have anything and everything you did give up.”