Pierogi Gals' pierogi take off in Metro Detroit stores

Pierogi Gals, a fledgling business based in Grosse Pointe Woods, got its start like so many food businesses do: from a family recipe.

For many years the pierogi-making fell to the family matriarch. When she became terminally ill her daughters, Karen Andrews, Victoria Les and daughter-in-law Helen Les, realized they should learn from the master before she was gone.

Eventually they were giving away dozens and dozens of pierogis until they finally heeded repeated advice that they should sell their family's version of Polish dumplings.

"People would ask for them and we'd say sure. We'd give them as gifts. Our list kept getting a lot longer and longer. Since people kept saying,, 'These are so good you should sell these,' we thought what the heck. I was getting close to retirement, my sister was getting close to retirement.

"That was 2011…it took us a couple of years before that to figure out how to start a businesses, what licenses we needed, what did we have to do. We'd never done anything like this."

The trio -- two of them teachers, the other a computer tech -- initially sold pierogi online and by phone orders. It didn't take long before they were in the freezer case of the first store, Oxford Beverages in Grosse Pointe Woods. They got major help from Michigan State University's Product Center and also from MSU packaging students who helped them correct their original, less-than-ideal container.

Once the business was going and they were selling pierogi at farmers markets and such, more stores came calling: three Randazzo's markets in Macomb County and more recently Holiday Market in Canton.

Now suddenly, sort of, the commercial kitchen and mixer where they make several varieties -- their family's favorite farmer's cheese, sauerkraut and mushroom; potato cheddar; redskin truffle; spicy potato cheddar; and seasonal apple and blueberry -- are no longer large enough and they're looking for more space, more supplies and help.

"We're just amazed at how it's gone, and we don't know how far it will go," she says," but it's been a wonderful experience so far."

Source: Karen Andrews, co-founder, Pierogi Gals
Writer: Kim North Shine

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