Exclusive interview: 25th anniversary of PARTNERS, a family-owned snack maker
PARTNERS, the family-owned snack maker, is celebrating its silver anniversary, marking its 25th year as a family-owned and operated team baking made-from-scratch gourmet crackers, cookies and brownie thins.
One of the original artisan snack pioneers, PARTNERS was founded when Marian was inspired to create a homemade cracker while running two restaurants and noticing a lack of gourmet options. Her search for the perfect cracker to accompany her homemade soups and salads came up empty, so she simply developed her own delicious recipe. Over the years, PARTNERS Crackers has grown into a thriving family of wholesome crackers, cookies and brownie thins all under the PARTNERS, A Tasteful Choice Company’s national portfolio.
We recently were able to chat with Cara Figgins, owner and vice president of sales at PARTNERS.
Liz Parker: Why did Marian get in to the business?
Cara Figgins: My mother, Marian Harris, was inspired to create an artisan cracker while running two restaurants and noticing a lack of artisan options in the cracker category. She kept searching for the perfect crackers to pair with her top-selling homemade soups and salads, but she couldn’t find anything that met her standards. Instead of giving up on her search or settling for a cracker that wasn’t what she was looking for, Marian developed her own cracker recipe. Thus, PARTNERS Crackers was born in 1992 out of a necessity to provide a wholesome cracker to her restaurant and catering customers. It quickly became a high-quality, gourmet cracker that “partners” perfectly with every type of food and occasion for people everywhere.
LP: What makes PARTNERS different from other snack/bakery companies?
CF: PARTNERS is different because of our unwavering dedication to our core values of creating wholesome, made-from-scratch products using real, honest ingredients in our own bakery. We oven bake our crackers to a signature crispy crunch, all while delivering mouthwatering artisan-crafted snacks that are free of GMOs, high fructose corn syrup, preservatives and hydrogenated oils. For example, Free For All Kitchen is a new line of Certified Gluten Free crackers and brownie thins. With this line in particular, we didn’t just want to alter our existing cracker recipes by substituting gluten-free ingredients. Instead, we set out to offer unique and gourmet products that everyone can enjoy that contain carefully selected ingredients that are gluten-free and also free from soy, corn, white rice, nuts, and eggs. Lastly, we strive to be an eco-conscious and socially responsible company through green business choices and our hiring practices.
LP: What has changed about your products and process through the years?
CF: We’ve really expanded our offerings in the past few years under PARTNERS, A Tasteful Choice Company’s portfolio. We now have several different lines of crackers, as well as brownie thins and cookie crisps. The lines include Blue Star Farms, a USDA Certified Organic line, Free For All Kitchen, a Certified Gluten Free line, as well as PARTNERS Crackers, Wisecrackers, All-American and Mia Dolci, our line of gourmet cookie crisps. We wanted to look beyond crackers and enhance our portfolio with other gourmet snacks that our consumers would love and offer snacks that fit specific dietary needs, like gluten-free. We want to make sure that our consumers, whether gluten-free or with a passion for organic products, are able to purchase a delicious cracker that fits their dietary needs that’s made with better-for-you ingredients.
CF: What has stayed the same about your products and process through the years?
LP: As a family-owned and operated business, we’ve always maintained our commitment to creating wholesome, made-from-scratch products using real, honest ingredients in our bakery. In fact, Marian still crafts each and every one of the recipes. We continue to use only authentic, non-GMO ingredients in all of our products, and our delicious snacks are also Certified Kosher and always free of high fructose corn syrup, preservatives and hydrogenated oils. And even though the company has grown over the years, we’re proud to say that all of our products are still baked in our family bakery outside of Seattle.