Mike Kruk I have been making my Mexican Bean Dip for over thirty years. I was a vegetarian and I loved Mexican food. I used it for burritos and with chips and thought about selling it for ten years. I took it to parties and pot-lucks and summer barbecues. Friends, family, co-workers and others always said how much they liked it and requested it. About ten or twelve years ago I began to consider selling it. Years went by and then my adult step-son and others convinced me to do it. I wanted to but didn’t know how to get started. When the Fair Food Matters mobile kitchen opened two years ago I went to the open house, took a tour and got some information.  I still didn’t know exactly how to get started. Then they began the Can-Do-Kitchen at the First Baptist Church.  I thought if I’m going to sell my bean dip, I just have to start. I contacted Lucy Bland the Kitchen Manager and set up an appointment. I then scheduled a time and worked with her standardizing and batching my recipe.

My wife Caren and I sampled it out at the Kalamazoo Farmer’s Market. It was well received and we started selling it there. I approached local retailers and it is now carried at many locations throughout southwest Michigan. I have formed Clara’s Kitchen, LLC named after my late mother from whom I received my knowledge and love of cooking.

We consulted with the Michigan Small Business Development and Technology Center and the Michigan State University Product Center. In addition to providing a tasty, healthy food we have a commitment to use and support local suppliers and businesses and support charities and positive social causes. Caren and I continue in our part time  “day jobs,” she is an RN at Borgess Hospital and I am a Mental Health Therapist and Medical Social Worker.  Our hope is to continue to grow the business and transition into focusing exclusively on our food business.