About 4 years ago I was pregnant with my first child and had absolutely no energy. My husband worked until 9:00 or 10:00 most nights. I didn't want to be awake, let alone cook at that hour. Then I saw something on pinterest about prepping meals for the week all in one day and then just throwing them into the slow cooker throughout the week. Every Sunday I would drag my husband into the kitchen and we would chop, brown and prep everything for the week to come. This worked perfectly for our family!
After our son was born, our friends and family started to catch on to what we were doing and asked us to make extra meals for them as well. Within a few months we had to start buying food in bulk and purchase extra deep freezers to store the meals we were making for others. About this time my husband became convinced that this was a business, I thought he was crazy! We barely had enough in our saving to cover home repairs (most of which are still not done) let alone pour money into opening an actual business. I had never run a business before and I didn't know the first thing about starting one; but he was persistent because he had faith in me and in the concept.
We started small by renting a local kitchen and advertising on social media. It was a very scary process and there were countless times that I thought this was all just too much to handle. Still we pushed on as a family and our little idea started to grow into a real business. It didn't take long for us to outgrow the kitchen we were renting; so we began looking for a kitchen of our own.
The next step was the scariest. We knew that if we really wanted to give this business a shot, we would need a kitchen with a retail space. We were, and still are, far from rich and it costs a lot of money to buy a building and install a custom kitchen for a brand new concept. Since we had no experience with financing, this seemed impossible! We started doing research and after a few loans, using all of our life savings, and help from our family, we had raised just about what we would need to start.
We purchased our building in March of 2014. The build out process was a huge challenge. We had months of delays due to building permits, issues with contractors, and supplies not showing up. We also ran into significant financial issues as almost everything was costing thousands of dollars more than anticipated. There were countless times we thought there was no way we were going to make it to our Grand Opening but somehow we did it. We opened our doors in September of 2014. We had barely enough money left to purchase the ingredients for our first batch of meals.
That was just over two years ago, and at this point, it seems like a lifetime ago. Within the last two years we have had so many ups and downs. Our second baby Isabella was born. We made it through two very tough summers (who would have thought people don't crock in the summer), and in the past year we opened three additional locations two in Booths Corners Farmers Market and the other in Chestnut Hill Philadelphia. (all in PA) Needless to say we have been busy.
Believe it or not retail was a very small part of our original plan Justin (my husband) and I both thought this concept was amazing as an online store but there were a few very large obstacles standing in our way so we focused on the retail expansion. Throughout the last few years Justin and I have been working tirelessly trying to make this online store a reality and on December 8th, 2016 everything had finally fallen into place. So our little idea to make home cooked dinners easier, that started in our home kitchen has grown into a business with 4 retail locations that has the ability to ship its product to the entire east coast and all of the way out to Chicago!
Today I am a proud mom. We have worked so hard for this, it wasn’t easy and it still isn’t; but we are stronger because we decided to take this leap. I feel good about offering a product that helps families. I feel good about the hours we put in and better about the hours we miss with our children because I know we are doing something that will make our family's future brighter.
If your dreams don't scare the hell out of you then they are not big enough. Believe in yourself and follow your dream; and maybe you can make the world a better place in the process.
" I highly recommend What a Crock Meals. I needed some ready made meals to send to my sister out of state. She's sick and can't cook. She loved how easy it is and how tasty they are. I'm ordering more for her, me and family. Easy to order and excellent customer service. "
" What a Crock has been a life saver for our family. With four kids and all on different schedules they have made getting dinner ready so easy and so delicious. We have enjoyed all of our meals and love the variety and ease of this service. I recommend this to everyone out there! "
" Everything we've ordered has been delicious and super easy. Good cuts of meat, great sauces and just really well prepared. It's always tough trusting your hard earned dollars and dinner time meals to a new food delivery service, but you can definitely trust in this one. "
At this time, we have taken the following action to keep our customers and employees safe:
Please remember that small businesses such as ours will be among the most impacted by this crisis. When making decisions on where to buy, keep in mind that small food markets and corner stores like ours are much less crowded than large chain grocery stores. If you prefer not to go out at all at this time, don’t forget that we will continue to ship to all 48 contiguous states. Shopping small is not only better for your community, but it can also be safer.