Debbie Lindsay has come to terms with the fact that she no longer has a name. To most people, she’s just “The Pretzel Lady.”
But it’s a moniker that Lindsay happily accepts and uses to promote her Moxee-based business, It’s All About The Pretzels.
Lindsay began making her seasoned pretzels for friends and family after being frustrated with the snack’s lack of portability.
“The only time I liked pretzels was when I dipped them and ate them in something,” she says. “You can’t really take dip on the go.”
So with a little experimentation, Lindsay figured out how to buy prepared pretzel twists, remove the salt, add her own seasoning blend and rebake them for a unique snack experience. Soon she was serving bowls of pretzels at Masset Winery, which is owned by her son-in-law, Greg Masset.
“I got bombarded with people leaving notes, talking about the pretzels,” Lindsay says, which led her son-in-law to lament that his business was no longer about his wine, “It’s all about the pretzels!”
And a business was born.
Now in her sixth year, Lindsay’s pretzels are sold in two dozen wineries and specialty food shops around the state, as well as at the bar at several area restaurants.
The pretzels were also featured as the “Snack of the Day” on the Rachel Ray show in 2009.
And the business just keeps growing: This past Christmas, Lindsay was still filling orders at 11 p.m. Christmas Eve.
“This was probably the biggest Christmas rush I’ve had,” she says. “I said, ‘Boy, we’ve got to be a little bit better prepared next year.’ ”
Christmas is the busiest season for the made-to-order business, as the pretzels are popular in company gift baskets.
Lindsay makes a smaller, 6-ounce bag with customizable labels for corporate clients and special events, including weddings.
While pretzels may have a reputation as a cheap bar snack, Lindsay says her seasoned pretzels appeal to a different demographic.
“It’s weird to think of a pretzel being a little bit more high-end, but they are,” Lindsay says. “They’re just kind of one of those things that go with beer, they go with wine.”
In addition to Christmas, Lindsay’s other busy season is the Valley’s annual wine events.
She gets dozens of orders for the Valentine’s-themed Red Wine and Chocolate, which will be held Saturday and Sunday at wineries around the Valley.
Lindsay won’t reveal the secret of her seasonings, but says the pretzels are very savory, with hints of garlic, butter and onion.
“There is just such a twist to it, people are always trying to figure out what it is. It tastes like it’s pre-dipped,” she says. “They’re not really high-calorie. It’s much more nutritional than opening up a bag of potato chips.”
The complexity of the flavor complements a variety of wine types, Lindsay says, and also is a nice addition to cheese platters.
“Do a nice big cabernet sauvignon with this, and some goat cheese and the pretzels, you’ve got it made,” she says. “Best meal that there is.”
Currently, Lindsay rents commercial kitchen space to bake her product, but she aims on expanding the business and building her own kitchen. After five years in business, Lindsay says she is more confident as a businesswoman and has a secure supply chain for the bags, rafia and labels she needs to sell the pretzels.
“It’s not as scary as it was five years ago,” she says. “(Now) my confidence level is really right on top of it. Now I know what I can tell the customer and be sure that what I’m telling them is true.”
• Savannah Tranchell can be reached at 509-577-7752 or firstname.lastname@example.org.