Amid the pandemic, an Aspen company expands | News

Faced with declining foodstuff income at her Aspen Business Middle and Snowmass Village areas thanks to COVID-19, chef Mawa McQueen has been performing to diversify with a new products: her very own spin on granola.

“Mawa’s GrainFreeNola,” or MGFN for limited (according to the marketing and advertising products), was a work in progress for the last quite a few many years — and a enthusiasm for McQueen independent of her functions at Mawa’s Kitchen area and the Crepe Shack. The Africa-born, Paris-raised entrepreneur went about making a gluten- and grain-free snack that she would get pleasure from on her have, incorporating ideas from the faraway sites where she has lived.

“I’ve been doing work on it, for myself, for a truly extensive time,” she explained Friday of her self-explained “granola venture.”

“It was high priced to do. I commenced supplying it to my mates as presents. It was under no circumstances my intention to switch my enthusiasm into a organization until finally COVID hit,” McQueen stated. “I started out to market it but had no put to set it. I’d make a batch, promote it, and when it was absent, it was gone. I’d make yet another batch when I could. Later on, I achieved with my enterprise group and we appeared at what was doing the job [at the eateries] and what wasn’t, and then we appeared over at granola — and it was all gone.”

She’s offering 5 types of “GrainFreeNola”: “Health Nut,” “Out of Africa,” “Tropical Paradise,” “Berry Me” and “Green Machine.” She utilizes no processed sugar or preservatives in producing an organic, vegan snack.

“Health Nut” is the primary — and the most well-known, in accordance to McQueen. It has various nuts and is sweetened with dates. “Out of Africa” reflects the substances of her indigenous place, she claimed, and is manufactured with pure cocoa. “Tropical Paradise” has a large amount of flavors, which include mango, fig and almond. “You sense like you’re traveling somewhere when you try to eat that one,” she explained.

“Berry Mix” doesn’t depend on mainstream berry flavors, in its place that includes mulberry, gooseberry and goldenberry, among the other varieties. “Green Machine” has banana, kale and apple, alongside with numerous nuts and seeds.

The kinds are getting offered on line at, which was introduced earlier this month, as nicely as in Mawa’s two neighborhood merchants, in which takeout is the only variety of sale at present in engage in. The Crepe Shack, in Snowmass Foundation Village, has always been a seize-and-go operation Mawa’s Kitchen area are not able to currently provide dine-in service simply because of the red-level coronavirus limits that went into effect in Pitkin County last Sunday.

McQueen explained gross revenue is down 60% at equally dining establishments merged but that Mawa’s Kitchen in the ABC was specifically tricky strike. She’s experienced to lay off some staff and now has a team of 14. She received some assistance by the Paycheck Security Application and also a GoFundMe site that took donations to guide with a major renovation in the slide.

She’s hoping the job to extend seating at Mawa’s Kitchen will spend off later on, mainly because so much, it has not assisted.

“People weren’t walking all around as much in the ABC, and that improved a ton of points,” she claimed. “We experienced to reinvent — and imagine quickly. So [given the rules that reduced capacity], we renovated to broaden our seating. We reopened in December with a large bang, but the massive bang didn’t transpire. I do not regret it for the reason that I assume the greatest is still to come.”

McQueen will make the granola with her personal hands. Her prices are substantial, and at $16.95 for every 8-ounce bag, she admitted that it may perhaps not be for all people.

“I consider the motive individuals enjoy my granola is I’m placing so much love and electrical power into it and undertaking this myself,” she explained, introducing that down the street, she could possibly have to teach some others how to make it.

“You can come to feel it. There is a spirituality, a synergy to it,” McQueen claimed.

She included that she’s not 1 to let the pandemic damage her business.

“I’m a fighter, and I’m optimistic,” McQueen concluded. “We just require to hang in there and possibly soon we can start out carrying out items like we used to — and hugging every single other and kissing every single other once more.”