START: Q&A with Tastefully Bend

Bend, Ore., November 30, 2021: Tastefully Bend is a locally owned business based in Bend, Oregon, creating handcrafted and locally made biscotti unique in both texture and flavor. Their goal is to expand the biscotti market by offering a soft biscotti that can be enjoyed on its own or, for the traditional biscotti experience, dipped into someone’s favorite beverage.

We sat down with Colleen Park, Owner/Baker, to learn more about her biscotti business.

EDCO: Tell us more about Tastefully Bend.

Colleen: Tastefully Bend was officially founded in January of 2021 with the first product, Cinnamon Sugar & Pecan Biscotti, launched in April. Since then we’ve added Pumpkin Spice Biscotti in September and Hazelnut & Chocolate Biscotti with Toffee Bits in November. Peppermint Crunch is scheduled to be released this December. We have 3 employees and anticipate doubling in size by the end of Q2 2022.

The Tastefully Bend growth outside of the local area has been truly exceptional. Within 3 months of launching our first product, we were selling throughout Oregon. We will continue to deepen our business relationships in Oregon before expanding into other states. My experience tells me that to build a solid distribution channel, one must manage growth and client expectations. We’re doing that with a very targeted business development strategy coupled and a realistic product development strategy.

EDCO: Tell us about your product line. What is in the pipeline?

Colleen: The biscotti market has not changed in many years. We have created a soft biscotti that is like no other! It’s soft, yet holds up beautifully when dipped in your favorite beverage! Kids love it, too! They love dipping the Cinnamon Sugar & Pecan Biscotti in milk, hot chocolate, or having fun by crushing it up and sprinkling it over ice cream! Adults also have had fun dipping theirs in champagne, whiskey, or simply enjoying on its own. Traditional hard biscotti lovers are delighted in the new experience of a soft, yet flavorful biscotti that holds up when dipped in their coffee.

We will be offering both year-round and seasonal biscotti. The current year-round flavors are Cinnamon Sugar & Pecan, Hazelnut & Chocolate with Toffee Bits and Lemon & Lavender coming in Q1 2022. Our current seasonal biscotti are Pumpkin Spice (available through November) and Peppermint Crunch which will be released in December and available through February (unless sales tell us otherwise!) I create all of our flavors with many of my ideas coming from friends and family requests to my own creative ideas.

EDCO: Where can we find your product?

Colleen: We initially targeted specialty grocers, like Market of Choice, and hotels like the new Westin across from Pioneer Park and The Pine Ridge Inn off Century Drive. Both vertical markets have been fantastic for our business growth. Soon we expanded to the transportation market by working first with the Redmond airport and then the Eugene airport. Our market penetration strategy targets our beloved tourists while at the same time serving our local community demand.

We also participate in our local farmers’ markets and pop-up events. This summer we had fun working at Bend’s NWX Farmers Market and also at Redmond’s General Duffy’s Waterhole Farmers Market where we first learned how to sell at an open-air market. We had a lot of fun learning and spending part of our summer in Redmond.

Our next big jump is into the online e-commerce arena. We are working through that project now and hope to be offering online sales by December. Our products make excellent corporate and hostess gifts and they ship very well.

EDCO: Why operate a business in Central Oregon?

Colleen: I grew up in Portland, Oregon, and relocated outside of the state for the past 30 years. When I decided to return home to Oregon in 2017, I revisited Portland several times and after 4 trips to Bend, I felt it offered all the elements I needed to thrive. It offers an unparalleled outdoor enthusiast lifestyle and for me, it’s skiing and then a little bit more skiing with hiking in the off-season. I also had family here so it just felt like the place where I could spend the next 30 years thriving and living a full and rewarding life. Giving myself a balanced work and home life was imperative to me if I was going to launch my own company. I’d been a VP in the technology world for years and I was simply wanting more to my life; traveling 80% was great for my career but I was not thriving.

Central Oregon gave me the physical and spiritual balance I needed to truly be happy and thrive. The business community in Central Oregon was so receptive to a new business, and to a new product, that Tastefully Bend was launched and has been successful ever since.

EDCO:  Do you have a story of success and/or challenge you’d like to share about your business and how you responded?

Colleen: Frankly creating and starting my business during a pandemic in Central Oregon has been an amazing experience! From our local vendors to our lovely clients, we continue to thrive and have been able to expand our product reach throughout Oregon. Sure we’ve been challenged with hiring more folks to help us create our product just like other small businesses across our country, but we are successful regardless of this challenge. I simply don’t dwell on the negative but enhance the positive of what we do have and continue to work on expanding as best we can with the current employment conditions. Our triumphs come from the inherent nature of the supportive business community in Central Oregon and bringing a sweet treat to a variety of people; from those that live here to our beloved tourists!

EDCO: What does your future look like?

Colleen: Tastefully Bend’s 2022 growth plan is to deepen our vertical markets throughout the western states. We also have some unique product plans that will expand our B2C reach beyond the current product line. For now, we are very happy working out of PREP Chef’s Kitchen, however, over the next few years, we plan on owning our own facility and employing upwards of 10 full-time people.

EDCO: Anything else you’d like to share with us?

Colleen: I actually had a traveling nurse from Montana email me saying she stayed at a local hotel which is one of our clients, LOGE Camps, and purchased a package of the Cinnamon Sugar & Pecan in their marketplace coffee area. She asked if we’d ship her a dozen packages for Christmas gifts! Wow…that warmed my heart to know she chose Tastefully Bend’s biscotti when there are so many other wonderful items created here that she could have chosen. I felt like my personal mantra of “thriving” was truly manifesting and giving others joy!

EDCO: How do you support EDCO and why?

Colleen: Tastefully Bend is a new member of EDCO! We joined because of the dynamic reach EDCO has both within our local Bend business community and throughout the region. Tastefully Bend’s vision is to go beyond Oregon’s borders. We wanted to work closely with an organization, such as EDCO, that truly supports Central Oregon businesses; one that also provides us community networking opportunities to help us grow and thrive.