You may have noticed a familiar foodie name at Whole Foods in the bakery section over the years: Achatz Handmade Pie Co. Could it be any relation, and if so, how come it just looks like regular pie and hasn't been immersion-circulated or anti-griddled or something? The answer is, yes, it's a relation, Grant Achatz's second cousins Dave and Wendy, to be precise. But far from cashing in on a high end foodie name, they started their pie business 19 years ago, when the Michigan-born, future three-Michelin-star chef was still a teenager working on his GTO with his dad. Metromode, a Detroit-based business publication, has a profile of Wendy Achatz, who helped build Chesterfield, Michigan-based Achatz Pie Co. into the model of a local foods business, with 160 employees, eight shops in the area and $8 million in annual sales turning Michigan fruit into pies sold in Whole Foods stores nationwide. But it's also about how she supports other Michigan food startups with advice drawn from her experience, and how a cottage-industry-friendly regulatory environment in Michigan makes it possible to grow businesses like hers:
Wendy says she's seeing more and more new foodies on the block, taking a nugget of an idea and polishing it into a gem of a entrepreneurial endeavor. "Michigan has made it easier for these businesses ," she says. "The state of Michigan wanted to give people the tools to be successful and it seems to be working."