Chocolate Industry

Three Girls Vegan Creamery Makes Italian Cooking Better Than Your Grandma

On a warm, sunny fall afternoon, a young college couple sat down at an outdoor table at Three Girls Vegan Creamery in Guilford, CT, deciding what to order. The Connecticut coastal town was their halfway meeting place, as one is studying in Boston and the other is taking classes in New York. Sure, the location is convenient for the commuting couple, but really, it’s the organic, plant-based menu that brings them back every month. While Boston and New York are great vegan cities, the couple just can’t find the same artichoke and spinach dip, burgers, crab cakes and cannolis that are on offer at Three Girls Vegan Creamery.

And they’re not the only ones who can’t get enough of this place. Business is booming at the vegan catering company which, in addition to its thriving online delivery business, has two physical locations in Guilford: Three Girls Vegan Creamery and Three Girls Downtown with another restaurant planned in Charleston, Florida. Caroline from the south.

“It’s pretty amazing how far it’s come,” said Tracy Alexander, who runs the business with her two adult daughters, Brittany Guerra and Taylor Pitts. “I’ve always loved cooking, but I had no experience or training in the food industry, and certainly not in vegan cooking.”

Juliet Pennington

Go vegan to fight cancer

The seed to turn his hobby into a brand was planted 10 years ago. Alexander was co-owner of a successful health technology company when his mother, Theresa, then 73, was diagnosed with stage four lung cancer. Doctors gave him 10 months to live, a prognosis that Alexander and his sister, Kristi, a nurse, refused to accept. They didn’t want her to have to endure traditional chemotherapy and radiation, so the siblings got to work learning all they could about toxins and food and how to “cleanse” her diet. their mother, which they believe was intrinsically linked to her health issues. What jumped out at them more than anything else was how meat and dairy products were “clearly linked” to cancer and other diseases. In solidarity with his mother, Alexander and his daughters went vegan and remain so to this day.

“We started juicing, but she wasn’t going to drink smoothies every day…she’s Italian,” Alexander said with a laugh. “She wanted pizza, so I got to work making a vegan mozzarella. [with organic cashews] that looked, tasted and melted like real mozzarella. It took more than a few tries, but eventually I got it right and she liked it.

From there, there were meatballs and sausages made with portabello mushrooms, tuna salad made with soaked organic sunflower seeds, chicken made with wheat gluten, and the list went on. as Alexander amassed an inventory of recipes that to date has exceeded 800 dishes. “Anything mom said she wanted, I’d find a way to veganize it,” she said.

Her mother’s health improved and she lived an active, healthy and cancer-free life for another seven years. “When she died, there was no trace of cancer in her body,” Alexander said.

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The start of the business

Alexander’s mother and sister weren’t the only ones to try his vegan cheese. The self-taught chef shared her creations with many discerning self-proclaimed cheese lovers, and the feedback she received was “incredible,” Alexander said. “Everyone said it tasted like ‘real’ cheese.”

In 2016, she and her daughters began selling a variety of plant-based cheeses at farmers’ markets and established wholesale accounts for local health food stores. Quickly, the family business accepts orders from individuals. When sales started to take off and demand outstripped his home’s kitchen, Alexander used the kitchen of his brother-in-law’s pizzeria when it was closed to fulfill wholesale and online orders.

Barely able to keep up with the constant demand, she rents a small kitchen space and decides to open to the public one day a week. Between word-of-mouth customers and those who followed Three Girls Vegan Creamery on social media, over 1,000 people showed up on the first day the business opened to the public. “We knew we were on to something,” Alexander said. “There was no turning back.”

After a successful Indiegogo campaign that raised over $38,000, they were able to open Three Girls Vegan Creamery in 2019 as a cafe with an industrial kitchen. Earlier this year, they expanded with Three Girls Downtown.

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The demand for vegan cheese

When Pitts, the youngest daughter of Alexander, decided to move with her husband and infant son to Charleston, she knew she wanted to bring a branch of the family business down south.

“The vegan scene here is lagging, sure, but it’s growing,” Pitts said. She is already taking orders for delivery from Three Girls Vegan Creamery, shipping vegan food from Guilford to Charleston, and is currently looking for commercial space to rent. “It’s only been a few weeks and we already have several regular customers. People keep asking me when we’re going to open a Three Girls here.

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Guerra, Alexander’s eldest daughter, says she, her sister and her mother initially became vegan to support her grandmother, but “now it’s all about animals”. “We are excited to be part of the shift to plant-based eating,” she said. “Even the meat eaters who try our food say they can’t believe how good it tastes and how good it tastes like what they [are used to eating].”

Alexander says her mother got to see the initial success of Three Girls Vegan Creamery and she thinks she’d be proud to see how far she’s come. Sharing their own point of pride, Pitts and Guerra say they have nothing but love, respect and admiration for their mother, who shifted gears mid-career to put her heart and soul to help their grandmother and is now helping others to see how tasty the plant is. food-based can be, while protecting the environment and saving animal lives.

“My sister and I are so proud of her,” Pitts said. “She’s come so far from making cheese to where we are now. She is such an inspiration to us, our children and so many others. I am eager to [our business] is getting bigger and bigger and everyone knows it started with her.

For more inspiring vegan business stories, read:This vegan entrepreneur hopes to put Chick-fil-A out of businessVegan Saved Her Life, Now She’s Living ItThis Oklahoma vegan food truck is revolutionizing comfort food

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