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Dave Olson, Published October 10 2013

New Moorhead business, Just Grains, offers gluten-free baked goods and flour

MOORHEAD – Just Grains, one of Moorhead’s newest stores, could be the first of many gluten-free bakeries to pop up under that brand name.

Jesse Kennedy owns Just Grains and Matthew Mehl, an owner of Mehl’s Flour Co. in West Fargo, supplies Just Grains with the baked goods that grace its display cases, and the bags of baking flour that line the store’s shelves.

Kennedy said business has been good since Just Grains opened in September. He credits the store’s popularity to its product line and the high visibility it enjoys at the corner of Main Avenue and Fourth Street.

Mehl said public demand for the store’s gluten-free goods is no fluke.

“What we bring to the table and what a lot of companies are seeking is, we have a product that is made of the very highest quality ingredients and we’ve come up with a solution your whole family can eat, not just the one member who has to eat gluten free,” Mehl said.

“That is a niche,” he said, “because a lot of companies are looking for that and they’re only catering to the one person in a family of five that is celiac, or gluten intolerant.”

What sets the flour apart from other gluten-free products is its taste and texture, which is achieved in a blending process the company keeps under its hat, Mehl said.

“It’s a trade secret,” he said.

Just Grains and Mehl’s Flour Co. may be separate businesses now, but their close collaboration could soon become something more. The companies are talking about a merger.

Combining the two operations would allow Mehl’s Flour to be sold in more grocery stores – it’s now in about 28 retail outlets – and it would likely mean more Just Grain stores, Kennedy and Mehl say.

“Jesse is an expert at retailing and marketing, and we’re very dedicated to keeping our products very high quality. So it’s very symbiotic,” Mehl said.

A merger would also help make their gluten-free products more affordable, Kennedy said.

“People are accustomed to paying a lot of money for that part of their life and we want to give them a high-quality product for not a lot of money,” he said.

“We can drive the price down and the volume up to serve our clients better,” Mehl said.

What: A new Moorhead business called Just Grains offers gluten-free baked goods and flour

Where: 23 4th St. S., Moorhead

Phone: (218) 477-1786

Hours: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., Mondays through Saturdays; 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sundays.

Readers can reach Forum reporter

Dave Olson at (701) 241-5555