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An interview with Weav's Local Partner, Gabe's Gourmet Foods

Posted by Andrea Krejci on
An interview with Weav's Local Partner, Gabe's Gourmet Foods
As the holidays get closer the thought of delicious gourmet food is on our mind! Gabe's Gourmet offers great seasonings, marinades, and rubs that are perfect for the cook in your family this holiday season! Learn more about Gabe's Gourmet in Weav's interview with owner Susan Neilson.

Tell us about Gabe's Gourmet. How did Gabe's start?

Gabe’s Gourmet Foods was launched 54 years ago in Walla Walla, WA, by our amazing and entrepreneurial parents. It was a unique holiday gift idea to make original salad dressing from multiple ingredients. Our parents gathered Chianti wine bottles from local restaurants in Walla Walla, sterilized them, filled them with the already blended salad dressing and sealed the bottle with new wine corks.

The gifts became so popular and in demand that Mom and Dad decided to sell them to friends and at local craft and food show events. They started to bottle the blended salad dressing and marinade into 8- and 16-ounce glass bottles and sell it to customers that way. They used a commercial kitchen to bottle a few times a month depending on the shows and orders they had.

It got to be a lot of work for them in their retirement. They worked spice experts to get the liquid salad dressing and marinade converted to a dry formula that people could make in their own homes and kitchens by adding oil and vinegar of their choice and pure lemon juice.

The Gabe’s Original Dressing; Marinade Spices and Mama’s Mediterranean Spices have been available in the dry spice/mix formula since 1998. The legacy of their creativity and entrepreneurial courage lives on 54 years later here in 2022!

We love that this is a family business! How has Gabe's Gourmet grown and changed since the beginning?

Mom and Dad managed all the sales and marketing by stopping by retail markets and specialty stores and as vendors at craft fairs, bazaars and food shows for several decades. They did not accept credit cards, have a website, or even a cell phone in the beginning. They did have an email address and a carbon copy sales tablet that they used to track their sales and inventory.
When they began mixing and bottling in a commercial kitchen so they could make larger batches, bottle, seal and label the various varieties (there were four different flavors at that time). Then, they would re-box all the supplies for upcoming holiday and craft or fancy/specialty food shows and move it again.

When my sweet mother (Mama) passed away in 2017, we needed to reassess how or if the business could continue. Mom and Dad had always managed the business and shows together. I volunteered to help Dad continue the business, with some significant changes that we hoped would make selling and providing the product to individual customers and retail and wholesale partners easier.

We refreshed the packaging and labeling to accommodate displays and ease of mailing (flatter), introduced UPC codes on the packaging for retailers, created an online eCommerce store, launched social media pages on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube, created recipe cards and a recipe page, began writing a blog and customer newsletter, asked loyal Gabe’s

Gourmet Fanatics to write reviews and recommendations for our products and developed a custom point of purchase display, custom aprons for events and produced event booth materials, so that all the branding and marketing was consistent. We produced instructional videos on how to blend the spices as a salad dressing and marinade in a blender, food processor or smoothie appliance.

We also reached out to media and personalities to feature our spice business on

podcasts, in magazine articles and other media features. We added empty glass salad dressing bottles and spice containers so customers could store their
spices, salad dressing and marinade in branded containers and reuse/refill them. The glass containers have heat resistant and dishwasher safe labels so you can reuse and refill them with more Gabe’s and Mama’s products and always know where to find the products in your refrigerator or spice cabinet.As you can imagine, all of these new elements took several months to accomplish, but we now have a solid set of marketing elements and custom, professional products to offer individual customers who order our products online plus customized elements for our retail and wholesale partners, like Weav Spokane!

What is Gabe's Gourmet's mission?
We create versatile blended spices that are flavorful, bold and delicious to enhance all of your favorite recipes!

What is Gabe's Gourmet's best seller?
The Gabe’s Original Dressing: Marinade Spices has historically been the best seller because it has been around since the beginning of the company in 1968. Although both Gabe’s Original Dressing: Marinade Spices and Mama’s Mediterranean Spices are versatile as a dry spice, salad dressing, meat rub, marinade, dip, sauté base and steaming agent, they are both popular in
different ways. Gabe’s Original is most often used as a salad dressing and marinade. Mama’s Mediterranean is most often used as a meat rub and dry spice. They are equally delicious as a dip, sauté base and steaming agent!

Where can we find delicious recipes using Gabe's products?
The Gabe’s Gourmet Foods website ( has a Recipes page that has step-by-step instructions along with photos and helpful tips featuring dozens of flavorful, bold and delicious recipes.
Many of our retail partners also have a Gabe’s Gourmet Foods point of purchase display that includes our printed recipe cards. Each shipped order includes a not on a recipe card and the Weav Spokane baskets also include a recipe card!

You can find recipes, photos and videos on the Gabe’s Gourmet Foods social media pages too.
Please follow us on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube.

Where can one buy Gabe Gourmet's products?
Our products are available on the Gabe’s Gourmet Foods website and we ship anywhere quickly in the continental U.S. Our products are available at several locations in the Spokane and Coeurd’Alene area including: Weav Spokane, My Fresh Basket, Spruce Your Nest, Simply Northwest, Elz Tastes & Tea Market/Spice, Vine Mercantile in Spokane and The Culinary Stone in Coeur
d’Alene. We are blessed to have 25 retail partners in seven states.You can find all our locations on the Gabe’s Gourmet Foods website under the Retail & Wholesale tab. We are always interested in fabulous niche retail partners so let us know if you have a suggestion!

Are there any new products to look for in the future?

We keep our creative culinary minds in motion considering new products, but we aren’t ready to disclose any details. We are constantly looking for fun and engaging ways to support our retail partners with live cooking events, tasting demos, custom recipe cards and promotions. This summer, a local business requested our spices be a gift at each place setting for their event.
We worked together to print custom labels for the event and provided a recipe card with each spice packet. The business wanted to feature a locally-owned company and product. We were thrilled to partner with the organization and introduce our products to hundreds of new customers!
Another of our retail partners owns a deli and specialty home goods store. We are in the process of creating custom recipes for the deli along with recipe cards for the store and deli customers who purchase our spice products.
It’s delightful and fun to be creative with our retail partners who love our products!
Keep eating boldly, flavorfully and deliciously with more than 50 Years of Gabe’s Gourmet Goodness in every bite. Drizzle. Dip. Sprinkle. Pour. Enjoy!

Find Gabe's Gourmet products in a variety of Weav's locally sourced gifts including:
(208) 818-4133

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