Maybe you've seen Alicia Danielson serving up her famous Aliciabars at Williams Sonoma, or maybe you're lucky enough to work at one of the Portland-area companies who buy her gourmet oatmeal bars for employee treats. Though she may not sell in stores, her bars are enormously popular - one of Portland's best-kept food secrets - and are available to order via her Facebook page. Here in the kitchen, we live for the days when Alicia has leftovers from a sampling event. Check out her story below!
What was your first job?
I worked for Deering Ice Cream as a waitress - I was in high school. I’ve always been into food! I think knowing that you can always make more when you’re a waitress, it really put a bug in me to work hard. If I only made a set salary every year, I’d be bored.
What motivates you to continue and grow your business?
My passion for making my Aliciabars motivates me, of course, but what really motivates me is when someone samples the bars for the first time and says, wow these are good! And then becomes one of my "followers" who attends my samplings and orders often for themselves and others.
Money motivates me secondarily...I've heard it said,"Follow your passion and the money will follow." My business continues to grow but at my own pace, which I enjoy. This gives me the flexibility to spend some of the business' profits vacationing with my husband in non-busy times as well the ability to visit our grown children at their resident cities. I also still have time to teach water aerobics and volunteer for my church.
Who are some food entrepreneurs that you admire?
I’d say Plucked Fresh Salsa and Cape Whoopies, for sure. And Cousins Lobster, they’re kids from Cape - I just think that they're so cool! They were on Shark Tank. I wouldn’t want to go on that show, though - I’m afraid of those guys.
What’s your go-to weeknight dinner?
I’m Italian, so probably pasta. And fish.
Where do you like to eat in Maine?
We LOVE Solo Italiano! The owner, Angelo, is a friend and he did a great job of recruiting a chef from Genoa, Italy who makes the best pesto and homemade pasta in Portland!