WINDHAM — A growing Windham company that makes treats allergy sufferers can is branching out in Canada with some state help promoting exports.
The $500 grant may seem small, but the founder and owner of HomeFree expects it could make a big difference in the bottom line.
“We used it to help pay to do a trade show in Canada,” Jill Robbins said.
“I do expect business in western Canada to develop partly because of this activity,” she said.
Robbins launched the company, rebranded as HomeFree four years ago, and becoming a baker, because her own son, Bradley, now 16, had food allergies.
As both a mom and clinical psychologist, Robbins understood the need to feel included when treats are served and wanted to make snacks anyone could share.
“This is about making a healthy snack option everybody can happily eat together,” she said.
The company makes cookies and coffee cake that are free of peanuts, eggs, dairy and gluten, all of which can trigger food allergies.
The cookies, which come in boxes and single-serving packages, come in flavors that include vanilla, chocolate chip and double chocolate chip.
Robbins won’t discuss sales figures for business reasons, but acknowledges the market’s hunger for HomeFree products.
“We’re growing very quickly,” she said. “Our sales are more than doubling this year over last year.”
The company, located on Industrial Drive a couple of minutes from Interstate 93, employs 16 and expects to continue expanding its workforce.
HomeFree occupies a two-story building, with an institutional-size kitchen and offices.
The company takes great care to avoid contamination.
Workers wear hairnets and gloves. Visitors must wear protective jackets and shoes, and are asked to refrain from eating food with peanuts before entering the factory.
“Everyone wants products of good quality that taste good,” Robbins said.