BY BRITTNEY HENTON
The smell of sweet and spice wafted through the shop Tuesday as Janet Lund readied the goodies in her gluten-free bakery.
Bootin Gluten Bakery and Market is poised for its soft opening at 11 a.m. today. The shop is located where Hillbilly Meat Shop used to be at 2409 B Georgetown Road.
For now, the hours will be 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays and Wednesdays and 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Fridays.
Lund said everything was being baked Tuesday so it would be nice and fresh for today’s opening.
“I think people have been anticipating this for a long time,” Lund said. “Usually two to four people stop here each day and try to get in.”
Lund has been experiencing setbacks to opening her shop, a business venture she decided to pursue about two years ago.
In the past few months the Danville resident has had to overcome plumbing and roofing issues and just Tuesday was dealing with some oven malfunctions. But rain or shine, she is moving forward.
“One way or another I’m opening tomorrow,” she said Tuesday with a laugh.
The baked treats Lund plans to offer today include pound cakes, acorn muffins, bread, fruit Danishes and cookies.
“Everything in the shop is gluten-free, and a lot of it is free of other major allergens.”
While Lund does not have any gluten intolerance herself, she has family and friends who experience adverse reactions to gluten. And she has become acquainted with dozens of others who cannot eat gluten either.
Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye and barley, according to the University of Chicago Celiac Disease Center. Those who cannot eat gluten usually either have Celiac disease or some other sort of gluten-intolerance.
When gluten enters the body of someone with Celiac disease, the person’s immune system responds by attacking the small intestine which consequently prevents the body from absorbing essential nutrients. This response by the body can lead to a host of other problems, including osteoporosis, infertility, neurological conditions and sometimes cancer.
Having an aunt with intestinal issues and seeing the need locally pushed Lund to pursue her gluten-free one-stop shop.
“I realized there’s not much available at all in Danville,” Lund said a few months ago. “Not even fresh-baked stuff or bakeries in Champaign.”
Lund said the shelves in her market are pretty well stocked. She has a variety of gluten-free offerings, including mixes, frozen foods and canned foods. Her shelves are full of pastas, dessert mixes — brownies, cake, cookies — entrée dishes, rice mixes, breads, English muffins, grains and more.
While she hopes to appeal to those with certain dietary restrictions, she hopes to draw in the general public as well.
“As long as people like what I have, they won’t care that it’s gluten-free,” Lund said.
Lund said she has made it a point to bake things that can deliver on both flavor and texture better than many gluten-free products do. She has done research and since created her own gluten-free recipes or converted recipes from non-gluten-free foods.
As a result, she said her goods will be priced at both ends of the spectrum. She will offer treats with both inexpensive and also more costly ingredients.
For now, Lund has not scheduled a date for her big grand opening.
Anxious to open, Lund has had to put a few details on the back burner. That said, if patrons do stop inside her health-conscious store today, ironically they may not be able to get the nutritional information for her fresh-baked treats … “but they’ll be able to get the goodies.”