WESTFIELD - It was a slow start, but in November Nowinski Pierogies began production here at its manufacturing plant.
Nowinski Pierogies is a brand produced by Rae Foods, a start-up company by mother-daughter team Beverly Braley and Rachelle McFeely. Nowinski Pierogies makes frozen pierogies for local distributors - food service or retail - the first manufacturing company to do so in Westfield in 40 years. They are also looking into different markets, such as schools and prisons.
In July, they bought a new 15,000-square-foot facility at 75 Bourne St. in Westfield, which they had to completely gut and bring it to the extremely rigorous codes for food manufacturing.
Nowinski Pierogies wasn't having any luck finding a location in its home state of Pennsylvania, and according to McFeely, they knew Westfield was the place.
"When we walked through the door, he (Bill Carlson of Howard Hanna Holt Real Estate) had many people from the Westfield area and the surrounding area to assist us," she said. "... It was just a very welcoming town. The CCIDA was phenomenal, (former Westfield) Mayor David Carr, was beyond incredible and Aaron Resnick of the Westfield Development Corporation has been by our side the entire time."
McFeely said they are going through a process right now of obtaining customers and expanding their production.
"Every day we are going after customers; we have increased our customers," she said. "... Bev and I are committed to making this business a success, we have a phenomenal group of employees that we work with, and they are all from Westfield. We will be successful, but success takes effort, time and commitment, and it doesn't just happen overnight."
Currently there are six flavors, made using all natural ingredients and locally grown potatoes. The No. 1 seller is potato and cheese, but they also carry potato and sauerkraut (kapusta), potato and garlic, potato with cheddar and jalapeno, sauerkraut and cheese.
The opportunity came about to start production of Nowinski Pierogies - a known brand in Buffalo -when Nowinski's owners were ready to retire.
"My mother and I had been in food manufacturing prior. We worked for a family-owned company, and that family-owned company sold to an equity firm," McFeely said. "Her and I did not have the same philosophy or belief as an equity firm does. So, we parted ways and we decided that we had enough knowledge and experience and desire to do it on our own."
McFeely said they wanted to give back to the community and feel that they should follow God's will.
"Whenever one door was closed, He opened a new door for us," she said. "We're meant to do this; to give back to people. It's not about us; it's about helping others."