Lake Leelanau, Michigan
In 1997, sisters Sarah Landry Ryder and Christen Landry, created Kejara’s Bridge, a community-centered coffee house/restaurant featuring vegan, vegetarian, and specialty foods. Although the Landry sisters were in only their 20’s when Kejara’s Bridge began, the restaurant quickly became a local success!
In 2010, Christen and Sarah decided to close Kejara’s Bridge and concentrate on the company’s burgeoning line of specialty goods including packaged hummus, granola, and other foods branded “The Redheads” after Sarah and her sister. They closed Kejara’s Bridge and focused on their wholesale accounts which included local and large regional grocers such as Whole Foods, Krogers, and Hillers. Christen has since opted out of day-to-day operations, but assists as-needed. Landry Ryder is now the owner and president of The Redheads.
In 2012, Landry Ryder needed about $20,000 to purchase more food preparation equipment to meet growing demands of her wholesale business. In addition, she was ready to re-open a restaurant offering breakfast foods. The restaurant would be called The Redheads Café & Tasting Room and would housed in the same building as the former Kejara’s Bridge building. Several people in her community suggested Northern Initiatives as a potential funding source and when Landry Ryder met with a loan officer, the fit was obvious. Funding was approved in June 2012.
Today, The Redheads Café & Tasting Room is located on M-204 on a busy thoroughfare in the heart of Leelanau County’s tourist and wine region. The establishment attracts those familiar with The Redheads product line and builds a new audience of seasonal residences through a growing number of grocery stores (Whole foods, Meijer, Krokers, Hillers) and through the Redheads website. With the capital infusion from Northern Initiatives, Landry Ryder has increased her wholesale accounts to 170 stores, expanded her line of specialty foods, and brought back the full Kejara’s Bridge menu to the Redheads Café. Now that’s a delicious achievement.
Redheads Cafe and Tasting Room Impacts