When Lee-Anne Neufeld started Celebrate, Gluten Free in 2011, there were limited treat options for celiacs. There were even less options when Neufeld found out that she was celiac in 1992.
“There was a relief when I found out because I had been sick off and on for most of my childhood and adult life, but they never seemed to know the reason behind it,” says Neufeld. “And then I got sick enough that they were able to dig deep enough to find out the problem. This is the story of a lot of celiacs where nobody seems to know the reason until they figure it out a very long time later. It’s not an easy process sometimes.”
She grew up in British Columbia’s lower mainland, where she says there was one store an hour and a half away that had some gluten-free goods, “they were not very edible.”
She started Celebrate, Gluten Free so that celiacs could have more options that taste comparable to what everybody else eats. She started selling her home baked gluten-free cupcakes at the St. Albert Farmers’ Market, slowly expanding to sell more items at more markets, including the Downtown Farmers’ Market.
In 2015, Lee-Anne opened the Celebrate, Gluten Free storefront on Stony Plain Road.
“It was just one of those things where people would say, ‘Where am I going to get this in the winter?.’ And, of course, we did go to City Market downtown for the winter but I guess that wasn’t enough for all the people who were requesting, and then it just got to the point where I couldn’t make it any more at home either.”
Celebrate, Gluten Free sells a variety of treats like muffins, scones, cookies, doughnuts and cupcakes. You can buy loaves of bread and buns, and order whole cakes. If you prefer to make your own goods then you can pick up all purpose flour mix, brownie mix, pancake mix and egg replacer.
Lee-Anne says the pretzels and cinnamon buns are top-sellers. “Lots of things are favourites, and everybody has their own favourite, but those we do make a lot of,” she says.