Spicing up your daily menus- Molly Bea’s Ingredients offers variety of spices, coffees, teas

Written by Contributor. Posted in Featured, Health & Wellness

Published on November 29, 2017 with No Comments

by Steve Euvino

Molly Bea’s Ingredients is located at 761 Indian Boundary Rd. in Chesterton. Hours are 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays; 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays; and noon to 4:00 p.m. Sundays. The store will be closed Dec. 25-27. To contact the store, call 219-983-9401; email mollybeas@gmail.com; visit the website, www.mollybeas.com; or go to facebook.com/mollybeasingredients.

Looking to spice up your meals? Ready to try some galangal root? How about a little kamut?

Those Middle Eastern food products may not be commonplace in everyone’s kitchen, but they can be found at Molly Bea’s Ingredients in Chesterton, along with hundreds of spices, teas, coffees, and other edible items.

“We offer exceptional quality bulk food, particularly organic of kosher, which is a very high standard,” said Bette-Jeane Heaney-Arbor, who with husband Gerry Arbor has owned the business for six years. “We offer everything you can use in your pantry that does not require refrigeration.”

That includes more than 100 spices, 20 different whole bean coffees, more than 35 whole leaf teas, very healthy grains, rice, flours (including 13 different gluten-free flours), beans, lentils, pastas, seeds, snack mixes, nuts, and 35 types of dried fruit. For those with a sweet tooth, the shop offers jellybeans, wrapped candy, and a selection of licorice.

“We have more than 500 items in the store,” said Heaney-Arbor, who worked for the previous owner, Eileen Heisler, who promoted “everything for home economists” in her business.

Heisler and her husband Marc also gave the business its name. Molly is Heisler’s mother, while Bea was Marc’s mother.

Heaney-Arbor, who has a culinary degree from Johnson & Wales University is Charleston, S.C. and did a baking apprenticeship in Colonial Williamsburg, Va., also managed several restaurants. In addition to walk-in business, Molly Bea’s is a supplier to restaurants, caterers, and some small, private schools.

Individual clientele come not only from Northwest Indiana but also Michigan, Illinois, Ohio, Texas, and Alaska. The Alaskan customer brings a special suitcase for Molly Bea’s when visiting on vacation; otherwise, Heaney-Arbor ships items to the customer.

“Our reputation is that we have a lot of things that are difficult to find,” said Heaney-Arbor. “We try to find things for people when they can’t find them.”

The store’s clientele is the 35-60 age group, Heaney-Arbor said, “but we’re getting a lot of young people, too. A lot of people are looking for spices, especially unusual ones. We also carry a lot of healthy grains and the basic ingredients for a pantry.”

Heaney-Arbor, who moved her business to a different spot in the strip mall off Indiana Boundary Road, prides herself on offering unique pantry items. For basic pantry needs, she added, customers can go to grocery stores.

The move to a smaller location opened up floor space that was not being utilized without sacrificing any products.

“We did not lose anything significant that people really cared about,” Heaney-Arbor said.

Providing high-quality, healthy foods may seem boring, but Molly Bea’s likes to “encourage people to eat with some adventure,” its owner said.

The store also offers recipes, as the staff can suggest different items for serving. Working with customers, Molly Bea’s learns what they like or already buying and offers suggestions, such as adding grains or spices to a favorite recipe. For meat eaters, other proteins are available; for vegetarians, there are many options, Heaney-Arbor said.

“We’re allowing people to be more adventurous with what they try,” she said.

These cooking adventures can take customers around the globe, with spices from the Middle East, Mongolia, India, China, and much of Asia.

Heaney-Arbor wants to expand her spice section, as well as adding more teas, including whole leaf teas, which have strong antioxidants and anti-aging properties. These antioxidants also guard against disease.

Heaney-Arbor also wants to offer more high-quality flour, which has additional health benefits.

“We want to branch out with unusual spices in smaller quantities,” she said, pointing to the quality of her goods and customer service. ‘My endeavor is to educate people

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