- Associated Press - Sunday, September 20, 2015

FREDERICK, Md. (AP) - Long strands of pasta in a rainbow spectrum of colors hang in the glass display window of the stone storefront on Market Street downtown. A colorful artist’s palette has replaced the glowing, yellow-eyed black cat that once hung from its entrance.

A 14-foot long counter spans the length of the interior, bearing boxes stacked with more than 60 varieties of fresh and dried pasta - porcini mushroom linguine, gluten-free fusilli and a chocolate hazelnut dessert ravioli, to name a few. As its name suggests, The Pasta Palette will offer primarily pasta, but also supply breadsticks, cannolis, gourmet salt and pepper, and candles.

“My goal was to create a shop where people can come in and say, ‘what are we going to buy for dinner,’” said its owner, Terri Winder.

Winder, who has worked as an occupational therapist for the past 30 years, described her new business venture as the transition out of the health field that she’s been looking for. It’s also become her passion over the last year and a half, since Winder and her husband, Mike, spotted the cases of colorful, all-natural pasta on display at the iconic Pike Place Market in Seattle.

“We said, ‘you know, maybe we could sell this here,’” Winder recalled.

The couple has already made a name for themselves in the downtown Frederick business community. They also own Frederick Coffee Company & Cafe, Shab Row Tea Emporium, plus Frederick Fudge & Ice Cream.

Between caffeine, ice cream and now, pasta, the Winders have covered “all the vices,” said Kara Norman, executive director of the Downtown Frederick Partnership.

Temptation aside, Norman said the latest Winder business venture speaks highly of the downtown economic climate, which has ample room for what will now be four different businesses under the same owner.

Unlike their other businesses, though, The Pasta Palette will primarily be Terri Winder’s operation, her “baby.”

“She’s the brains behind the operation,” Mike Winder said.

Combining her business experience with the pasta made by Denver, Colorado-based company Pappardelle’s Pasta, Winder launched the business as a booth at farmers markets last year. A loyal following quickly developed, especially for health-conscious and gluten-free customers, who were attracted to the gluten-free and lower-carbohydrate lines of pasta.

“I feel really good about being able to share such a good product with our consumers,” Winder said.

Unlike commercial pasta, which is dried in a short time with high heat, Papardelle’s uses low heat over a two-to-four-day period to “maintain the integrity of the flavor,” Winder said. And the pastas are made from natural ingredients, not artificial dyes and flavorings.

Squid ink gives one type of linguine its blackish hue, while lavender flavoring imparts purple in another. The most popular flavors, according to Winder, are a garlic, chive pappardelle and a spicy Thai linguine.

Her choice?

“I have so many favorites,” she said, naming an Italian pesto-flavored variety made with sun-dried tomatoes, pesto and spinach as one of her top picks.

The transition from market stand to storefront wasn’t one Winder planned on making for another year. But when the site’s former inhabitant, Ned Bond announced his plans to shut down his business, Da Black Cat, it was an opportunity Winder felt she needed to seize.

“It’s the perfect size and location,” she said of the store.

Since signing a one-year lease at the end of July, she’s worked to transform the space, outside and in, into the home she envisioned for her niche market pasta sales. Doors opened on Sept. 12, though Winder plans to hold a grand opening event this weekend.

Marketing her new venture so far has been limited to word of mouth and a Facebook page, though Winder said she plans to advertise at the couple’s other downtown businesses too.

Pasta products will be sold in bulk by weight, as well as in pre-packaged containers. The Pasta Palette will be open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sundays. More information is available on the business Facebook page.

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Information from: The Frederick (Md.) News-Post, http://www.fredericknewspost.com

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