- Associated Press - Saturday, July 23, 2016

VELVA, N.D. (AP) - A Pride of Dakota product, Dot’s Homestyle Pretzels, was an idea that actually began in Arizona, where Dot Henke and her husband, Randy, spend the winters. Before Henke began making pretzels, she was in finances and helped her husband farm.

Relatives of Randy’s, who now are Henke’s business partners at her sister facility in Goodyear, Arizona, were the first to suggest that Henke go beyond making the pretzels just for her own family. “Well, her being a sales person in Arizona, she wanted to give a North Dakota product to her customers,” said Henke. “They raved about them.” They encouraged her to bag them to give as Christmas gifts. That went over so well that Henke began selling the pretzels at concessions at flag football games. “When we came back to North Dakota we started the process,” she said in regard to packaging her new snack.

The Minot Daily News (https://bit.ly/2aj8dha ) reports that the Henkes, who live between Max and Benedict, looked at several communities before deciding on Velva because of the availability of a building that suits their needs. “Our kids went to school in Velva for one thing,” said Henke in regard to what helped them settle on Velva for their headquarters. “Velva had open arms for us. They wanted to see someone grow in their town.”

What makes Dot’s unique compared to other pretzels, according to Henke, is their unique flavor. “They’re seasoned with special oils and seasonings,” she said.

While traditional pretzels are the norm, Henke buys twisted stick pretzels that meet her specifications to absorb the flavoring. “We mix them for 10 minutes so they get thoroughly absorbed with the seasonings,” she said. The slow baking that takes place after the mixing helps lock in the unparalleled flavor.

Henke produces 4,000 pounds of Dot’s Homestyle Pretzels daily, a far cry from the two pounds she would make at a time initially. “We keep growing as we see the need,” she said.

Her pretzels are sold in about 26 states through retail distribution along with the continental U.S. via online sales. Internationally, military members can provide their APO address to ship overseas. “Servicemen do it quite regularly,” said Henke.

The product is available in convenience stores, groceries and other retailers in numerous cities throughout the state. “Everywhere in North Dakota,” said Henke.

Henke said she feels good that her company is helping the economy by generating additional business for local retailers and adding to employment. Her 15 part and full-time employees take home bags of the pretzels, proof she said of the quality of her product. “I still don’t get tired of them,” said Henke.

She hopes to put her pretzels in retailers in all 50 states within the next five years. “I never dreamt that it would go like it has. It’s really amazing to me,” said Henke.

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Information from: Minot Daily News, https://www.minotdailynews.com

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