Peanut brittle turns into growing enterprise, located in Mineola

By Phil Major
publisher@wood.cm
Posted 5/12/22

Yes, there is a Grandma Cleda, and yes, she makes peanut brittle.

And not just any peanut brittle, a recipe she spent over two years perfecting so that it’s light, crunchy and doesn’t …

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Peanut brittle turns into growing enterprise, located in Mineola

Posted

Yes, there is a Grandma Cleda, and yes, she makes peanut brittle.

And not just any peanut brittle, a recipe she spent over two years perfecting so that it’s light, crunchy and doesn’t stick to your teeth.

Grandma Cleda’s has opened its store front in the heart of downtown Mineola and will celebrate with a grand opening Friday and Saturday, which will include the chance to meet Grandma, and the rest of the team.

Her son, Brent Strehlow, learned the recipe from Cleda Strehlow, well-known around the area from her husband, Louis’s many years pastoring area churches.

The rest of the family has made its way to East Texas and invested in the community to transform the former Broad Street Mall into a welcoming respite.

It began with trying out the recipe at Trade Days in Canton in November 2019. As word spread, sales improved, and by December 2020 they marked the $20,000 level of sales monthly. That’s a lot of brittle.

From there they tested their wares at the Dallas market center, where they again achieved popularity with one of their top sales techniques – free samples.

Strehlow, who has been a successful entrepreneur in the leadership development business, learned about better ways to market their product and added online shopping to the mix, as well as expanding to other events, such as festivals (they were set up at Mineola’s May Fiesta Saturday).

Looking for a permanent home, he was attracted to the size of the spot at 118 E. Broad for its 3,300-square feet – enough for a commercial kitchen, space to handle the online order business in the back and plenty of comfortable seating in the front for the peanut and pecan brittles as well as other products from cookies to ice cream and drinks. Light lunch also might be in the future, Brent said.

For now he is concentrating on building the brand that is based on his Mom’s legacy of sharing and helping others.

A mural that graces the east wall of the dining area demonstrates the three qualities that support that story: Learning, laughter and love (family).

There is a large window looking into the kitchen, which will serve as a demonstration room for groups, such as students.

Strehlow plans other avenues to give back to the community, which he says has been welcoming and helpful.

Tips received will go into a scholarship fund for local students. And the jobs provided by the business will include a mix of teens and adults, with the teens receiving competitive wages