GOLDEN VALLEY, Minnesota — While some would compare life to a box of chocolates, people are more like mixed nuts. There's variety; some are sweet, some are salty, and all are good in their unique way.
At Isadore Nut Company in Golden Valley, you're walking into an amazing blend.
"We proclaim right on our packaging that we are proudly hiring people of all abilities," said Tasya Rosenfeld Kelen.
The founder of Isadore Nut Company transformed her business a couple years ago, when she moved into the Jewish Housing and Programming's commercial kitchen at Cornerstone Creek.
The rental deal included a request to employ people with disabilities.
"In becoming an inclusive employer is just to be reminded that simple lesson is that we all want to be valued," Rosenfeld Kelen reflected.
When the pandemic hit, Isadore Nut Company stayed open. It became a life preserver when a lot of people were drowning economically.
"We can't ignore the fact that obviously our world is turned upside down. And you know, there was 80% unemployment in the disability community prior to COVID-19. You can only imagine that number is plateaued or gone up," said Rosenfeld Kelen.
Then after George Floyd's death in Minneapolis, Tasya once again made a change.
"I looked within myself as an employer, as a business owner and said, what can I do differently? How can I show, you know, how can I represent my values as a business owner? And I realized that we didn't have, we had one person of color on our staff," explained Rosenfeld Kelen.
Now, Isadora Nut Company's staff is an even greater mix.
"I made that a goal. I wanted to have people of color on my staff and I’m super proud to say that my production manager is an amazing young woman who came here from Liberia when she was four years old. She really admires what she sees in our company run by another woman and she is saving up to be able to afford citizenship," said Rosenfeld Kelen.
Diversity, inclusivity and locally produced snacks; it's a recipe for a healthier and happier community.
"We liked to think of ourselves as a good snack doing good. So the more goodness that we're trying to put out in the community, and build up our community, the more it's coming back to us as well," said Rosenfeld Kelen.
Here are some sweet facts about Isadore Nut Company's products:
They're made up of organic non-GMO cashews, pecans, and walnuts. They also sourced directly from Minnesota farmers. Everything is local, right down to where they get their maple syrup, which is Don's Sugar Shack in Taylor's Falls.
Isadore Nut Company received recognition from The Good Food Foundation and won accolades for its Chai Spice Pecans, Zesty Lemon Rosemary Roast Nut Mix.