Busi­ness aims to bring fam­i­lies to­gether at the din­ner ta­ble

Souderton Independent - - FRONT PAGE - By Amanda Pic­cir­illi

Space is be­com­ing too small, busi­ness is boom­ing and shelves con­tin­u­ously need to be re­stocked. Not a bad prob­lem for a lo­cal busi­ness that has only been open for 15 months.

Over the last year, Mar­velous Mealz in Telford has been warm­ing the hearts and bel­lies of the lo­cal community as their frozen meal busi­ness is bring­ing fam­i­lies to­gether at the din­ner ta­ble, some­thing owner Lori Lea­man feels has been miss­ing in some house­holds.

“Be­ing able to come to us takes a lot of pres­sure off of fam­i­lies,” said Lea­man. “Par­ents come home from work, have to take the kids to soc­cer prac­tice, come home and then make din­ner. But at that time they’re too tired and just want to grab take out. Luck­ily for us, you can still eat a nu­tri­tious and healthy meal that won’t take much of your time to pre­pare.”

Throughout this last year, hun­dreds have walked into the Mar­velous Mealz shop lo­cated at the Telford Train Sta­tion, 131 Penn Ave., Telford. Lea­man’s busi­ness part­ner, Julie Lan­des, who joined in April of 2012, said she be­lieves num­bers have been so good be- cause of the va­ri­ety of clien­tele and foods.

“Our foods hit with a wide range of peo­ple — the empty nesters, work­ing class, sin­gles, on-the-go fam­i­lies, picky eaters — you name it, we’ve seen it,” said Lan­des.

Both Lea­man and Lan­des pre­pare Mar­velous Mealz items, which are hand­made with fresh and healthy in­gre­di­ents, ev­ery day, of­fer­ing meals that are por­tion sized any­where for two to eight peo­ple.

As you walk into Mar­velous Mealz head­quar­ters, large cool­ers stash away the frozen meals, which range from ice cream sand­wiches, french toast, chicken tetrazz­ini to veg­gie burg­ers. A more spe­cial­ized menu is bro­ken into sec­tions, which in­clude beef, chicken, pasta and bread, soups, break­fast, fruits and veg­eta­bles, desserts and oth­ers.

More than 50 items are of­fered and op­tions are of­ten ro­tated, fiWWLnJ Ln ZLWK ERWK WKH FDOHnGDU and food sea­sons. Prices range any­where from $3 to $15 de­pend­ing on the meal.

As sum­mer is in its peak, Lea­man and Lan­des have no­ticed the Asian chicken and black bean veg­gie burg­ers be­come fa­vorites. Both go well on the grill.

The duo has also no­ticed an in­crease in sales over the last few months as cus­tomers have been telling them these dishes will be packed away and eaten while on va­ca­tion with their fam­ily.

A crowd fa­vorite year round is Mar­velous Mealz’s chicken parme­san — a hand-sliced chicken cut­let coated with sea­soned bread crumbs and then pan fried, ac­cord­ing to Lan­des.

“In the win­ter peo­ple re­ally like our soups and we have our com­fort foods like our chicken pot pies,” said Lea­man.

For both Lea­man and Lan­des, com­fort foods have al­ways been a part of their lives, both learn­ing to cook when they were young girls.

Lea­man used to watch and help her mother cook when she was grow­ing up. Mar­velous Mealz be­came a re­al­ity af­ter cook­ing, pre­par­ing and sell­ing frozen meals out of her home to friends. Af­ter re­ceiv­ing high in­ter­est, she de­cided to start a busi­ness.

“I’m not much of a risk taker, not in the slight­est,” said LeaPDn. “BuW , IHOW FRn­fiGHnW DERuW open­ing up a shop and it all has worked out.”

When Lan­des was grow­ing up, her mom re­quired all of the chil- dren to cook one meal a week. 7KLV ZRuOG EH EHnH­fiFLDO WR KHU in the fu­ture.

“I used to al­ways make basil chicken and my fam­ily al­ways said they liked it,” said Lan­des. “To this day I re­ally don’t know if they en­joyed it that much or they were just mak­ing me feel bet­ter about my­self, but ei­ther way they got it al­most ev­ery week.”

As Mar­velous Mealz con­tin­ues to take over hun­dreds of re­frig­er­a­tors and freez­ers, Lea­man and Lan­des have lots of pos­si­bil­i­ties they hope to bring into their busi­ness over the years to come.

“WH GHfinLWHOy ZDnW WR Hx­pand,” said Le­man. “Other than that we have some new and fresh ideas like start­ing more ve­g­anand veg­e­tar­ian-friendly dishes, while also pro­duc­ing some that are gluten free and us­ing soy prod­ucts.”

Whether the menu will in­crease or not, Mar­velous Mealz stands by its say­ing, “Bring­ing back home cook­ing one freezer meal at a time.”

To learn more about Mar­velous Mealz and to see its menu, visit mar­velous­mealz.com.

Photo for the In­de­pen­dent GE­OFF PATTON

Lori Lea­man, left, and Julie Lan­des at Mar­velous Meals in Telford.

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