In 2012, Ingle Eats owners Shannon Countryman and Joan Chastain sought out to find a solution for families and working people who wanted hearty dinners even on busy weeknights.
As 225 reports, they started cooking and selling frozen and ready-to-serve homemade meals, desserts, snacks and baked goods to their neighbors, and it took off.
Until 2017, Ingle Eats shared updates on their weekly menus exclusively through email. Countryman and Chastain would send an email to about 10 of their friends that included the meal of the week, how many people it served and the price.
“We wanted people to come to the table, without a styrofoam box, but with a meal that had some preparation at home,” Chastain says. “Food brings people together. It creates a community feeling.”
As word of mouth spread through their church, friends and the Mid City neighborhood, the volume of orders started to increase, Ingle Eats grew from serving just a few to families all over Baton Rouge. They had to hire help to get all the cooking done, and move from email to a website.