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Honoree Guest Post: Who is Gillian from Gillian's Foods?

Posted by Allison Chase on October 04, 2016

This post was written by Gillian’s Foods, a 2016 Small Business of the Year honoree. Hear more from Gillian’s Foods at Nailed It: A Conversation with Successful Business leaders this Thursday, October 6.

When entrepreneurs are creating concepts and brands, the majority of the time, there are underlying questions: What is the driving factor? Why are they are doing it? Does it exist yet? Will it fit in the demographics? Is it a popular trend? The answer to these questions are all valid and proven reasons to start a company, but none of these reasons are why Bob and Susan Otolo started Gillian’s Foods over 20 years ago. Bob and Susan created Gillian’s Foods to keep their daughter, Gillian, alive, and ultimately to do the same for thousands more.

When Gillian Sideri was diagnosed with Celiac Disease at Boston’s Children’s Hospital, it became her father Bob’s obligation to cook food for his daughter that her body would accept and to create food options that would help her feel like a normal child. For the last 20 years, this family-owned and operated business has provide a this life-changing service to our valued customers. Gillian’s Foods will always remember how and where we started. We frequently donate our services, products, and facility to Boston Children’s Hospital. Gillian’s even started the Boston Children's Celiac Support Group, which has now grown to over 400 families.

Gillian’s Foods has grown into a national brand with a portfolio of over 30 different gluten-free items. Even though we have grown and expanded, we have not changed our philosophy of high-quality, made-from-scratch, gluten-free manufacturing. As awareness spreads about Celiac disease, Gillian’s will be there to provide an easy, safe, trusted solution to a life-changing disease.

This post is a part of a series of posts written by the 2016 Small Business of the Year honorees. Stay tuned for more insights from our honorees leading up to Thursday's event.