ITHACA, N.Y. — When Emmy’s Organics started in 2009, the two owners were making macaroons in a family member’s kitchen and selling them at local farmers markets.

They now sell to distributors across the country.

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Co-founders Ian Gaffney and Samantha Abrams credit their growth to constantly changing their business to be more efficient and to providing an excellent product.

For instance, in the early years, Gaffney was blowing away other employees by scooping 800 macaroons an hour.

“I got carpal tunnel from it,” he said. “My mom got really worried.”

She found him and Abrams a machine to shape the macaroons for them that’s still used in their small production factory at 629 W. Buffalo St.

The successful evolution of Emmy’s Organics shows in numbers:

— The company has grown its revenue 40 to 50 percent per year.

— In the past month alone, it has seen 125 percent growth.

— It employes 10 people, including General Manager David Brown, who the couple says has been integral in helping grow their business.

— The company has also picked up some international business in Canada, the United Kingdom and, as of about two months ago, Mexico. They have not started marketing oversees and were independently contacted by these distributors.

— Over the next month, Emmy’s Organics is expanding and will be sold in 75 Wegmans stores. They’re currently sold in 10.

“A bunch of things just came through all at once, “Abrams said, adding that she and Gaffney sometimes work nights and weekends to keep up with the demand for their product.

Their innovation in business coincides with the couple’s commitment to making healthy products at a certified B Corporation, meaning they’re committed to making a difference to their community, employees and through their products.

“It’s more than just turning a profit. We actually care about what we do,” Abrams said.

See related: Entrepreneurs: Ithaca area ‘just so ripe’ for growth of food industry

Gaffney said his own autoimmune deficiency and allergen to foods makes him particularly dedicated to the products they make.

“My heart is really in it for those who are looking for…things that don’t taste like crap and aren’t filled with crap,” he said.

“It’s more than just turning a profit”

About a year ago, Emmy’s Organics launched cereal products — meaning they had to start two production lines, create new packaging, add new ingredients to their inventory and market an entirely new product.

They said it was a learning curve for them.

“We really have to pace ourselves when it comes to that,” Abrams said.

But it hasn’t stopped the two of them from dreaming up new products.

Gaffney said if money and logistics were not an issue, he’d want the company to produce chocolate covered macaroons in two-packs or a natural energy bar.

Abrams said she’d want to find a way to distribute a cashew-based cheesecake, like the ones they used to make when they were still selling their product in farms markets.

She said people still ask her about those cheesecakes once in a while.


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Jolene Almendarez

Jolene Almendarez is Managing Editor at The Ithaca Voice. She can be reached at jalmendarez@ithacavoice.com; you can learn more about her at the links in the top right of this box.