VELVA, N.D. - Sold in almost 50 states, Dorothy Henke never imagined what her homemade pretzel recipe would become. Dot's Homestyle Pretzels, the addicting snack with a secret flavoring, have spread to stores across the United States in the seven short years since Henke and her family began selling them.
Pretzels, pretzels, and more pretzels. Four days a week, the plant in Velva is busy with more than 60 workers creating each and every bite coming out of the Dot's Pretzels bags.
“I can't say thank you enough,” Henke said.
Henke opened the building on the corner of 1st Avenue in 2012. They later bought a nearby structure to add more space, because they couldn't keep up with the demand.
“It’s the consumers, they buy it and they send it on to their relatives for Christmas,” Henke said. “Everybody just supports us so much.”
What started as a recipe in her kitchen, and an idea between family members to sell the pretzels, has turned into a tri-state operation, with plants operating in both Arizona and Kansas, selling to stores in almost every state in the country. Henke says she's proud of where they began.
“My husband and I really said Velva, North Dakota a lot at every one of our shows. We wanted to make sure that Velva, North Dakota was highlighted,” she said.
And seven years later, the original product is only the beginning. After introducing a pretzel rub, candy bars with milk, white or dark chocolate are being sold. Henke first worked with Mikey's Country Candy, before buying out that business. Now, they've tweaked the recipe a bit to add in more pretzel pieces.
“It took us a couple months to get it refined and to where we're at, and we still practice a little bit with how could we do this better,” said Plant manager Jeff Berg.
Henke says they've seen the same level of support for the bars as they did for the pretzels. And it's not the end of the new creations. On Tuesday, the new Southwest style pretzels were announced.
“I keep taste testing, I'm not going to say everyday but about every third, fourth day I keep grabbing, making sure, can I do something different,” Henke said.
Henke says they'll be out in test markets this fall, and will launch officially next spring.
There’s a new feature on the company’s website, www.dotspretzels.com, where you can find a map with retailers of the products.