Family business finds sweet success
By VALERIE SWEETEN
Emily Ganim, a Jersey Village resident, goes to work only to be tempted daily with her mother's cooking of brownies, biscotti, scones and muffins.
Ganim, who handles office duties at the business, is part owner of Mallie's Desserts at 2219 Canal St. The business is named after her daughter, Amal Ganim, the first grandchild of the family.
Her brother, Abraham Khawaja, ventured out with baked goods made from their mother's recipes to small restaurants in 2006 after viewing a show about starting your own business.
The response was extremely positive.
The family, including her parents, Luby and George Khawaja, got a license to begin baking from home as the orders grew.
Ganim, a native Houstonian, joined her family by lending a hand with the orders and baking.
I joined in 2007. Our clients loved our homemade appeal. It's an edible art project," said Ganim.
The demand resulted in the need for a bigger location. By 2008, the family opened their bakery on Canal Street.
Some of their products were too unique to pass up.
Customers can choose from 16 varieties of bars such as Natalie's original brownie, cheesecake, peanut butter, strawberry, white chocolate, rocky road and hazelnut.
A few originals are the Oh, My God bar named by a customer, the Lemonicious, and the Lotsa Nuts.
These are scattered among a variety of cookies, cakes, muffins, biscotti and scones.
Ganim credits her mother's love for baking to their success.
Everything has been such a big hit. My mom has always loved to bake and try new dishes. We had to get a bigger place. We spent an entire year looking for a place to build out with equipment," said Ganim.
To date, Mallie's Desserts is serving 60 clients.
Ganim markets products at weekend craft fairs with her father and hosts a Facebook connection to the business.
She recently attended the Jersey Village FFA Arts & Craft fair to greet customers and takes orders from private customers.
These include Salento at 2407 Rice Blvd.; Edloe Street Caf and Deli at 6119 Edloe, and Catalina Coffee at 2201 Washington Ave.
Max Gonzalez, owner of Catalina Coffee, began working with Ganim three months ago.
He said the samples sold him immediately.
They do a phenomenal job. They actually know how to bake scones and muffins. They deliver to me fresh seven days a week every morning.
They're still warm. I want to give my customers the best product out there. Everything they make is great," Gonzalez said.
Sara Prutzman is the speciality coffee bar manager for a Galleria restaurant.
She was most impressed by the superiority of their product.
You could tell they use a lot of high quality ingredients. They have a huge variety and made fresh daily. Everybody loves them. They really watch their product for quality and that's hard to find. These are people that have a passion for their product," said Prutzman.
Ganim was raised on the East side with her two brothers.
In 2000, Ganim graduated from North Shore High School at 13501 Hollypark Drive.
She graduated from the University of St. Thomas at 3800 Montrose in 2004 with a degree in elementary education and began working at River Oaks Elementary at 2008 Kirby.
When her two daughters were born, Ganim became a stay-at-home mother.
The family business changed her life.
I love it. I see my family everyday. My girls are baking with their grandmother. We're all there to lend an extra hand," said Ganim.
The family is in the process of constructing a storefront at their current location.
In her free time, Ganim enjoys spending time with her husband, Nader Ganim, and their daughters with soccer, piano and ballet.
For more information, call 713-962-8813.
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