CHEEKTOWAGA, N.Y. — Inside of a commercial kitchen near the Buffalo Niagara International Airport, Rebecca Brady and a handful of employees are cranking out 600 to 700 boxes of seed crackers each day.
It's a far cry from when she first got started a couple of years ago and had a goal of selling one box, maybe two, at a farmers market each day.
Today, Top Seedz can be found at Wegmans, Whole Foods, and several other grocery stores across New York and the Northeast.
Brady started Top Seedz when she moved to Western New York. The native New Zealander spent two decades living in Asia where her husband's job took them. She worked for part of that time but left her job to raise her family. When she moved to the U.S. it was time to find a job, but Brady was having a difficult time finding work that paid the bills and fulfilled her passion.
That's when she decided to try starting her own business.
Brady loves healthy eating and wanted to make a cracker similar to ones she and her children grew up eating. It was important to her that the crackers had just a few, healthy ingredients and were minimally processed.
"I think it's kind of perfect timing. I think everyone now realizes you have to go back to the basics. We don't want to add a lot of ingredients into things that we don't know what they are," said Brady.
Initially Brady rented commercial kitchen space, but she was able to get her own kitchen after she won a $50,000 grant from Ignite Buffalo.
"It felt like a million. I couldn't believe it. That was a big boost in my confidence. Someone really believed in what I was doing. It gave me the confidence to move on."
Brady has five employees, and most are full time. She works with Journey's End to find workers. The organization helps refugees resettle in the Buffalo area.
Brady said her employees are helping to support their families and even using the money they make to continue their education.
"I felt like I got a good start when I moved here. I wanted to help other people get a good start. It's win win. I'm not really helping them. They are helping me," said Brady.