((Left) Colleen Park, owner and baker of Tastefully Bend (Right) Tastefully Bend’s Pumpkin Spice biscotti | Photos Courtesy of Colleen Park)
Colleen Park, owner and baker of Tastefully Bend, launched her handcrafted soft biscotti company here in January 2021 because she says she believes Bend has an ideal blend of everything she wants as a home base. “I moved back home to Oregon, and felt Bend had all the elements I needed to thrive,” she says.
Having grown up in Portland and raised skiing on Mt. Hood, part of a thriving lifestyle for Park involves access to a local ski mountain, she says. “Bend offers an unparalleled outdoor enthusiasts’ lifestyle, and for me, it’s skiing, skiing and more skiing!” She also has family here, and says she feels like Central Oregon is a place where she can spend the next 30 years living a full and rewarding life. “A few years ago, I returned home after living out of state, and then left my technology job in January. People looked at me cross-eyed that I would start a new company during a pandemic,” she says with a laugh. “But people always love treats. And I thought, if not now, when?”
Since that time, Park says creating and starting her business here — even during a pandemic — has been an “amazing” experience. “From our vendors to our lovely clients, we continue to thrive and have been able to expand our product reach throughout Oregon. Sure, we’ve been challenged with hiring more folks to help us create our product, just like other small businesses across our country, but we are successful regardless of this challenge.” She adds, “I simply don’t dwell on the negative, but enhance the positive of what we do have, and continue to work on expanding as best we can with the current employment conditions.”
Park got her start making biscotti years ago when a friend had obtained a recipe from someone else and gave it to her. “But I think they changed it before they gave it to me,” she explains. “I loved it, but it wasn’t quite right, so I spent two days perfecting the recipe, making batch after batch until I got it right.” This first biscotti that Park mastered was her Cinnamon Sugar & Pecan flavor. “Over the years, I made it, and people always told me I should sell it.” She adds, “The biscotti market has not changed in many, many years. But we have created a soft biscotti that is like no other!”
Park’s biscotti is soft, yet she says it holds up well when dipped in a favorite beverage. “Kids love it too. They love dipping the Cinnamon Sugar & Pecan biscotti in milk or hot chocolate, or crushing it up and sprinkling it over ice cream.” Adults can also have fun dipping the biscotti in their morning coffee, or in champagne or whiskey, she says. “Traditional hard biscotti lovers are delighted with the new experience of a soft, yet flavorful, biscotti.”
Tastefully Bend currently has two employees, and Park says she hopes to have six by April or May of 2022. “We hope to expand and hire more people in 2022 as our business development and sales expand outside of Oregon,” she says. To help grow the business, Park is adding e-commerce to her website, and expanding her distribution channel to other vertical markets outside of Oregon, including airports, lodges, hotels and grocers. “Currently, our client base includes both the Redmond and Eugene airports, many lodges and hotels throughout Bend, various grocers and our favorite, local Bendites who continue to purchase our products,” she says. For the holidays, Tastefully Bend is releasing two new products: Hazelnut & Chocolate with Toffee Bits and Peppermint Crunch.
The inherent nature of the supportive business community here in Bend has helped her company succeed, Park says, adding that she enjoys bringing sweet treats to a variety of people — locals and tourists alike. “I actually had a traveling nurse from Montana email me saying she stayed at a local hotel, LOGE Camps, and purchased a package of the Cinnamon Sugar & Pecan in the hotel’s marketplace area. She asked me if she could order a dozen for Christmas gifts. Wow! That warmed my heart to know she wants to share something special — and yummy — from Bend, where so many other wonderful items are created. I felt like my personal manta of ‘thriving’ was truly manifesting and giving others joy.”
In an effort to give back to this place she now calls home, Park volunteers at Mt. Bachelor. “Thriving here in Bend means more than just earning a living to support myself; it means giving back to my community, and I do that by volunteering as a National Ski Patroller up at Mt Bachelor,” she says. “You can find me giving out all sorts of swag to help encourage safety on the mountain while our guests continue to have an outstanding experience on our beloved Bachy.”
Tastefully Bend biscotti is available at Oliver Lemon’s in Sisters, the Redmond and Eugene airports, Market of Choice and the General Store 1326 in Bend, plus many other locations in Bend. For more information, please call 541-797-9691 or visit the website.