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Vendor: The Simple Soyman
Location: Milwaukee, WI
Food Miles: 5 miles
R Jay and I were friends who volunteered at Outpost Natural Foods Coop in the early 80’s, working together on community meals and making large quantities of food. We created Tofu Sloppy Joe for the coop’s food booth at a local festival and it was a huge hit, with the leftovers quickly selling out over the next week. We realized that there was a need for ready to eat vegetarian foods and decided to start a food business to sell our creation.
In 1983 we began The Simple Soyman. Our first product was Saucy Jo, the tofu joe from the festival. Joined by my mom, Margaret Cassel, we rented kitchen space from Milwaukee’s tofu company, The Magic Bean, and cooked several days a month.
In 1984, R Jay and I married. As we left the church, we were showered with soybeans by our friends and families. The Simple Soyman had become a family business.
When The Magic Bean closed, we purchased their equipment and became Milwaukee’s tofu company. The Soyman grew slowly over the next few years, gradually adding new products along the way. In 1993, we purchased Madison’s tofu company, Bountiful Bean Soyfoods and doubled in size overnight. We currently deliver mainly in the Milwaukee and Madison areas, producing 30 food products with the help of the 10 amazing people on our staff.
Anything from The Simple Soyman this week?
We’ve been in business 37 years. Selling locally is still our passion. Nothing makes us happier than hearing from a customer that has opened the door to healthier eating with the help of our products.