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Meet Jaimi Morgan of Fixin’ To Eat in NW Valley

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jaimi Morgan.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Jaimi. So, let’s start at the beginning, and we can move on from there.
Back in 2003, when my children were very young, myself and fellow members of our local Moms Club would travel down to the Southeast Valley to a freezer meal kitchen. It was a brand new concept to the commercial market, and we loved the convenience of it. Having a freezer full of ready to thaw-and-cook dinner type meals was one less thing we had to worry about while being stay-at-home moms.

One night, while having dinner with our best friends, I mentioned the concept and said that I wanted to open a location here in the Northwest Valley and was going to research the option of opening a franchise location. The husband of the couple had a background as a chef and as management in the Food and Beverage Industry. By the end of the evening, an agreement had been made that the four of us would open up an independent location in the area. With his expertise and with his wife and I both able to work at the store, it was a perfect combination.

In six-months time, we opened the doors of Let’s Do Dinner in Glendale, AZ. Business was booming, and although the work was exhausting, we loved the energy and the vibe. Were we selling food? Yes, big deal. What made it so incredibly rewarding was the appreciation from our customers. Moms that we’re exhausted, moms that hated to cook, newly divorced or widowed dads that needed the help. It wasn’t long before the “meal-prep kitchen” concept caught on like wildfire and several competitors popped up all within a 5-mile radius. Luckily, we had an extremely loyal customer base, and even after trying out other locations, our customers would come back to us. Eventually, almost all of the other locations closed down but only just in time for the “financial crash” to begin in late 2007. For a variety of reasons, we decided to sell the business. We were all exhausted and anxious to have more time at home with our growing kids.

Let’s Do dinner was sold in early 2008 and remained in business for several years. The new owner faced some unexpected health challenges and was unable to keep the store open.

After bouncing around a few different consulting jobs, I decided to return to school and because certified and licensed in Occupational Therapy. I had the wonderfully fulfilling job of working with both pediatrics and geriatrics who needed therapy in order to best perform their normal daily activities.

However, I never lost my passion for the meal-prep concept and continued to consistently do my own freezer meal-prep at home. I constantly entertained the idea of still promoting it in some way. Could I write a book, could I do this out of my home, could I take all of our knowledge and resources and help others open their own meal-prep kitchen? The obsession for the concept never left me.

In Summer of 2018, while talking about the business once again, my husband suggested that I “go for it” since our kids were older. One was preparing to leave for the Navy, and the other was in high school and very active in football. In typical fashion, I ran with it. Within six months, our website was underway, we signed a lease for our storefront, and all equipment had been purchased. Fixin’ To Eat opened in January of this year.

I feel extremely blessed as so many prior customers from over ten years ago, have found out about my new place, and are now visiting me there. I guess once a meal-prep junkie… always a meal-prep junkie (I know I am).

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall, and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
In not one single way has this been a smooth experience. If I outlined all of the barriers that presented themselves before we even opened our doors, we’d need to take a nap and come back to reading later. Personally, at the end of last year (while trying to prepare to open in January), we had nearly $15k in necessary and immediate expenses relating to our family. In addition, two weeks prior to Christmas, my husband was laid-off from his position. I had left my position and was 100% full-time on opening the business. So there we were…no income at all, commitments, leases and equipment orders that are already underway, several family ordeals that were taxing us emotionally and financially, and Christmas right around the corner.

The single biggest obstacle that I dealt with was the website. I’ll spare the details, but essentially the company we hired did not come through as promised and they took our initial deposit of $5000, and we had nothing to show for it. After speaking with multiple web developers, I finally gave up and was forced to design my own website. In regards to the business, this has been the most challenging (but yet, rewarding) dilemma. I’m not saying I can build someone else a WordPress site, but I’m pretty surprised that I was able to get my site to the point that it’s at and I have many more things I want to do to improve it.

Fixin’ To Eat – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
I hope that what customers get from Fixin’ To Eat is service, customization, and high-quality food.

Customers can make adjustments if they are assembling their own order. For orders that we assemble for pick-up or delivery, I am always eager to fulfill special requests such as low/no salt, reduced fat, gluten-free, keto, omitting certain ingredients, etc. Additionally, unlike other services, we have no memberships or minimums.

We use all-natural proteins (grass-fed if I can snag them), fresh herbs and citrus, etc. I refuse to lower my standards. I am not just an owner. I am an operator and my own customer. My family eats from Fixin’ To Eat almost daily, and I have enough knowledge to offer my customers high-quality ingredients at an affordable price-point.

I guess I want my customers to know that I genuinely care about their experience with Fixin’ To Eat.

Is there something we can do as a city to improve the outlook for businesses like yours?
Peoria is a great place to own a business. It is relatively safe and has tremendous diversity in income levels and ages. Chances are you can find your target market and demographics somewhere within Peoria. As is true with all new businesses, jumping through the hoops of building permits, fire permits, food permits, etc. can be tedious and less than seamless, but that process is short-lived (although it feels like a lifetime).

Pricing:

  • Price per serving ranges from $4 (Chicken) to $7 (Wild-Caught Salmon)
  • Free to assemble your own order
  • Free for us to assemble your order for you to pick-up
  • $10 for us to deliver your order to your door

Contact Info:

Getting in touch: VoyagePhoenix is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition, please let us know here.

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