Local business turns Greek roots into recipes
Esther Koukios grew up cooking Greek cuisine. In 2009, Koukios and a couple friends decided to take their passion and share it with local businesses, friends and family by catering fresh homemade Greek dishes, soon to be known as Greek to Go. Four years later, Esther took over the business herself with big plans and a little help from Michigan State University’s Product Center.
In 2015, Koukios attended the Product Center’s annual Making It in Michigan conference where she sought help to create a nutrition label for her signature line of baklava.
“With the Product Center’s help I was able to expand my customer base by sharing exactly what ingredients go into every pan I make,” Koukios said. “Not only did they offer a solution that was practical and convenient, it also enhanced the quality of my product.”
Now, Greek to Go offers fresh or frozen products available for pick up or delivery. But, it’s Koukios’s traditional spanakopita, tiropita, and baklava cheesecake that keep her loyal customers coming back week after week.
Made in Grand Rapids, Greek to Go is sold in grocery stores in Kalamazoo, Grand Rapids, and Holland and can be found in select restaurants and farmer’s markets, as well as offers a full catering menu. As her business expands, Koukios envisions a storefront offering take and bake dishes.
“The MSU Product Center also assisted me in recreating the package for my baklava to ensure the highest quality in its delivery to the stores and my customers,” Koukios said.
To those considering opening their own business, Koukios advises, “Have a passionate love of what you do, ensure that your idea is unique enough to sell or make an impact and then your love of your product will carry you through the beginning stages of business plans, hiccups, stress and chaotic times. Love what you do - then start small and go!”
Greek to Go has become a successful, local business due to the hard work and passion that goes into Koukios’s cooking, as well as the support from Michigan State’s Product Center. Learn more about the services offered by the MSU Product Center at its annual Making It in Michigan Conference and Trade Show November 16 at the Lansing Center. This year’s key note panel will be led by Mike Busley owner of Grand Traverse Pie Company.