Popular pierogy company prepares to open fulfillment center in Unity

In 2001, Terry Smith-Rawecki, her husband Jan, and her mother got together to make about 30 dozen artisanal pierogies to take to the Ligonier Farmer’s Market.

The “Gosia pierogies” sold out that afternoon, and by the end of that summer, they were bringing 90 dozen pierogies to the popular market.

“Everyone loved them so much, they told us we had to come back next year,” Smith-Rawecki said through a longtime friend and performer. Smith-Rawecki and her husband are deaf. “So we eventually built a separate building next to our house, but we couldn’t keep up.”

The Unity couple eventually purchased property along Route 981 and gradually migrated the business to the new location, where they will hold a grand opening at their new distribution center from 4-6 p.m. Wednesday.

Starting with the classic potato and cheese pierogie recipe that Smith-Rawecki says can be traced back to at least her Polish great-grandmother, Gosia has expanded over the years to add toppings such as sauerkraut. , sweet potatoes and even unusual toppings such as prunes.

“People weren’t too fond of those,” she said. “What’s really popular right now is our potato and cheese pierogie with jalapeño peppers.”

The prepackaged trays of pierogie are pre-cooked, already boiled and only need a few fried onions, a little olive oil and butter, she said.

To help with packaging, Gosia recently added a new bespoke machine that automates the process.

“Reiser’s representative spent two weeks working with us, training everyone and helping us get up to speed,” said Jan, who grew up in Wroclaw, Poland, and moved to the United States in the age of 25. .”

From a fun family activity that started in Smith-Rawecki’s kitchen to a full-fledged business, Gosia’s production process is now largely automated – though she was quick to point out that they still peel all their potatoes by hand.

Gosia’s is also a deaf-friendly business. Smith-Rawecki said most of its eight employees are partially or totally deaf.

Smith-Rawecki said the biggest challenge they’ve faced is connecting with large-scale food distributors and getting into regional grocery chains.

“But now that we’ve entered places like Giant Eagle, the food speaks for itself,” she said.

Pierogies de Gosia is at 5803 Route 981 in Unity. The grand opening will take place from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. For more information or to RSVP, visit GosiasPierogies.com.

Patrick Varine is an editor at Tribune-Review. You can contact Patrick at 724-850-2862, [email protected] or via Twitter .

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