Dot’s Pretzels have become a staple snack, not only in the company’s home state but nationwide.
The Velva plant is still its home base, but Dot’s Pretzels has expanded in many ways since 2012.
Dot’s Pretzels all started as a snack Dorothy Henke made for family and friends, then she made them for a relative in Arizona who handed them out to colleagues as Christmas presents.
With raving reviews from them, Dot went to flag football games and stood next to a hot dog stand where the pretzels were once again so well-received that she took the next steps to start commercially.
Years later, the pretzels are sold in – as far as she knows – 48 states.
Seven years ago, Dot was working 80 hours a week and had just two employees.
Today, the home plant in Velva has 66 employees and the two other plants in Arizona and Kansas are home to more than 200 employees.
“Could you have ever imagined that this is what it would turn into?”
“If you ask my husband, he would say yes,” Henke replied. “Me? No. I really didn’t think so.”
The secret-seasoning that makes the pretzels so good isn’t the only thing that makes Dot’s so original and quick to crave. The process behind it all is one of a kind and one of the many steps is a job that a lot of us wouldn’t hate to have.
“Before they get mixed, we’re tasting them,” plant manager, Jeff Berg, explained. “After they get mixed with our seasonings and that, we taste them. They go into the oven, we taste them. They get cooled, we taste them, and before they get packaged, we taste them once again to make sure that every pretzel going in is the pretzel we want our customers to try.”
The rest of the process remains a secret, as Dot’s have become so popular that copy cats have tried to dupe the savory snack.
“You have to have competition also to make sure that you’re doing the very best you can,” Henke said. “Because you’re going to keep striving for that. I think we strive for that because we want to be that number one product.”
Dot’s are in a lot of small-town stores, but also in major retailers like Ace Hardware, Menards, and soon Kroger will be its biggest.
You can also find them in Target, but mostly in the midwest, because one of Dot’s biggest priorities is to stay close to home without making a promise that’s just too big to deliver.
“People may want us, but we have to grow to what our supply is, so as the demand that we hear, we keep growing and we’ll keep doing that, but we’ll do it in our style.”
The Velva plant is the smallest of the three, covering a six state area from Wisconsin to Montana, but it will always be home to the perfect party snack, and perhaps the company’s most loyal customers.
“The customer is what made us and got us where we are today,” said Henke.
Plus, there’s more! A new flavor will be hitting the shelves soon. Keep your eyes open for Southwest Style coming soon to a store near you.