We had the good fortune of connecting with Mary Ann Hebrank and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Mary Ann, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
I was raised in a large Italian/Hungarian family where my parents owned and operated an Italian restaurant for over 40 years in Northeast Ohio. I knew at a very young age that food brought people together and that the emotional connection to food was a way I expressed myself to others. I knew our family’s spaghetti sauce was special and I learned how to make it at a very young age. I have always thought our sauce should be available to everyone, I could see the label, my mothers picture, who taught me everything I know in the kitchen and our shared name Mary Ann. When the pandemic hit and we were all home with nothing but time I thought this is it, its now or never. So I collaborated with my son John who has is own media company and he created and brought to life my vision of Mary Ann’s Products LLC. I knew the loyal customers from our former family restaurant would love to be able to purchase our sauce. I also knew that all my friends and connections here in Houston have always raved about it, and for the ones that would be trying our sauce for the first time would be hooked from the first bite.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I have been married for 29 years and devoted my life to our family and our two sons who are now 26 and 22. I have always been into health and fitness which I became a personal trainer to help people become the best they can be. I later realized my passion has always been with cooking and entertaining. I started a Lifestyle blog that incorporated cooking, fashion and a lifestyle over 50. I believe cooks cook to nurture people which as brought me to where I am today, sharing my spaghetti sauce. I call it home in a jar. I believe my brand organically developed from the way I have chosen to live my life.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
First we would start at my favorite grocery store, Central Market where we would find the finest ingredients for their favorite requested meal of mine paired with some nice bottles of wine. Usually my dinner parties end up with the furniture moved and a dance party breaks out. Next would be brunch at one of my favorite patios in Houston at the River Oaks District, Toulouse and listen to some live music and sip rose. Take a drive alone River Oaks Blvd for some of the most beautiful real estate in our city. We could have an evening at the Houston Symphony. Visit one of the many fabulous museums and end the day with dinner reservations at De Marcos for some of the best Italian cuisine in our city. We would have to have one entire day of shopping, some of the best ranked right up there with New York and LA.
A few hours outside of the city we can visit Fredericksburg and check out some local wineries. Head back to Houston and hit the parks for a nice walk along the Bayou.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
It goes without saying, the love and support I receive from my husband and my two sons have given me all the confidence I needed to jump into this project. I was a stay at home mom and after my youngest went off to college I knew there was something more for me to do. It was my time to follow my passion and it naturally took me back into the kitchen. I am self disciplined, a glass half full personality and believe that a smile will change your whole attitude.
My mother, who was first generation Hungarian, was a strong and independent woman. I can remember as a young girl looking at her with such admiration. The way she carried herself with such confidence and the way people would respond to her was inspiring. I learned by watching her in the kitchen. She was a tough teacher with not a lot of accolades but when you did receive one you knew you deserved it. Today I feel I emulate her naturally like we are one. I miss her and I can still hear her voice while I am cooking. I have had many positive signs since starting this venture and I am thrilled to be carrying on my parents legacy.
Facebook: Mary Ann Pace-Hebrank
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