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Our Story

The story of PARTNERS, A Tasteful Choice Company, is one of family, the pioneering spirit and do-it-yourself creativity. It's a story that begins not with the company's founding in 1992, but in the childhood home of PARTNERS founder and president, Marian Harris. That's where Marian first displayed the can-do attitude that would eventually pave the way for PARTNERS.

For instance, one day at the age of eight Marian wanted some cake, and when there was none to be found in the house, she baked one herself. The result was so perfect, her mother asked Marian where she got the money to buy a cake.

As a young adult in the early 1970s, Marian was working as a bookkeeper in downtown Seattle. When she was unable to find a casual restaurant serving good, high quality, affordable food for lunch in the business district, she opened just such a restaurant herself, while also taking on the baking and cooking duties. In no time, her first-of-its-kind bakery and deli was winning rave reviews and a large loyal following.

While running that restaurant, Marian couldn't find just the right crackers to provide the perfect accompaniment to her homemade soups and salads, so -- see where this is going? – she developed her own recipe and started making crackers herself. Those first crackers proved so popular, people were taking them home by the bagful, and, in fact, the crackers live on today as PARTNERS Toasted Sesame Flatbread Crackers.

Eventually, Marian sold her successful downtown Seattle bakery and deli, as well a second successful Seattle-area restaurant, and as she pondered her next move, there was just something that kept driving her back to crackers. After all, there still was no one selling high quality artisan crackers commercially.

So in the fall of 1992, Marian sorted a batch of her crackers into eight different bags and in a single day visited eight local stores with those samples. She returned home to find orders waiting from seven of the stores, and PARTNERS, A Tasteful Choice Company, was born. (Marian called the business PARTNERS because the crackers were a perfect "partner" for any food, "from peanut butter to pâté.")

Realizing she would be crackers to make a go of the cracker business alone, she enlisted her son Greg to pitch in. Greg had a degree in physics and was working for the family contracting business, but he offered to help out for a couple of weeks between builds. That was in 1992. Greg remains with the company.

In those early days, the two worked countless hours in Marian's kitchen at home, filling and refilling orders. They visited trade shows, added new customers, moved into a commercial cooking space and, in the spring of 1993, brought on four employees. Still, by summer of '93, they were over their heads in crackers and again turned to a family member for help.

Daughter Cara had just graduated from law school, passed the Washington state bar and looked forward to embarking on a career in the legal arts. Instead, she committed to helping Marian and Greg in the culinary arts for three years. That was in 1993. Cara remains with the company.

Over time, each family member settled into roles naturally suited for their individual backgrounds: Marian, the lifelong baker and cook, conducts all research and development. Cara, the trained lawyer with the gift of gab, heads up sales and marketing. And Greg, the physicist, directs operations. To this day, the three collectively run the company in a truly collaborative fashion.

The company now employs some 85 people in a 50,000 square foot eco-friendly facility outside of Seattle. PARTNERS offers six different tasteful choice brands and more than 35 varieties of crackers, cookies and granola, including organic and low-fat options. PARTNERS' award-winning products are sold in all 50 states and around the world. Through it all, Marian, Cara and Greg have remained committed to sourcing wholesome, high quality ingredients, and when they can't find just exactly what they want, they make it themselves.

That's still the way the cracker crumbles.
Partners Original Crackers
Marian and Greg
Cara and Marian
Marian, Greg, and Cara