‘It’s Better Freeze Dried’ remodeled and now reopened

PHOTO BY JONATHAN MEYER | Pictured are three family members working at the store on Saturday of the reopening. Each of the family members bring different value and experience to the shop. From left to right, Jacob Ohman, Dawn Withrow, and Alexia Hoffman.

TOLEDO – After months of hard and diligent work, Toledo’s family owned and operated freeze dried shop is back open to the public with more products and goals.

At 128 E. High St. in Toledo, the old State Farm building is now remodeled and reopened as “It’s Better Freeze Dried.” After an initial opening late last spring, additional updates were necessary for the operation to continue flourishing.

Last Friday and Saturday, the business held their grand reopening after a few months of only curbside and online orders available to the public. With additional shelving space added, new products lined the colorful walls during the event.

Jacob Ohman, the son of owners David Ohman and Dawn Withrow-Ohman, recalled all the work the family has put into the store over the last year.

“It’s been a whole bunch of tedious stuff. Getting trim work finished, concrete poured, and the roof redone. We’ve gotten some serious work done,” he said.

PHOTO BY JONATHAN MEYER | Freeze dryers run 24/7 in the Toledo based shop. Pineapple can be seen midway through a cycle inside of one of the shop's many freeze dryers. Jacob Ohman noted many produce items take multiple days to finish the full process of freeze drying.

The roof was completely redone last summer in June while more interior work was done in the recent winter months. New walls were erected, additional display areas created, and of course another freeze dryer being added.

With new updates and additional food safety certifications, more products are available. Branching from the initial run of candy, produce items are prepared and packaged in shop. Freeze dried produce is what the family first started freeze drying in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic due to fears of food shortages. Dawn Withrow enthusiastically outlined their new selection of fruits and vegetables available.

“Right now, we’ve got corn and mixed vegetables. Then we’ve got pineapple, blueberries, mango, bananas, apples, and strawberries. We’re also planning to do cinnamon sugar apples. We’ve been trying to pull people in with our new items,” she said.

Along with new freeze dried items, the shop has taken efforts in being a one stop shop for customers. Gift wrapping is available for those who wish to gift the crunchy treats to others.

“If someone wants their items gift wrapped, we’ve got it. We have different colored bags, different color gift tissue, boxes, tags, ribbons,” Withrow said. “We have it all.”

PHOTO BY JONATHAN MEYER | Peeps are one of the many seasonal items available at It’s Better Freeze Dried in Toledo.

Fitting in on the theme of “having it all,” seasonal products are available in store. With Easter being around the corner, the popular yet controversial holiday marshmallow treat “Peeps” are for sale after being put through a cycle in one of the businesses four freeze dryers. Custom Easter baskets are also for sale in the store.

The fun of freeze dried foods does not just stop within the walls of the small Toledo shop. Efforts are being made to give everyone the opportunity to try the unique spin on many popular treats. The family is working on getting their products inside of the Toledo Fareway location, with aspirations of eventually being available in each and every one of Fareway’s 131 stores.

Additionally, the family is in talks with the nearby Wieting Theater to sell their products during movie showings. As early as this summer, theater goers could be enjoying freeze dried products inside the theater.

The Withrow-Ohman family encourages any curious community to come try their products in store, still embracing a “try before you buy policy.” Free samples are an integral part of the business.

Come try some treats for yourself Monday to Thursday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Online orders are available at https://www.itsbetterfreezedried.com/