Gluten-free grocery gives shoppers options - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Gluten-free grocery gives shoppers options

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SCHOFIELD (WAOW) - A new grocery store is attracting shoppers looking to eat gluten-free.

Hidden Sources opened three weeks ago in Schofield.

According to the store owner, at least a few dozen people visit there each day. According to the University of Chicago, almost 3 million people in the US have a sensitivity to it.

Tracie Rajek is eager to show off the products in her new store.

"We have a pocket sandwich," she said. "We have eggrolls. We have pizzas. We have shelf stable breads. The most popular bread that we have now is a frozen bread."

What sets the store apart, she says, is that it's impossible for shoppers to find anything with gluten.

"Five or six years ago, I found out I had to eat gluten-free. My sister, myself and now actually one of my kids have to also. It was really hard to find food. It got really frustrating because I wanted to be able to have the same choices that other people had in big towns, but there just wasn't anything out here," Rajek said.

Gluten is a protein found in wheat and grains that can cause stomach discomfort and even joint pain.

"There's hardly a patient that's not touched some way with somebody that has some kind of gluten sensitivity or some kind of digestive problem," said Dr. Scott Bautch, a Wausau nutritionist.

Customers at Hidden Sources say going to regular supermarkets can be stressful. So now, they're rushing to this new store.

"We live about 45 miles away," said Rhonda Hapke of Mattoon. "Wausau's one of the only places that carries gluten-free type foods."

Rajek says her store has only been open about 3 weeks, but she likes the direction Hidden Sources is heading.

"It's been increasingly busy each day with steady customers. There's a lot of happy people walking in the door and even happier customers walking out," said Rajek.

She says it's common for customers to hug her, and it's the greatest feeling in the world to be able to help people who need it.
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