About Us

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Established in 2010, Midwest Pantry has worked with over 350 local food and gift producing companies to increase sales through educational, wholesale, and retail opportunities. Founded by local food producers, Zoie Glass and Chad Gillard, Midwest Pantry Helps Midwestern-based food and gift entrepreneurs grow their companies from start-up through the point of scale-up by providing education, experience, and mentorship with a series of local public retail and private wholesale events. Most notably, the semiannual Local Food & Gift Trade Show which attracts hundreds of wholesale buyers from across the region. Midwest Panty was a recipient of the 2015 EUREKA! Award for Innovation.

Take a glimpse at what our events look & feel like…

Zoie Glass is unapologetically in love with Minnesota and food.  Her company Midwest Pantry was founded out of this love and was picked as one of the most 25 innovative companies in Minnesota for its work to putting a gold star on the state’s high quality, locally produced food.

Zoie’s experience of starting and growing her own local food company, Lucille’s Kitchen Garden , to a regional brand revealed to her all the unnecessary and potentially catastrophic gaps that are on the road from startup to scale.

Contemplated over many hours of fishing, Zoie’s background in finance, education, and her own experiences came together to begin the conversations with her business partner Chad Gillard that led to the creation of Midwest Pantry. The pair founded Midwest Pantry to create a bridge for food entrepreneurs to become more sophisticated and profitable. They do this through their annual education series in conjunction with MN Cup and hosted by Carlson School of Management, the twice yearly wholesale Local Food & Gift Trade Show, and their wildly popular public retail events like the Local Food Poster Show and Shop Small Holiday Market. The great news is that this model to share power is working! Midwest Pantry have doubled attendance at each Tradeshow and have helped multiple startups double their wholesale sales.

Zoie has received many awards including a Best Foods in America by Cooking Light Magazine, and the 1985 3rd Grade Jump Roping Competition at Dent Elementary. She credits much of her success to her entrepreneurial family who encouraged her idea to start her first business at age seven selling frogs to the local bait shop. She and her family are proud Saint Paul residents and can be found most midwinter weekends ice fishing on a lake somewhere.

Chad Gillard is a relentless optimist. His company, Midwest Pantry, was picked as one of the 25 most innovative companies in Minnesota for its work finding and putting gold stars on the state’s high quality, locally produced food.

Whether working with global companies in his work as a business analyst for GoKart Labs, organizing fundraisers for his kids’ athletic leagues or working with over 300 local food producers through his company Midwest Pantry, Chad’s energetic approach to creative problem solving is contagious.

Chad brings to Midwest Pantry his background in project management, lean thinking and engineering. He has worked in multiple countries; including Ireland, Italy and Thailand, giving him a global perspective on the power of a strong, thriving, local economy.

As a confirmed food lover, Chad has owned several small food companies and seen first hand the barriers that keep great food startups from scaling. He is a firm believer that knowledge is power and that we all do better when we share that power. With this founding belief, Chad and his business partner Zoie Glass founded Midwest Pantry to create a bridge for food entrepreneurs to become more sophisticated and profitable. They do this through their annual education series in conjunction with MN Cup and hosted by Carlson School of Management, the twice yearly wholesale Local Food & Gift Trade Show, and their wildly popular public retail events like the Local Food Poster Show and Shop Small Holiday Market. The great news is that this model to share power is working! Midwest Pantry have doubled attendance at each Tradeshow and have helped multiple startups double their wholesale sales.

Chad lives with his family in Saint Anthony Village, MN. He is an enthusiastic member of the Irish community, a proud father of three and perhaps most importantly, a phenomenal bocce ball player.