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Acton's Freeze-Dried Sensation, 70 Below Treats, Marks Milestones with Grand Expansion Celebration

70 Below Treats is having its Grand Opening on Saturday to celebrate its recent expansion. The business, itself, is an amazing entrepreneurial success story. Owner Courtney Stanley started out humbly with a weekly booth at the Acton Farmer's Market three years ago selling freeze-dried fruits and desserts. At the time she was working out of a commercial kitchen in her basement with one freezer and had no idea how timely her commercial enterprise was going to be.

When Stanley opened her storefront operation in 2021 she added candy to her product line. “That was when the freeze-dried craze was just catching on. When we opened on 9 Mill Street East we had four freezer driers. We're up to twelve freezers now and we're shipping all across Canada,” said Stanley.

“It's blown up all across Canada. We have hundreds of accounts now from coast to coast. We're selling to wholesalers who are selling our product to other retailers. Our biggest market right now is Quebec, which has just discovered the craze. We have thousands of bags a week going out to Quebec.”

The freeze-drying process is fascinating in itself and takes anywhere from 12-72 hours. Stanley's scientific freezers are about the size of a hotel mini-bar. The candy and fruit is subjected to intense flash-freezing combined with a vacuum pump which pulls the moisture out of the product. According to Stanley, this allows freeze-dried foods to retain 97% of their nutritional values and can last up to 25 years if properly packaged.

70 Below's menu includes a variety of fruit: peaches, strawberries, bananas, blueberries, cherries and apples without any sugar added according to Stanley. The dessert line includes cheesecake, chocolate ice cream and sorbet. The snack repertoire offers freeze-dried Skittles, Cheetos and chocolate bars.

Stanley is an Acton native who attended Acton High School. “I love it here. I started my culinary career at the Acton McDonald's which is actually a good place to get trained. I also attended Niagara College,” she said.

“Originally, when I started my business in 2018, I thought it would be a way for me to stay home with my two young kids. I thought it would be a good little side gig and I'd be a stay-at-home mom. But then it just kept growing and I continued to grow along with it.”

According to Stanley, the Grand Opening on Saturday is a way to celebrate certain milestones including five years as a business, three years as an online business, and two years as a storefront, as well as the business' recent expansion into the other half of 9 Mill Street East. The first 50 customers on Saturday will get a bag of freeze-dried candy and there will be prizes and draws throughout the day.


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