Hungry for success

Ed Swanson and Tastee Bites LLC forged ahead in the face of disappointment

Posted on Jun 29, 2018 :: Small Business Spotlight
Kat Boogaard
Posted by , Insight on Business Staff Writer

Many businesses get their start the same way: by chance. Tastee Bites LLC of Marinette is no different.

After a failed attempt to make homemade pizza for his three children, Ed Swanson took the leftover dough, stuffed it with a variety of toppings to suit his kids’ unique tastes and put it in the oven. The result was a hit with his children, who lovingly coined their dad’s creations “tastee bites.”

Swanson took his idea and launched Tastee Bites, which produces Ready Eddy’s Sandwiches, a convenient, microwaveable sandwich packed with high-quality ingredients, including whole eggs, Hormel sausage, BelGioioso cheese and milk from Lamers Dairy.

With a presence in more than 250 locations across Wisconsin, things are going well for Swanson, but that wasn’t always the case. He’s faced several roadblocks during the past decade, including two times when he shut down the business. Swanson admits he’s had lows, such as dealing with an investor who was unable to hold up his end of the bargain.

Swanson credits his experience as a U.S. Marine in the Gulf War for his ability to keep moving forward. After surviving a military operation expected to have an 80 percent casualty rate, he walked away with a new lease on life.

“I approach things differently now in that I realize even if the business shuts down, it’s not the end of the world,” Swanson says. “The idea is to pick up your pack and try to go up that hill again.”

Now, there’s plenty for Swanson to look forward to. Tastee Bites is a Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business, and Swanson finds a current project to be most rewarding: working to get his product approved for the chow halls and commissaries on military bases.

“I’m passionate about that because that would make me feel good — being able to feed the troops what I believe to be a quality product, especially when it’s made up of all Wisconsin ingredients,” he says.