One of the most common questions Tiffany Shultz says she hears at work is, "this is really vegan?"
Shultz owns Dutch's, a 100% vegan bakery located in the Pawcatuck section of Stonington. She specializes in vegan junk food: burgers, breakfast sandwiches, cupcakes, ice cream, cookies. All of the items are made without any animal products.
She launched her business in 2018 and opened her first location in the middle of the pandemic, last July. Working alongside her son, Jake, she says they have one goal: "to show people that vegan food is delicious and amazing and you can do pretty much anything vegan."
Shultz said she transitioned to a vegan diet after her son began experiencing serious health issues. She learned that a plant-based diet could help.
That was just the start for Shultz. She then learned how eating vegan could positively impact the planet and animals. The business slogan for Dutch's is "we're ethically delicious."
When Shultz opened Dutch's, one of her hopes was to attract non-vegans and show them that eating vegan food doesn't have to be for one specific type of person.
In addition to making vegan food more inviting, Shultz, a woman of color, said she has learned that representation in vegan spaces is important.
“The face of this vegan thing. Only recently have I started discovering instagrams and social media and vegans that look like me," said Shultz. "Anyone can be vegan. It doesn’t matter.”
Shultz hopes that when people go to Dutch's and see her posts on social media, plant-based eating becomes even more accessible to all communities.
"We are trying to be a place where people feel comfortable coming in, asking questions," said Shultz. "Something they can do and it is manageable for them. That’s what we are trying to show people. It is still cookies and cupcakes and burgers.”