A Pinch of Happiness

A Pinch of Happiness

4 minute read:

There I am, wandering aimlessly through the grocery store as I try to look like I know what I’m doing. I’ve got the idea stuck in my head of wanting to spice up dinner plans for the evening and add my own unique touch to the meal. So, what do I do? Pick out random herbs and spices of course! There’s just so many cool options to choose from that can add the winning touch to my special meal!

Don’t kid yourself, we’ve all tried to do it before, and we end up failing every time. The end result consists of being told by our friends, family, or special someone that we put way too much of whatever we added. Well hey, at least we tried to stay away from the Hamburger Helper, right? Lucky for us all, there’s actually a place we can go where they can guide us through proper herbs and spices to add to tonight’s dinner, and I promise you the extra trip won’t be a waste of time.

Rebecca has brought us the one and only A Pinch of Happiness, located in Downtown Oswego. If I’m being honest, A Pinch of Happiness was never Rebecca’s lifelong dream. In fact, owning a spice shop was the last thing on her mind. Her main focus in life has been her non-profit organization Celebrate Differences, which helps people with disabilities. Lucky for her and the rest of us, she decided to add more focus on job skill training. Right around the same time, she got word of someone selling a spice shop, so she learned everything she could about spices, put in a offer, and brought the all new Pinch of Happiness into our world.

It truly amazes me to see all that she does to help people, and it’s nice to hear how much her passion for herbs and spices has grown since opening her business. You’re not going to find anything in this shop that you’d find in the local grocery store. Everything here is fresh, and in its true form. There’s no additives or fillers to take away from the rich taste of what she offers, so your purchase will actually last a long time. Maybe this is a good time to give fair warning for all those heavy dosers out there; you really want to stay away from adding too much of anything to your next meal if you’re buying from A Pinch of Happiness. There’s a reason for the Pinch in this places name.

There’s many reasons I feel like this place is worth sharing. The experience here is truly one of a kind. There’s so few options for spice specific shops in the Chicagoland area, and the team here is full of so much love for their customers. A big contributor to their loyal customers is definitely their mission to help people with disabilities. Every purchase you make goes toward helping someone else gain experience working with others. This isn’t a customer experience that you can compare to something like those painting classes, or wine tasting. Along with their service comes so many different smells and flavors, and the options you have to choose from are unique to this shop specifically.

They’ve succeeded at bringing a business to the consumer where each of us can know who our go-to employee is. This is because they continue to work with the customer each time, further developing a strong relationship. Rebecca has spoken with some of her loyal customers, some of which come from as far as Tinley Park. One of the most consistent answers for why they keep coming back is because of her mission to help others. They feel like if they’re going to buy spices anyway, why not purchase from a business that gives back to others. The attention that’s brought to her employees regarding customer service is incredibly strong. The employees here are constantly trained to be ready for any customer that walks through the door. You’ll always get a warm welcome and be advised to ask any questions you might have. And let’s be honest, not many of us know much of anything when it comes to spices, so it’s nice to know asking a bunch of questions won’t get annoying.

If you’re like me, you might walk into this place acting you know a thing or two about spices. Then you’re going to start reading the names and realize you can’t fake it. This might be a good time to test out a couple of their most popular options. One of their most popular customer choices is a pepper blend they call Happy Pepper. It’s a mix of black pepper, garlic, onion, and green pepper, and it goes good with a lot of different things you might be looking to cook up. Then for those of you who adore a little extra warmth in your life, try some of their cinnamon. I for one thought that all cinnamon was the same, but I was wrong. I won’t attempt to explain the difference in Rebecca’s cinnamon versus the cinnamon you buy in stores because she’s the expert, not me. But be ready to smell and taste a tremendous difference. The cinnamon from here will be the only kind you want moving forward.

A lot of businesses seem to have a goal of helping people in need, which is always great. But I also feel as though many of those businesses lose sight of delivering a quality product as well. For someone who never had the dream of opening a spice shop, it’s that much more amazing that she’s been able to accomplish giving disabled people the opportunity to work with others, while also delivering a selection of the highest quality products to her customers. Next time you’re looking to make something special for dinner, or even something simple, swing by A Pinch of Happiness. Let the team know what you want to make and they’ll help make your meal taste like one of a kind.

- Albin Hub