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Friendship Goes Gluten-Free

Good food makes people happy. This simple statement has transformed the lives of Trisha Johnson and Shan O’Polka.

They met at work more than 30 years ago and instantly bonded over their love of food. For Trisha, it’s the delight she takes in feeding people — the pure joy that only a good meal can inspire. For Shan, it’s simply her passion for cooking. Together, they dreamed of opening a bakery.

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Wise Girl

In 2019, Shan decided to retire. Trisha was still working but quickly but soon found her industry reeling from the COVID-19 pandemic. After a lot of research and planning, this daring duo decided to go for it. They would open their bakery, creating gluten free treats that taste amazing and make a living while doing it. Thus, the Down-A$$-Bakers (DABs for short) were born.

The name started with Shan’s daughters. The group was sitting around a firepit in Austin, one night, when Shan’s daughters said, “You guys are our ride or die, our down-ass-bitches.”

Shan and Trisha knew immediately that was the perfect moniker for their shared passion.

The DABs like to have fun but are serious about changing the perception of gluten-free baked goods. When Shan’s daughter, Brittney, was diagnosed with celiac disease 15 years ago, the quest for gluten-free products quickly turned into a mission to out-do what was already available.

Gluten-free pastries have earned a reputation for being dry and tasteless. But Shan and Trisha knew they could do better. After years of treating friends and family to their sweet inventions at holiday gatherings, they decided it was time to share their creations with the world.

The Down-A$$-Bakers made their farmer’s market debut on June 27, 2020, and felt right at home. Those very first customers knew what many others soon would: These ladies had the goods. The gluten-free goods, to be exact.

Of all their offerings, Trisha says her favorite is the Cinnamon Praline Mini Bundt, and for good reason. It’s decadent and rich but balanced with a gracious portion of cinnamon. Shan’s pick is one of their savory options, the Chive and Cheddar Scone.

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Lemon Blueberry Muffins

But it was the Lemon Blueberry Muffin they said they’d present to the judges on Shark Tank. Packed with fresh fruit and a mix of sweet and tangy, it’s their best-seller.

During a time when many established businesses are struggling to stay afloat, the DABs are defying the odds. While they’re eager to grow, the two agree that, for now, they’re enjoying the ride.

Quirky and irreverent, Shan and Trisha are both full of passion as they do what they love. It’s happy work for a friendship that continues to grow.

To taste these savory gluten-free treats, visit the DABs website or check them out at the Glade Parks Farmers Market in Euless.


Kerri Smith

Laid off at the height of Covid, Kerri Smith detoured from the traditional career path in search of a life fully lived. Whether traveling solo or with friends, Kerri enjoys traveling best when the most is made of every experience. Good, bad, or otherwise, her motto is “…but would it make a good story?”

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