WASHINGTON, Ill. (WMBD) – A business in Washington is overcoming challenges to make mealtime easy across central Illinois.

“I like to be in the kitchen cooking. It’s my favorite part of the house,” said Laurie Hacker, the store manager of Prep, Freeze, Cook.

The meal prep business is working to take away the stress of finding what to eat by making it for customers. The pre-cooked, frozen meals just have to be thawed and cooked and can be picked up or delivered.

“So many people don’t like to cook, so they eat out a lot. But they want home-cooked meals, but they’re just like, ‘Nah-uh. I hate cooking. I’m not good at it,’ or whatnot,” said Hacker. “So we provide that home-cooked meal for them without them having to go through all that the struggles to do it.”

“I love the fact that we’re able to help people, whether it’s just an individual or an elderly couple or a whole family that just—to have a good homecooked meal.”

Laurie Hacker

While Prep, Freeze, Cook isn’t new to Washington, it is new to the specific location on Washington Road. In February, the business moved across town. The change came after a devastating pandemic blow: COVID-19 played a role in the store’s three other locations in Bloomington, Pekin and Peoria closing their doors. 

“We ended up having to shut down the stores because it just, we just weren’t keeping busy enough in the stores to keep them open,” Hacker said.

But she calls the new location beneficial with a more streamlined process. It also serves as a way for her to connect with customers. 

“When when you bake and when you cook, it’s all about the love that goes into it and that’s part of what makes it all taste so great.”

Prep, Freeze, Cook is located at 1320 Washington Rd. in Washington.