On Wednesday of this past week, I was honored to be a part of Food Speaks, a radio series on KZSC 88.1 FM that explores the food movement and food systems in the Santa Cruz region. Our specific topic was maintaining integrity in a small food business. (Check out their website and get excited www.foodspeaks.org. ) I wanted to share with you all who didn’t get a chance to tune in, what we talked about. It really IS an important topic, so read on if you have the time–
I had never been on the radio and I have to admit I was a bit nervous, but once the interview started rolling, I was pleasantly surprised at how easy it was to answer the questions and I was reminded how passionate I am about our small business and our path we have been on to get to where we are today. I am proud to share the following with you and feel that you too, should be proud when you support us, because it is the folks who keep coming in for their coffee and pastry and sourdough that are just as much part of this business model as we are!
While our business has changed in the past 8 years, we are still fueled and inspired by the same aspects of our business today as we were 8 years ago.
For example, I’ve always loved being a part of a small neighborhood community, seeing the same faces walk in the door or knowing a customers order as they ride up to the farmers market on their bike. There is something special about serving someone that feels so good! Donating and being a part of community projects is something that Companion and myself personally can get really caught up in as well! It’s exciting to be part of a big picture and that’s how we see the Bakeshop, a part of a larger vision of good in our community.
Another way that I feel we are holding strong to our “small business” values is by maintaining a happy healthy team of employees. Who we hire and how we treat our family of employees has, from day one been an important part of our business. We have had tremendous opportunity to meet and work with some really wonderful and talented people here at Companion. From paying fair wages, to having team meetings and holiday dinners, we really try to create lasting healthy relationships with our co-workers. Whether it is 4-5 employees like the early days or 22 like today, this will always be our goal.
Perhaps one of the more detailed parts of upholding our integrity as a small food business is our commitment to sourcing and using local organic ingredients. This has always and will always be an important part of our production as a full time bakery and retail outlet. We strive to go the extra mile and feel that it’s important to be transparent in making sure our customers know what they are buying and what ingredients are going into it. You will always be able to walk into Companion and see an El Salchichero ham & cheese croissant made with organic butter, sourdough starter and unbleached organic flour. You can find a Local Loaf on market days that is baked with local organic flour grown and milled on Coke Farm. You can also ALWAYS order a cappuccino made with ORGANIC Clover milk…WHEW, that is impressive, right? Combine THAT with skilled and thrilled bakers and baristas, and guaranteed, you will be stoked!
It so great to share this with you! It amazes me that it is STILL unique, even in the midst of the “artisan” food movement, to find a business that has the offerings and not just the buzzwords on their websites, signs and chalkboards.
I really am proud to say that we CAN commit to sourcing, honesty and community and employee integrity! This is what the extra mile looks like.
NOW, I know we are a young business and we still have plenty to work on, but this is our foundation that will never change. Jeremy (my husband) and I always said, if we CAN’T commit to this particular standard than, for us this business is not a sustainable model.
As the holiday season rolls around, challenge yourself, family members & friends to make conscious decisions on where to purchase and buy your food and gifts. As a consumer, we have a power that can impact our community in a fantastic way. Supporting local small business will allow those of us who choose the extra mile, to continue to succeed. Instead of sinking your dollars into large corporate modeled companies, INVEST your dollars into “YOUR” community minded businesses! Your extra dollar goes a long way!
I was hoping this wouldn’t be long, but it is a bit lengthy. For those of you who made it this far in our blog post, THANK YOU for reading! I hope it inspired you and empowers you to make good decisions in the coming holiday and New Year!
Bye for now,