OlyKraut: 10 Years and Counting!
OlyKraut turns ten this year! I kind of can't believe it. My heart is full of gratitude as I look back and reflect on everyone who has helped bring OlyKraut to this milestone. So please humor me for a moment while I take the "stage" and do my best to share with you some of the influential friends, supporters, co-conspirators, and organizations that have shaped OlyKraut into the business it is today.
In 2008, I founded OlyKraut with Summer Bock and Kai Tillman and we all shared a passion for fermented foods. Those early years wouldn't have been possible without each of our unique contributions. While I was diligently creating recipes and systems in the kitchen, Summer was teaching classes and spreading the word about the benefits of fermented foods, and Kai was coming up with recipes for our secret cafes, and getting OlyKraut out there to new venues. Together the magic of OlyKraut was sparked. While my co-founders have moved on to other projects I'm grateful to the Olympia Universe for bringing us together when it mattered.
It must also be acknowledged, that our employees are the real force behind OlyKraut and we wouldn't get much done without them! We have quite the list of brilliant folks who've spent time chopping cabbage or selling at the markets and we've been lucky enough to keep many of them around for several years. I just love our crew and I'm so glad they are all here!
We had a few very helpful individuals along the way, like J Kelly and Shaula Massena and we are very grateful for your much needed support! No business is an island. :) And on that note, we are grateful for all the grants and awards we've won over the years, like our five Good Food Awards, the University of Washington-Foster School of Business Business Plan Competition, Kitsap Bank Edg3 Fund, Eileen Fisher Woman Owned Business Grant, Business Impact Northwest Impact Pitch Competition, and the Rotary club of Olympia's Environmental Protection Award. Every time we are recognized we feel a huge vote of encouragement and reinforcement for the work that we do. We are also proud to be B-Corp Certified and are grateful to that community and the work they do.
Our biggest accomplishment is sticking to the goal of purchasing more local produce every year that we are in business and knowing that that money is going directly into our local organic farms and that is exactly the economy that we want to be a part of and see thrive!
Each of the stores that carries OlyKraut and their employees who help customers find us are critical to our success but none has had as much influence as the Olympia Food Co-op. They were our first grocery customer and continue to be our highest volume stores to date. What would we do with out the co-op? I don't want to find out.
And now I really want to thank my spouse, friends, and family for putting up with me and all the fermented madness that running this business entails. Keith, your patience is a cornerstone of this business' success. Thank you!
Like most thank you speeches, I know I've left way too many people out, but know if you are reading this, OlyKraut is here because of YOU!
Here's to 10 more years of bringing fine fermented foods to the people!
Cabbages and Crocks,