We had the good fortune of connecting with Michelle & John Davidson and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Michelle & John, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
Moderate calculated risk taking is a practice in our life that drives John and myself, not only in our career, but also in our personal life. Living on the east coast, traveling internationally, and working for prestigious organizations have helped shape who we are today and how we tackle life with adversity, risk taking and a positive attitude to enjoy what we have, work-hard, and play-hard.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
Cooper’s Small Batch started at our restaurant The Crushery, located in Denver’s historic South Pearl Street neighborhood. The hotspot delighted foodies with homemade bagels, paninis, and salads. The Crushery was beloved by locals and tourists alike. As The Crushery thrived, John struggled to find food-friendly sauces to complement his menu. He found that typical hot sauces had overwhelming notes of vinegar or were so spicy that just a couple of drops burnt the palate. John wanted to offer a lineup of hot sauces that would make flavors sing and not overwhelm the flavors of the food. Hence, Cooper’s Small Batch-named after our son was born. When the restaurant sold in 2012, the hot sauce was placed on the back burner and never thought of again until 2017. I said to John, “Everyone loved your hot sauce, we should rebrand and bring it to the market.” With a crazy look on his face, he said “We’ll, here we go!” And with those words, we both jumped in 100% with minimal knowledge of the hot sauce industry, and the rest is history. We learn new things about the market, and our business every day, somedays you just want to crawl into a hole because something went wrong, and other day’s you celebrate. John & I have a vision for the brand and each day we take steps to accomplish those goals. When a setback happens, we pivot and move forward.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Favorite spots in the city, a great question! A native to Colorado, I have seen our City change over the years with great neighborhoods and place’s to visit. Some favorite spots we’d take our friends are: Food: Snooze, Benedicts, Denver Biscuit Company and Jelly’s Cafe are solid breakfast joints. Brewery Bar II (my grandparents were original owners, so a bit biased, but good Mexican food), North in Cherry Creek, Mercantile in Union Station, Perfect Landing at the Centennial Airport, a warm vibe with a piano bar and Nocturne. Inventing Room and Bonnie Brae serve great desserts and ice cream. Old South Pearl Street, Gaylord Street, Tennyson Street, Highlands Neighborhood, The Source and Stanley Market have a lot of local stores to shop & great restaurants. Some fun tourist spots are: A whiskey tour at Stranahan’s, a bike ride, or paddle boarding at Wash Park, and the Colorado history museum. If you can’t make it to the mountains and want to ski/snowboard, Snobahn an indoor experience is a fun alternative.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Our story began in college, both 18 years old with no clue what kind of life was ahead of us and/or if we would be together for the long hall. We made it, and 26 + years later we stand strong together building a life with our two children, and supporting each other no matter what. First shout goes to each other -husband and wife team, parents, and entrepreneurs living life one day at a time. Our 2nd shout goes to those we’ve met along the way that have shaped who we’ve become as business owners. For John his culinary beliefs were fostered working at old Chicago. Frank Day instilled the philosophy that hospitality comes first. This philosophy stuck with John and a reason why he chose to work for Danny Meyer in NYC. His core value was solely based on hospitality and customer service, which has influenced how we (Cooper’s Small Batch) services our customers. As for myself, sales is in my DNA. My parents owned their own business, my father’s primary role was the road warrior salesman. He would take me on sales trips, and I’d watch him interact with customers and foster relationships. My first sales job was with a prestigious company in the eyewear industry-Alain Mikli International. I was given the worst territory and asked to build it. I embraced the challenge and with my father’s teaching, I learned the value of cold-calling, follow up and what the word “no” really means in sales. Working for the Alain Mikli organization molded me into the type of sales person I am today. It was a bath and body company I worked for that helped me understand how to develop a brand from scratch including; sourcing, packaging, marketing, etc. Without these two organizations in my life, and a great Chef by my side, I don’t think we would have taken the risk of owning a CPG company. Our last shout out goes to our children Cooper and Zoe, the spirit behind our company came from our kids. A simple hobby to earn money for their college fund has turned into a viable business. Thank you Zoe and Cooper for challenging us, keeping us humble, and being part of our family business.
image credits of product goes to Desiree Johnson Photography