We had the good fortune of connecting with Phaedra Culjak and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Phaedra, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
Having started a few companies previously, some more successful than others, I’m always looking for opportunites to start a new venture. With 2020 being such a difficult year for most of us, I wanted to look at ways to help my local community. I realized that so many jobs in restraurants, as well as other professions, will not be coming back with so many permanent closures of those businesses. I noticed at the end of last summer that many of these folks who were displaced from their jobs were taking an entrepreneural approach and starting new businesses in what I refer to as “local craft food” with meal services, products like salsas and pickles, and baked goods that they wanted to sell to their neighbors, family and friends. I observed many struggling to market online and reach their audience locally. I knew then there was an opportuntity to build a local craft food marketplace where everyone in the community could go discover unique and delicious food and those local chefs, bakers and makers could focus on what they best–making delicous food!
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
EatingPost is the first marketplace for local craft food for each specific community. We launched in Longmont in early February and we are already seeing growth and local support. We’re eager to enable a “circular economy” in every community, starting with the consumer retail sales and soon we will be launching our wholesale sales within the platform for vendors to buy from local producers, ranchers and one-another. This will allow for each community to maximize the local returns with the support of their neighbors, friends and family. The test market will be expanding to Boulder County and I would expect that we will learn a lot about what is working and what needs to be tweaked in terms of the website, the community outreach and the marketing. With the lessons learned, we plan to expand the launch through-out Colorado communities and other US locations later this year. I’m proud that this as an enablement platform that will help lift up communities both with established vendors and to help others -part of the proceeds will be used to mentor low-income, veterans and minorities in starting a business and complying with local and state regulations for food sales to the public.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I love that Longmont is a local craft beer destination with long-standing breweries like Left Hand Brewery (one of my favorites) and Oscar Blues as well as new ones like Wibbey, 300 Suns, Bootstrap and just up the road in Berthoud, another favorite- City Star Brewery. Yes, I like beer! It is only natural that this place is the start of the Local Craft Food Revolution! We have some great gems for dining in Longmont, too with The Roost, Longmont Public House, Lucile’s Creole Café and Georgia Boy’s for the best BBQ in town. Our location to Rocky Mountain National Park makes it a must visit with so much outdoor activity and beauty and Fort Collins is a short drive away to enjoy old town. In the summer hit the Poudre River for some fly-fishing or rafting and of course, I love riding my motorcycle in the summer on the scenic, curvy mountain roads.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I’m not sure if there is just one person to give a shout out to as I have a wonderful family that has always supported and encouraged me. My wonderful husband, Lewis, never seems to doubt my ability to take on new challenges but also keeps me grounded and asks the right questions to make sure I’ve thought through my ideas. As a parent of three, two adults and a teenager, I try to listen to the constructive criticism from them because let’s face it, no one is more honest about you than your kids! I’m also lucky enough to have my parents and sister here in Colorado with their love and support.
Marble Rye- Marketplace Bakery Pecan Sticky Rolls- Marketplace Bakery Eggplant Parm- Mod Nosh, LLC Vegan Tamales- Crummies Meatless Crumble