Big THANK YOU to the Nashville Food Community

Nashville is bursting with entrepreneurial energy. This is especially true in the handmade food community, where a cooperative vibe is overriding the small business owner’s natural competitive spirit. Companies that could be rivals are meeting up to share opportunities (and swap horror stories), knowing that we’re all in this together. Donne said it best: “No man is an island, / Entire of itself, / Every man is a piece of the continent, / A part of the main.” Even a loner like Rocky had Burgess Meredith in his corner.

It’s astonishing how much work it takes to bring a new product to market. Eli Mason went from idea to launch in one year, but it was 18 months before we could leave the cubicle farm and take it full-time (which happened only three days ago).

Sometimes you just have to pause, look around, and say thanks to everyone who helped you get where you are.

THIS IS FOR YOU

In no particular order, Eli Mason would like to say a huge southern THANK YOU to the following dreamers, makers, movers, and shakers for helping us make this thing happen. (If you’re a food producer or even just a hungry enthusiast, you need to know these people.)

First to my fellow producers Veronica & Jordan of Soberdough, Javaneh of Hummus Chick, Kristin & Cody of Walker Feed Co., Tasha & Mark of Chai Wallah, George from Sweet Meat Jerky, and Wanda & Aaron of The Blue Porch. You guys have inspired, guided, and literally fed us along the way.

Sam & Caroline at Batch took a risk on this young product before our labels were even printed and helped bring us into hundreds of homes. Courtney from Hey Rooster was an early believer and provided invaluable retail advice. Donna & Kennedy from The Crafty Bartender became our first international clients and guided us through the customs process.

Jenny Harrison made dozens of local connections for us and offered advice at all hours of the day and night. Sue & Gary of Tennessee Gourmet helped us navigate the complex paperwork to get legal and formalize our production process. And Linda Shelton from the Tennessee Dept. of Agriculture is connecting us across the state through Pick Tennessee Products and other programs.

Thank you to our friends from Make Good Nashville who are helping us find the deeper thread: Eppie & Julie from Zephyr Art, Chris M, Jamie & Carrie, and Dan & Sarah.

And thank you to the other communities and resources that make Nashville a great place to live, work, and make stuff: Fort Houston, Make Nashville, Circuit Benders Ball, and so many more.

Who are we missing? I know we’re leaving someone out.

If you’re serious about launching your handmade food business, Nashville is where you need to be.