Tieton Farm & Creamery Poised for More Growth
June 23, 2011 by Jean
Lori Babcock is excited about the future. As co-owner of Tieton Farm and Creamery she is seeing her hard work pay off and feels the business is primed to double or triple sales of its gourmet goat cheeses. Babcock was the speaker this month at the Yakima Chamber’s Entrepreneurial Spotlight, a monthly series promoting new businesses in the region. Lori told the audience that getting the business established has been full of trials and tribulations. At the same time though it is very obvious that Lori and her partner Ruth absolutely love what they are doing.
Tieton Farm and Creamery got started when Lori and Ruth got interested in farming and concerned about their job security at a financial software company. After running a small farming operation in Bellevue, the ladies decided to bite the bullet and produce gourmet
cheese. Lori said they initially looked for farm sites in Western Washington before being drawn to Tieton by Ed Marquand and the Mighty Tieton group.
Lori indicated that their focus on branding and marketing helped the company get off to a successful start. She purposely positioned their product at the high end of the marketplace, explaining that they could not compete successfully on price vis a vis other larger competitors. Putting an emphasis on quality and sustainable farming practices has helped Tieton Farm and Creamery develop a loyal consumer following.
Babcock indicated there are two areas where entrepreneurs and start up businesses need to be careful. Properly capitalizing a business is absolutely critical. Credit markets are difficult to access for new firms so it is important to have enough capital to feed the business. Lori said this was a difficult lesson for Tieton Farm and Creamery. She put a lot of work into getting a loan before realizing that banks would not fund her proposals. The company did get funding from Wheatland Bank to start the creamery, but the ladies had to postpone their dream of building a bed and breakfast at the farm.
Lori also told the group to be careful with time estimates. She and Ruth underestimated how much work was involved in starting the business and how long it would take to launch Tieton Farm and Creamery.
It is great to see Tieton Farm and Creamery doing well. Their gourmet cheeses are outstanding and the company Is a great addition to the Yakima Valley. You can purchase their cheeses at the Deep Sea Deli in Yakima. The ladies also sell their products at local farmers’ markets. To learn more about Tieton Farm and Creamery click here.
Next month’s Entrepreneur Spotlight will feature Jeff Winn from Yakima Craft Brewing. Visit www.yakima.org to learn about and register for this event.