The Rebound Colorado: Dairy business launches during pandemic

Sawatch Artisan Foods opened during the pandemic
Posted at 5:00 AM, May 11, 2021

COLORADO SPRINGS — As we've learned over the past year, it’s hard enough to keep a business open let alone opening a new business in the middle of a pandemic, but one business did just that and is thriving.

They said their secret to success is in the product and the community. Sawatch Artisan Foods is finding its place up and down the Front Range.

“We are manufacturers of European-style butter, as well as some artisan cheeses,” co-owner and founder Jennifer Gomez said.

Gomez and her husband have been in the dairy industry for years and their new company is based in Colorado Springs using cows from a Kansas farm.

“The process we take from the beginning is completely different,” Gomez said, “We partner with our local dairy farmer partner who is just ten miles down the road from our manufacturing facility and we get our milk delivered in fresh every single day. We get that raw milk in our facility and take it from start to finish.”

They said they’re really wanting to take out the overprocessing that can happen in the large-scale manufacturing process.

“So really looking at how can we make the foods that we eat every day better. How can we take the process back to do it a little bit lower, a little bit slower, and really bring the quality back and remove some of the overprocessing to some of our foods,” Gomez said.

They launched their business in April 2020 right at the beginning of the pandemic. They had to pivot their business model because they were originally going to rely on wholesale and restaurant customers, many of which closed for months.

"We definitely had to pivot as we started doing farmer’s markets and doing direct to consumer, we also started launching home delivery. A lot of people were much more comfortable being at home so we wanted to make sure we could still get them a high-quality product right to their door,” Gomez said.

They saw great success but are so happy their partners are starting to thrive once again. They are partnering with mom-and-pop retail shops and restaurants.

Bread and Butter Market downtown is one of their partners.

“We’ve got people who come in for their addiction to their cheese curds. And when they first brought in the two-pound roll of butter for us to sample, I thought, whoever would go through two pounds of butter? I’m not a regular purchaser of the two pounds of butter,” Bread and Butter co-owner Aubrey Day said.

They also have a display at Beasts and Brews and are used in the menu as well. The executive chef said they really work to keep their food as locally made as possible.

“When we’re able to come together with other small businesses in our community and hep get their name out and help support them while they're doing the same thing for us its super important for all of us to band together,” executive chef Noah Siebenaller said.

Gomez said they’re just getting started with plans to expand already in the works. They’re going to open a local processing facility where they plan to have cheese-making classes, retail space and a rooftop patio for events.

“The biggest takeaway from the pandemic is just the ability to be flex and be agile and sometimes you just have to go with the flow and just make it work right,” Gomez said.

If you have an idea for a future Rebound Colorado story email

KOAA News5 on your time, streaming on your Roku, FireTV, AppleTV and AndroidTV.
News5 App | First Alert 5 Weather App | Youtube | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter