Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Hans Weber, co-founder of Stonetown Artisan Cheese, located in St. Marys, ON, Canada.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Stonetown Artisan Cheese is an on-farm cheese processing plant with a master cheesemaker on staff from Switzerland who makes different alpine-style cheeses with cow's and goat's milk. The cow's milk is produced right beside the cheese processing plant. The milk is unpasteurized to give the cheese the best possible nutritious value. You can find our cheese in grocery chains and lots of independent stores. If you like a special experience, you can come to the farm where you see how the cheese is made and try all the different cheeses.
Tell us about yourself
With our three children in tow, we immigrated to Canada in 1996 to begin a new life in St. Mary's, Ontario, where we could start our own dairy farm. Having previously worked in the Swiss Alps, it was always our dream to produce delicious, high-quality cheese reminiscent of the renowned Swiss Mountains and made from our own milk. With the next generation stepping up on the dairy farm, we found time to start up the cheese plant.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
After seven years in business, we can say we have won many awards. Twice we had the grand champion at the British Empire Cheese competition and many first places at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair. We are a CFIA inspected, and GMP/HACCP approved facility and are able to sell all over Canada.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
Even though we produce consistently excellent cheese, marketing is one of the hardest tasks to overcome. There are many great kinds of cheese on the market, and with the large imports, there is big competition.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
Make sure the key people in the business are filled with experts. If you don't know how to make cheese, hire an expert. Know how to do the books. Have your finances in place. It will take time to get a return on your business. Your packaged product has to look at its best all the time.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
If your heart is not in it, don't do it!
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solopreneur that you'd like to share, then email email@example.com; we'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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