We're passionate about drinking, and we like to do it from garden to glass. We've found connection and community through sharing our farm to bar drink syrups with customers, who have come to feel like friends we have over for happy hour. By turning the produce from our small family farm into a delicious drink mixer that's meant to be shared in celebration, we've found a way to create connection, not only between the farm, the food, and the end consumer, but with the people who drink them.
This community, that we call our Country Club, has become so important to us, and we long to bring it offline and into the real world with a brick and mortar Headquarters in a historic building in Wilkeson, WA. Money raised from this campaign will help us with renovations costs so we can open our doors to you!
The majority of our farm's success has been digital. Everyday we share our lives on social media, showing people our values rather than telling them which ones they should have. We take pictures of the food we eat and the way we grow it and we hope by doing so that we're inspiring others to grow their own. And we realize that pretty pictures of tasty drinks pack a big punch in a click bait world, so we take a lot of those. But we chose drinks as our "crop" very intentionally.
Most everyone by now knows that the small American family farm is in danger amidst a food system that values price above all else. We know firsthand how difficult it is to survive as a farmer in America, and still we chose to become first-generation female farmers. We studied the numbers on sustainability, diversification, value added products, and market strategies and determined to do it anyway, and do things differently.
We grow a cocktail garden, and are perhaps the world's only farmers dedicated to doing so. In 2016, Belinda left her corporate career at Microsoft to start a mobile bar company, the Happy Camper Cocktail Company. With no blueprint on how to do so, in a brand new industry and learning to convert a 1957 Aladdin canned ham trailer into a mobile bar, Belinda decided to build exactly the company she wanted: a scratch cocktail bar, utilizing only local ingredients and spirits for craft cocktails with soul. She persuaded Venise, then a Project Manager at Redfin and side hustle garlic and Nigerian Dwarf Goats farmer, to grow a few edible flowers and herbs for her crafted cocktails.
At the very first official Happy Camper Cocktails event, Venise overheard multiple customers ask how they could recreate the drinks at home, and ask to buy the Rhubarb Vanilla Bean mixer Belinda had made. Venise saw an opportunity to create a value-added product from crops she was already growing on the farm that could be shared with people far and wide, and she didn’t let go. She persuaded Belinda to jump into another new industry, this time with her as her partner, and the Simple Goodness Sisters’ line of garden to glass drink mixers was launched in July 2018.
But we can do more.
The success we’ve seen from Simple Goodness Sisters only indicates to us that there is more room to grow. Customers all over the country are buying our products, national magazines have written about them, and we’ve been featured on nationally broadcasted television. People want to know more about growing and making high quality food and they don't want to stop there. They are ready to move the farm to table movement to the bar and drink garden to glass!
We envision a physical space where we can put down some roots that will supplement our online presence and allow for the community we’ve gathered to meet in person for celebrations, learning, community, and great drinks. Our story has just begun and we want a brick and mortar to be our next chapter.
The small town of Wilkeson, WA once known as the “roughest mining town west of Butte” is our chosen home. Near both of our homes and located at the Carbon River Entrance of Mount Rainier National Park, Wilkeson is a tiny town with a lot of heart and through traffic. It’s on the verge of a great revival, with state funding beautifying the main street and the energetic proprietors and fabulous aritesian food of the Carlson Block sourdough wood fired pizza and Nomad’s Argentinian coffee and empanadas leading the way. We want to give people one more reason to stop in this beautiful town.
Our family owns two of the eight commercial buildings on the main drag. Most recently a distillery and café, the 100 year old buildings were previously a pharmacy, bar, general store, etc; all gathering places for the small community. We envision a family friendly space open to the public for drinks and good company, and available for classes and special events with a focus on community and agriculture. The previous distillery is in great shape according to a recent feasibility study, and needs only a few projects done before we can open to the public, and this is where the need for funding comes in. We need to repair water damage and paint, replace flooring, add equipment and furnish the inside. We have bigger dreams for the property, which also includes a larger renovation on the old café building, a short term rental for visitors in the upstairs apartment, and a park like setting in the greenspace for outdoor music, movies, and eating, but those projects are further down our path. For now, we’d love your help to build momentum and reopen side one of this historical building!
Risks and challenges
The risks of an old building are many, but luckily we have a great team and we've done our research. We already renovated about one quarter of one of the buildings (the old cafe) to create the Happy Camper Cocktail Company catering kitchen, so we've become familiar with the processes and key players to get this job done. We also have a family who have been knee deep in the construction trenches since we were knee high to a grasshopper so we have the knowledge to move forward with sub contractors and materials. Timing on renovation projects can be difficult, and our dad's recent injury has been a big factor in why work has not begun already. This money will allow us to move forward at a faster timeline (and save Dad's back!), and we hope to be open by early summer, 2020.
The biggest caveat here is that our pledge amount of $15,000 will only get us so far. We plan to open the left side building, the old distillery, because it is a realistic project for this budget. Any money leftover will be saved to begin renovation on the greenspace!
- (32 days)