change of pace, and it allowed us to move back to our own town. We were starting something that would make a difference in the community,” he said. “It was something that econom- ically could be a big boom for the area. We saw an incubator space where we could work with farmers and local food producers, and this was something we could do with our family.” They love the business, even thoughMunn remarks they barely knew how to spell ‘butter’ when they began. But helping the community in Lyons Falls, where they settled in the county, pushed them forward. “We took classes, read books, watched videos, toured facilities, and talked to consultants and advisors. We wanted to make this work here,” he said.
farmers. We can offer an outlet for their milk and hopefully help make ends meet,” he said. “Even if we can just take their products when we go into New York City, we help how we can.”
“We wanted to spend more time together, make a difference, and it allowed us to move back to the area.” Black River Valley Natural is a small-batch artisanal creamery that hopes to be a regional food hub when it grows up. “We want to build this brand to represent a lot of things coming from New York state. We specialize in flavoured butters and niche dairy products,” he said. “We partner with local farmers to bring their milk to market. We just started bottling milk for a farmer that lives nearby. We were able to allow him to work with us to make sure he has a market and a sound business plan. We want to do co-packing like that as well.” Working with the farmers in the area is at the core of what the Munns want to do.
He laughs when asked about what it’s like working with his wife, Bethany.
“It’s been a great mix of good and bad. We’re learning each other’s needs, how to work with each other, and we’re together way more now,” he said. “We drop the kids off to school, pick them up, and we love that. The extended family also stops by for coffee or visits the creamery, and I love that too.” They had an open house April 25, which was invite-only for farmers and other small processors, meant to look at partnership opportunities and when we spoke with the Munns they were again prepping for a May 8 open house. “This will be open to the general public, for 100 or more visitors. We want people to tour the facil- ities, get samples, and farmers can set up booths and sell products. We hope for a great turnout,” he said. Munn gets to work with his wife, see his family more, and work where he grew up. But there’s one thing he loves more than anything else.
“We look around at people who are at the heart of things, and who need the most help, it’s the
JUNE 2019 • SPOTLIGHT ON BUSINESS MAGAZINE JUNE 2019 • SPOTLIGHT ON BUSINESS MAGAZINE
SPOTLIGHT ON BUSINESS MAGAZINE • JUNE 2019
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