In Polson, we had the option to start our day early and tour Amy Kellogg’s (2013) companies: Country Pasta and Tipu’s Chai. After driving across the state and checking into the hotel late, I had to force myself out of bed. As I packed my suitcase into my car in the drizzling rain I wondered, “Why do I sign up for everything? “
Our tour group checked in, signed our waivers and donned our hairnets for the tour.
Amy began by introducing us General Manager Heather Knutson. Heather’s parents Dean and Linda began the business about 25 years ago. The mutual respect between them was evident from Amy’s first story about how they came together and how they have continued to grow this community changing business.
We heard the story of their other product-Tipu’s Chai. The original recipe was passed down from Tipu’s mother and they have a mission to stay true to it. Entering the blending room, we were greeted with the aroma of the secret spices used to create this special chai. Again, Amy proudly introduced us to the two women who manned the production and packaging that day.
We headed next door to the Country Pasta production room. I was stunned by the size of this operation! Each batch contains eggs, semolina flour from durum wheat and sea salt-just 3 ingredients! We learned how they test their batches and of all the safety measures required to ensure they consistently create a high-grade product. From the mixing, to the cutting machines, to the two drying processes, to bagging, to assembling the product on pallets for market, to their meticulous cleaning process…it really takes a team to make Country Pasta!
The most memorable and inspiring part Amy’s thoughtfulness and how she introduced her team members each and every time we saw them. She had a story to share about each of them. She always asked them to tell us how long they had been with the Country Pasta. She always added a story about how their being a part of the company made a difference.
Leaving, I felt privileged to have a glimpse of this business that meaningfully employs people in a small town in Montana. For me, this is what Gracious Space looks like.
This was just the beginning of our Polson-Whitefish adventure, I’m so glad I sign up for everything and got up early!