The Journey from Kitchen to Basecamp Co-Packing

Like most startup food companies, Fourpoints Bar was born in a home kitchen.  Kevin and Patrick had been making these bars for themselves for a few years, started tinkering with recipes in their free time.  It didn’t take long for them to realize they had a product worth selling to the public, so they made the natural jump to a shared commercial kitchen.  They brought on a new partner, Steve, to figure out how to scale their production and make a more consistent and better quality product.  REI started selling Fourpoints Bars, business was growing rapidly and the team realized they were outgrowing their little commissary space.  It was time for a co-packer.

We started searching for a co-packing company to make our bars for us, but there were almost no opportunities for a company our size.  Most co-packing companies require large minimums and huge on-boarding fees.  We were too big for our commissary, but not big enough for a co-packer.   After an exhaustive search, we finally found one company that was willing to make our bars for us.  We spent months on R&D, working on their industrial food processing machines refining our production process and a week before our first scheduled production…they went out of business.

We were homeless, lost and way behind on our production now.  We weighed all of our options (go back to the commissary, cry, get drunk, give up, etc.) and finally decided to buy our own industrial food processing machines, only we had nowhere to put these new toys.  We were introduced to an angel who let us use some extra space in her commercial kitchen for a while and we were able to get our business back on track.  But we still needed a HOME.  Last May, we finally found a home for Fourpoints right here in Denver, our base camp.

After such a difficult year trying to grow our business, getting punched in the face and getting back up only to get punched again, we had learned a lot.  Now we had this new home and all this new information, experience and equipment, and in the spirit of everything we stand for here at Fourpoints we looked for a way to give back and try to make the world a better place.  And so, Basecamp Co-pack was created, a place where small food companies could make the jump from the commissary to the big production companies.  We’re kind of a middle guy for the little guy (or gal).

Like I mentioned earlier, most small food companies start and grow in a commissary or shared kitchen.  If you don’t know how these work, they are big kitchens (or lots of little kitchens) where businesses can rent time to prepare their products.  You buy blocks of time, and you must be finished and cleaned up by the end of your allotted time. It is not cheap and there is typically no support, so you’re on your own.  The equipment is pretty standard, and packaging is usually done by hand, which is very time consuming. Our idea was to create a place where small start-ups, new brands and companies that have outgrown their accommodations could go to take that next step.  We offer support, consulting, help with sourcing ingredients, help with the production process, big fancy machines, and we also make your product for you so you can go out and grow your business.   It offers an opportunity to learn, refine and eventually outgrow us and move on to a bigger production company.  It is a place we needed, but couldn’t find.  

So far, we have met some really incredible people with some amazing and exciting ideas.  It’s interesting to hear why people want to start a food business.  Some see dollar signs, some have a recipe that all their friends like and they want to see if it could turn into a business, some see a need in the marketplace and some just have a really great product that needs a little time to develop.  This is a really difficult and competitive industry and it’s a nice feeling to help others learn from our mistakes. 

If you have a food dream and want to see it become a reality, we’d love to help.  Visit basecampcopack.com for more information.

 Jeff Kingsbury

Co-Owner - Fourpoints and Basecamp Co-Packing

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