DC’s dynamic and nationally recognized local food scene wasn’t always on trend.
In the beginning of the DC local food movement, from-scratch ingredient-driven food brands had to reinvent a system that was set up for failure. Commercial kitchen space was a coveted pie-in-the-sky dream that required some serious dough (and connections) to secure. Economic development came in the form of business loans that were irrevocably entangled with the strings of “personal guarantee.” Microscopic economy of scale meant low or non-existent profit margins, and lots of working for free on the founders’ part. Getting bigger without losing quality or dumbing down on ingredients — think wholesale, a stall at Union Market, and catering — well, that took finesse.
Upstart Mason Dixie Biscuit Company couldn’t afford a business consultant — or a brand strategist, for that matter. But they sure needed one. Winning a contest saved the day.