Shatto Milk is making good on its promise to connect local people to local products, Matt Shatto said, pouring details that revealed the true meaning behind the dairy startup’s push to expand its delivery service.
“I was very frustrated with how people were bastardizing the use of the word ‘local,’” added Shatto, who co-founded the family owned company in 2001 and launched its companion operation, Shatto Home Delivery, in 2015.
“They were saying things from Omaha or Des Moines or Chicago were local. And I would always sit back and say, ‘There’s nothing local about those places.’ So we founded the company — our intent being on putting local makers and entrepreneurs and business folks in touch with local people that wanted local goods.”
And it doesn’t get more local than Shatto’s farm-to-table milk, cheese, butter, and ice cream — freshly sourced in Osborn, Missouri, and delivered to a sizable network of stores across the Kansas City region, he said.
Click here to view a full list of product offerings or to find delivery options.
“We are ahead of what our growth curve was and what we set out for our five-year plan when we started the company and we’re happy about that,” Shatto told Startland News.
“Things were where we thought they would be up until February of 2020. With the pandemic coming into play … it became a realm that we never could have expected — both good and bad.”
With demand for home delivery services at an all-time high amid the COVID-19 pandemic, business at Shatto hummed steadily along, Shatto said.
“From an infrastructure and personnel standpoint, we’re really where we need to be. Things are really good for us right now. We’ve had more deliveries than we’ve ever had in the company’s history.”
The same wasn’t true for other small businesses — many upended by stay-at-home orders and abandoned storefronts, he added, noting he and his team wanted to do something to help other small businesses survive.
Already boasting an enviable delivery operation — adding seven trucks to its fleet in 2020 alone — Shatto has used its reach to partner with nearly 80 Kansas City-grown businesses to deliver their goods straight to the doorsteps and into the hands of consumers.
“To give local people the opportunity to have a one-stop shop for everything that’s truly local in Kansas City … it’s just a really good shift for us coming into the holiday,” he said, noting the company has partnered with such companies as Christopher Elbow Chocolates and Fiorella’s Jack Stack Barbecue over the past five months.
“The holidays are a totally different group of people that have goods and services to deliver. Whether you look at Farmdog Studios or Carly Rae Studios or Christoper Elbow — there’s just a whole host of makers and folks that are here and it works really well for us to add their gift items to our offerings.”
A full holiday meal that includes local ham and roasts, vegetables, potatoes, fresh cranberries, homemade pies and Texas Roadhouse rolls is available for delivery using the service.
Shatto Home Delivery even dropped Christmas trees off for customers in early December, Shatto said.
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As the company looks at what 2021 could hold, permanent expansion of its delivery service is most definitely on the table, but it isn’t a priority for the company, Shatto said.
“I think what we have to do is take a deep breath and try to figure out what the new normal is truly going to be and how that new normal is going to fit with the current infrastructure we have in place,” he said of the company’s current trajectory and what it values most; its people and their wellbeing.
“They’ve worked harder than I could have ever imagined they’d be willing to — and they do it in order to accommodate as many people as they can, to help them not have to go to the grocery store or do whatever it is outside of the house. Behind the brand there’s a group of amazing people that are so dedicated to our cause and to our customers.”
For Shatto personally, the opportunity to give back to the community, to Shatto’s employees, and to its loyal customers is as rare as it is cherished, he said.
“Whether it’s Sarah Berlin, owner of Great Harvest Bread Company in Prairie Village, whether it’s Bo [Nelson] at Thou Mayest, I think so many [entrepreneurs] during a certain period of this pandemic, have been grateful for our partnership because we are a portion of their work that didn’t slow down,” Shatto said, grateful the business found a way to thrive in the the pandemic-era.
“I think that’s even true for the likes of a bigger player like Liberty Fruit. I mean, they lost all of their restaurant business, a lot of their institutional business,” he continued. “For the longest time, we kind of took over a huge component of their business and we’ve been very thankful for the opportunity to help them in that timeframe.”
As impact stories pour in, Shatto is eager to see light at the end of an extremely long tunnel, he said.
“It’s been a blessing to fulfill those needs during this time. … But what is life after COVID?” Shatto wondered.
“Am I going to have to buy seven more trucks like I did this year? Or are we going to take a break? Is 2021 going to be a year to look back, see where we failed, try to build a better company and keep our company going forward? I think the next three months are going to tell us a lot.”