Maddy and I met when I interviewed for my first job after culinary school. It was a day in April when the sky was so blue that it seemed to be pouring humidity back into the winter-dried atmosphere. Maddy was butchering meat in a windowless side room, caught up in a repetitive, never-ending project. When we were introduced, it was like a central character in my story was written about for the first time, all roads were leading to this dull room with florescent lighting, pans overflowing with prepared food, and Maddy in the center of it all. Seven years later, I can see that windowless room surrounded by a cloudless spring day as a turning point in my life.

Years later, we’re still cooking, smiling, and getting along.

Friendship means many things, so let me define to you what it means to me and Maddy.

We are fixtures in each other’s ongoing lives. We share a morbid, wacky sense of humor. We are each other’s ‘hard truth’ tellers, trusting that our relationship can withstand this unpleasant role. Our friendship is transformational – it has been a safe, central pillar in our respective lives. It is the strength-center of Taking Stock Foods, the business that we co-founded together.

We announced last week that Taking Stock will soon be introducing shelf stable broths.

This announcement is the culmination of half a year’s worth of business soul searching. The decision is a reflection of our frank desire to grow Taking Stock while fortifying our values and supporting our needs and those of our employees’. Neither Maddy nor I would say that the first half of 2018 has been easy. On the contrary, it has been a “one foot in front of the other” kind of year. Through it all, what’s been the lifeline that we grab for when our ambitions seem impossibly out of reach? Our friendship, built in trust, respect, and a belief in one another even when we don’t believe in ourselves. Maddy is the type of friend whose perspective I use when I’m being overly self-critical.

Business partners do not need to have this strong of a bond, but it does help!

For the time being, I can tell you that our confidence in our collective skills and abilities is high and growing. We see a bright future for our business; one which is achievable; one that positively impacts our community. I ask you to believe in us, as we believe in each other, and to keep supporting us as we refine our company to meet the marketplace in our strongest showing yet.