FarmSudz Opens Brick & Mortar Store In Downtown Chelsea
Note: This article has been updated with the current main image of the ribbon cutting ceremony, provided by RK Studios LLC, who took the photograph.
FarmSudz uses goat milk to create its skincare products. And almost as if they were trying to prove that, they brought in two of the seven goats that their supplier uses to help them make their products during the grand opening of their store in Chelsea, on August 31.
The company has already started a brick and mortar store in Jackson, but they began making their products years ago in a basement across Main Street from their new location at 104 South Main Street. Julie Konkle started the business and eventually included her niece Erin Valkuchak as a business partner.
“We try to do everything we make zero waste. Some of it is in containers. We like to use containers that are recyclable, and we like to make things that don’t have any containers,” Valkuchak said. “With our shampoo bars, our shave soap and regular shop, we try our hardest [to not have packaging].”
Local suppliers are used wherever possible, hence the two goats. They are two of seven from a local farm that has been supplying the business for years. FarmSudz uses about 40 gallons of goat milk per year, according to Konkle.
“We have a shampoo and conditioner bar. We also have a shampoo that is for problem scalps,” Konkle said.
Dozens of people filled the storied storefront, which is situated right next to La Jolla Jeweler’s and Cleary’s Pub. This included Chelsea Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Terris Ahrens, who was there along with the Chamber Board President Jon Curtis to support the new business.
“It’s wonderful. We are very proud to have any business in our downtown regardless. But to have a company like FarmSudz, who have already cemented [themselves] into the community … to come in and fill this spot where Vogel's and Foster's had long stood is just fantastic,” Arhens said. “This is a destination store. People travel to Chelsea to come to FarmSudz. That means a ton, not only for them and the community, but all of the other businesses as well. You need all of those niche things to happen. The more unique that we can make things the more it benefits the restaurants, the other shops and everybody involved.”
The goats that milled around the customers and wares made from their milk, were only there for the grand opening. The store dog, Sidney, seemed pooped from all of the attention of the dozens who showed up. “She’s ferocious,” Valkuchak said. One of the attendees was a fellow store owner, and customer, from Jackson, Karen Hawley.
“We know the owner and wanted to see the Chelsea store. We’re so excited for them to have a main street business now, a storefront where all of the flow of traffic is,” Hawley said. “The products are so wonderful, all natural and organic and healthy for you. My favorite thing is all of the creative names for their products like ‘[happy] pits’ for their deodorant. ... I used face products that are called ‘My fabulous face.’”