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Kent

Kent Walker Artisan Cheese

Little Rock, AR

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Personal Story

My story begins years ago in my kitchen in Colorado. I was working as a computer drone in a large corporation; doing well, but unfulfilled. I was inspired to try a craft by my home-brewing friends, so I chose cheesemaking to compliment their delicious beer. Meanwhile, I was falling in love with a girl back home. Moving back to Arkansas meant many big steps, including marriage and leaving my mindless desk job.

While looking for work in Little Rock, I found a few non-corporate jobs to make ends meet. I began by filling pints at a local brewery and learning distilling at a new local spirits maker. While doing these jobs, I realized that I loved making a product more than computer code. Producing something that would make people smile was my passion. This also drove home how much local products mean to the economy and environment. I thought about how my hobby of making cheese could become a full time job. A job that could help support local farmers, create a business that helped downtown Little Rock grow and fill a niche in the market.

I am lucky to be supported by an incredible community that helped and promoted me every step of the way and certainly plan on putting as much support back into the community as well!

Business Description

Kent Walker Artisan Cheese was envisioned as a company that uses local ingredients to create top quality products. I started product development in the summer of 2011 and moved into production on January 1, 2012. At that point I was making 15 pounds of cheese per week out of pots and pans. Barely over a year later, I have an employee, an apprentice and two small cheese vats. We are currently producing 250 pounds/week, just about maxing out our current equipment. We are supplying shops and restaurants all over Arkansas, as well as a few in Tennessee and Louisiana.

Currently, we are making the cheese in a downtown church kitchen. As more customers buy our cheese, the kitchen seems smaller and smaller. This summer we will be moving into our own location complete with tours and a tasting room. This will allow us to expand production as well as letting us have a more direct relationship with our customers.

As we bring on more people, I am very excited to build an employee owned, sustainable business that creates world class cheese from local ingredients!

What is the purpose of this loan?

$9,000 - 500 Gallon Cheese Vat
$1,000 - Misc. equipment to support the new vat (molds, squeegees, etc)

Our current maximum production is 250 pounds of cheese per week, and we are bursting at the seams to produce enough cheese to satisfy our customers. This vat will allow us to increase our maximum production tenfold. We will start at 500 pounds per week and gradually build to 2,500 pounds per week.

The resulting increase in revenue will allow us to improve marketing, offer salaried positions to current and future employees, and continue to expand the variety of our offering to meet a constantly growing demand for locally-produced, artisan cheese.

Kent's loan is endorsed by The Root Cafe. The information below explains why his trustee thinks Kent is a great candidate for a Kiva Zip loan.
How long have you known this person?

1 year - 3 years

Tell us about your relationship with this borrower.

Kent is an artisan cheese maker who sells cheese to the Root Cafe on a weekly basis. He is also an active part of the South Main neighborhood and community. We met Kent just after the cafe opened in June of 2011 when he brought by some samples of his cheese one afternoon. I thought they were excellent and told him that if he ever started producing cheese commercially we would happily be his first customer. About a month later, he did, and we were!

Tell us about this borrower's personality and character, and why you are endorsing him or her for a Kiva Zip loan.

Kent is very passionate about making cheese, and he is also an intelligent business person. He is hard-working, reliable, and personable; he is also humble and has always been very open to honest product critiques and feedback. He is a savvy entrepreneur, evidenced by how quickly and efficiently he has turned a hobby into a thriving business project. He has zero debt, a huge demand for his product, and is on the verge of moving to a new space with great visibility and high traffic. The Root is endorsing Kent because we feel confident that he is going to be successful.

Tell us about this borrower's business, and why you believe a Kiva Zip loan will contribute to his or her success.

Little Rock has a rapidly expanding local food scene that Kent has tapped into. He has quickly become a mainstay among food club and farmers' market regulars because 1) he has a great product, and 2) he is one of only two regular cheese producers in the area. The demand right now for local cheese in central Arkansas far exceeds the supply, and Kent is uniquely positioned to meet that demand through expanding production and increasing his variety of offerings. He will be able to do both of those things by using this loan to purchase and install a 500 gallon cheese-making vat that will increase his production tenfold.

133 Total , 3 invited by Kent
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PAYING BACK

A loan of $10,000 helps me to purchase a cheese vat to increase production.

Disbursed Mar 28, 2013
Repayment Term:
24 monthly payments
Grace Period:
N/A
Listed:
Mar 14, 2013
Disbursed:
Mar 28, 2013
Paying Back:
Mar 29, 2013

About Kent Walker Artisan Cheese

Industry:
Food production
Years in Operation:
1 year - 3 years
Website:
kentwalkercheese.com/
Follow:
Facebook
Badges:
Badge_connectedness_silver_small

What are Borrower Badges?

Borrower Badges are a system designed to recognize and reward borrowers’ engagement with the Kiva Zip website.

There are two types of badges that are tiered like medals: Gold, Silver and Bronze.

  1. 'Repayment badges' are awarded for the on-time repayment of loans.
  2. 'Connectedness badges' are awarded for engagement with the Kiva Zip website.

This loan is endorsed by

Trustee Type:
Cafe/Restaurant
Location:
Little Rock, AR
Badges:
Badge_repayment_bronze_small
On Zip Since:
Mar 14, 2013
(13 months)
Loans Endorsed:
2
Total Value:
$15,000
Fundraising/Raised:
0
Paying on Time:
Not enough data
Paying Back Late:
Not enough data
Repaid in Full:
0
Defaulted:
0
Repayment Rate:
Not enough data
Why are you endorsing Kent?

Kent is very passionate about making cheese, and he is also an intelligent business person. He is hard-working, reliable, and personable; he is also humble and has always been very open to honest product critiques and feedback. He is a savvy entrepreneur, evidenced by how quickly and efficientl...

What are Trustee Badges?

Trustee Badges are a system designed to recognize and reward trustees’ engagement with the Kiva Zip website.

There are two types of badges that are tiered like medals: Gold, Silver and Bronze.

  1. 'Repayment badges' are awarded for the on-time repayment of loans.
  2. 'Connectedness badges' are awarded for engagement with the Kiva Zip website.
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