Monday, February 22, 2010

Small Planet Goes West

Posted By on Mon, Feb 22, 2010 at 4:09 PM

Small Planet Tofu’s final day of production at its Newport, Wash., location was Monday. “Tofu Phil” Spiegel has packed up his belongings and left his home of 28 years, moving his 17-year-old company to the greener soy-based pastures of Vashon Island.

Why? “Survival,” Phil says. “Small businesses are struggling and I’m one of them … And plus, it’s tofu.” Small Planet is well loved here, but Seattle is a much friendlier place for soy. But it’s more than that. He has a new partner over there to help shoulder the burden. Small Planet, which will retain its brand name, will now share production facilities with another small organic tofu concern, Island Spring Organics. In addition to splitting rent, he’s looking forward to put more effort into growing the business. “I’ll be able to focus on promotion, sales and marketing — become that tofu celebrity I’ve been striving for years to be,” he says.

Because Small Planet will continue to use all the same distributors (Spokane Produce, Charlies, FSA, etc.), which all have presences in both Spokane and Seattle, Phil says the move shouldn’t translate into a price difference once the product hits shelves.

Spiegel left town on Wednesday and is probably settling in his new digs as we speak, “so we can go into production next week.” Take some solace, then, that while they’ll be coming from 300 miles and a large body of water away, your tofu supply chain remains unbroken.

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About The Author

Luke Baumgarten

Luke Baumgarten is commentary contributor and former culture editor of the Inlander. He is a creative strategist at Seven2 and co-founder of Terrain.