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November 2018

Small Business Saturday Snapshot: Old Town Spice Shop, Your Local Spice Shop

local spice shopAromatic smells and contented smiles have been rolling out of Old Town Spice Shop, your local spice shop, since 2010. In fact, December 3, 2010, is when the shop first opened its doors in its previous location at 220 Linden Street. Since that time, there has been a move to our current location at 130A S. College Ave., right in the heart of Old Town Fort Collins. There has also been no shortage of tasty morsels, savvy spice know-how, and delicious creations as a result of the freshness and quality of the spices, blends, seasonings, and other products available at our shop.

One thing that sets us apart is that we’re an independently owned Fort Collins spice shop. It was opened by the Godbey Family because of their love for the community, for Colorado, and for fresh and tasty spices. And now with Small Business Saturday Fort Collins just around the corner on Saturday, November 24, we’d like to take a moment and sit down with owner and manager Sean Godbey to chat about all things Old Town Spice Shop.

Q: Your family moved to Colorado in 1985. Where is your family originally from?

SG: Phoenix, AZ. I moved here when I was 1.

Q: What brought the family out to Colorado?

SG: My parents wanted a good place for us to grow up in a smaller city. CSU was an attraction as well.

Q: How are your spices tailored to the Colorado way of life?

SG: We do our best to tailor what we make to how people cook in Colorado. A lot of people like to cook from the land, so spices that are great with vegetables. Also, spices that help highlight the agricultural background of the area, so making sure we have great rubs for everything you would do with meat. People also like things spicy. So we make sure we can bring the heat when people want it!

Q: Have you always been interested in spices?

SG: I have always loved spices, but when we started this business we had a huge learning curve. I learned a lot about spices in the first year we opened. I still learn new things every day and I love it!

Q: Are you a good cook?

SG: I like to think I am. But like anyone, I have my areas I am most comfortable in. The one area that I need the most help with is baking. Luckily, my wife is a great baker, so I don’t have to be 🙂

Q: What is your favorite thing/dish to cook?

SG: My go-to favorite meal to cook and eat is hot wings. However, I love to cook a new recipe, and then change the recipe the next time I make it to make it better. Even after 15 years of trying to master hot wings, I still change the recipe every once in a while.

Q: What is your favorite spice aroma?

SG: Aroma is a funny thing. It stimulates the brain in a way that it can immediately take you back in time. For me, cardamom is one of my favorites. It reminds me of taking trips to the Middle East, sitting in coffee houses drinking Turkish Coffee. Prior to opening Old Town Spice Shop, I worked for a church here in Fort Collins. I had good friends that lived there, and I would go visit them on mission trips.

Q: Do you have an all-time favorite spice?

SG: No, there are too many fun spices in the world. I have my go-to spices for different things, but really most of the time I like trying new things.

Q: What is your favorite aspect of owning Old Town Spice Shop?

SG: Sharing fun new things. We get to work with customers every day wanting to make their life better through flavor. We get to help them figure out what to use to make that happen.

Q: What is it like being a small business owner in Fort Collins?

SG: Great! The community of small business owners downtown is amazing. Owning and managing a small business can be daunting at times. What is great is that there is always someone else that has gone through something similar who is willing to give you ideas on how to make it better.

Q: Where do you see OTSS in the next five years? Ten years?

SG: Our store isn’t going anywhere. We are lucky enough to have great relationships with numerous businesses throughout our community. I hope that in five to ten years we will be able to grow those relationships to continue to make Fort Collins better.

Q: What are your favorite customer interactions?

SG: When I work the store, I love seeing customers that have come in for years. I also love when new customers come in and are overwhelmed with options or get super excited about all the things they want to cook.

This is just a small snippet into the heart and soul of your local spice shop, Old Town Spice Shop. With the holidays rapidly approaching, now is the most important time of the year to head to Downtown Fort Collins and support local businesses, like us, Old Town Spice Shop. Remember to #ShopSmall this Holiday Season and come say hi! We invite everyone to taste the difference that fresh spices, blends and seasonings, teas, sugars, extracts, and other products can make in your life.

Crock Pot Perfection: Our Recommended Spices for Chili

spices for chiliOh slow cooker, how we love thee…Can we get an “amen”?

You have to admit, there’s nothing better than coming home after a long day to an already-prepared homemade meal that your family can devour right this minute. Not only that, but its heavenly aromas are also currently permeating every crevice of your home with its home-cooked, savory goodness. Nothing quite makes you feel like more of a domestic god or goddess.

And let’s not forget about the crock pot’s currently trending and much more stylish cousin, the instant pot. Done in a flash while retaining all of the juice and flavor of a traditional slow cooker meal. These are hot right now, and for good reason.

When it comes to crock pot and instant pot meals, one of our favorites is chili. Its hearty, warm deliciousness is hard to beat, and it’s also quite simple to prepare. But we’ve got a few tips that will take your chili from standard to superior with the addition of some simple spices for chili.

Urfa Biber

Instead of traditional chili peppers, why not try something a little more spicy and non-traditional? We suggest using Urfa Biber chili flakes. The curing process of this Turkish chili leaves a high moisture content and encourages complex smoky flavors of rich chocolate, roasted coffee, and tangy raisins. Not only is Urfa Biber recommended for taking your crockpot chili to a whole new level, it’s also tasty raw, sprinkled over pungent cheeses or cooked into sauces for braised meats. These chilies even taste good on ice cream!

Cumin

There are no ifs, ands, or buts about it: cumin is a must when it comes to delicious chili creation. The aromatic seeds of a plant in the parsley family, cumin is typical in many spice blends and is a staple spice in many cuisines, especially Mexican, Indian, African, and Asian. It has a very distinctive flavor with an earthy, nutty, spicy taste that has bitter undertones and a warm aroma, and it’s utterly delectable when added to chili. Luckily, we carry both ground cumin and whole seed cumin.

Chocolate or Cinnamon

Another way to give your chili a flavor boost is by adding chocolate or cinnamon. You heard us right: chocolate or cinnamon. Try picking one of these to add with your traditional spices into your next batch of chili: 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon, 1 whole cinnamon stick, or 2 tablespoons of cocoa powder. Or try adding a few squares of good-quality dark chocolate along with the tomatoes and let them melt slowly into the chili.

Harissa or Berbere

To bring a more exotic flair to the table, try harissa or berbere. Described as “Tunisia’s main condiment,” harissa is commonly used in Northern Africa to flavor stews, soups, and couscous. Most standard harissas include a blend of hot chile peppers, garlic, olive oil, cumin, coriander, caraway, and mint. Berbere is an Ethiopian spice mixture that is the flavor foundation of Ethiopian cuisine, a basic ingredient in Dabo Kolo, Doro Wat, and many other dishes. It’s a spice mixture whose constituent elements usually include chili peppers, garlic, ginger, basil, korarima, rue, ajwain or radhuni, nigella, and fenugreek.

So the next time your crock pot or instant pot chili night rolls around, go with a less traditional spin by utilizing some of our recommended spices for chili. Or swing on by the Old Town Spice Shop, a local independent Fort Collins Spice Shop, located at 130A S. College Ave. in Old Town Fort Collins. We could chat about spices all day. Let us know what spice questions you have. We’re always happy to help!