The Downs region as a farming belt has a well earned reputation for high quality produce and artisanal goods. SP Grazing Co. founder Sarah Paton understands this well, establishing her business to provide high quality grazing boards and catering services boasting the freshest regional produce, to various events throughout the area.
Paton grew up on the Darling Downs on a property 45 minutes west of Toowoomba. She attended local schools, after which she completed a Bachelor of Business in Hotel and Resort Management at the Blue Mountains International Hotel Management School in Leura, New South Wales. Over the course of her degree, Paton worked at a number of high profile establishments including Intercontinental Sydney and Intercontinental Sydney Double Bay before finding a position at the five-star boutique hotel and winery, Jackalope on the Mornington Peninsula.
Starting SP Grazing Co. in Toowoomba is a testament to Paton’s obvious love for the region in which she was raised. When asked about the reception she has received from the community, Paton says, “I have been astounded by the response from the Toowoomba community right from the beginning. Being able to support my local community and in return being supported by them is very important.” This sense of community spirit finds her collaborating with similar artisanal businesses when the opportunity arises.
Paton recently promoted local furniture business Porter & Wood on her Instagram page, praising the quality of a handcrafted serving board she has incorporated into her events. When speaking on local business she emphasises that it is “very important for small businesses to collaborate and support each other. In our local area we have a wealth of talented craftsmen and artisans.” Individual expression is also a high priority for Paton when it comes to SP Grazing Co.
The business deals directly with clients from ordering through to delivery. This stands in contrast to Paton’s experience in luxury establishments where structure and rigidity is necessary, making for equally high quality though less personalised experiences. SP Grazing Co. is involved in the most personal of events, providing platters for gatherings such as Valentine’s Day, baby showers, birthdays, anniversaries and corporate events.
Covid-19 has made doing business a challenge for many, but Paton says her close ties to her community have allowed her to adapt in order to keep supplying her clients. Unable to provide her usual grazing tables (which can cater up to 100 people) Sarah has instead focused on creating smaller gift boxes which most people have been ordering as presents for friends and loved ones. A contact free delivery system has been devised for the boxes allowing them to be enjoyed during social distancing.
Paton’s fortitude in this time is admirable and she has attributed much of it to being able to “live in an area that produces such great produce”. Most of her stockists have remained open despite the current circumstances. “Therefore, I have continued to support these small businesses to provide my clients with the freshest locally grown produce that I can source.”
looking to the Granite Belt and how we are not just surviving but thriving.”
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