About Us

Who We Are:

Pantry Bear, a part of Scarborough Fair Trading Company (SFTC), is a small organic foods retailer from Fort Collins, Colorado.  We are focused on making locally produced food affordable for everyone.  Our online products extend beyond local offerings to bring our customers specially curated goods; ethically farmed, meaningfully sourced, and consciously packaged.

Where We Come From:

Pantry Bear is wholly owned and operated by Gavin Watson and Ryan "Booboo" Clendenin, the founders and managing partners of SFTC.  Gavin spent his early career navigating Wall Street and bringing high value brands public while Booboo spent his post graduate school time both as an international supply chain consultant and an electronic marketing executive across Healthcare, Non-Profit Associations, and Financial Services sectors. 

The Pantry Bear team joined forces after working together on projects in the Cannabis Industry, where Gavin was the CFO of a boutique dispensary chain in Washington while Booboo directed manufacturing across 20 states for one of the nation's largest and most visible public cannabis Multi-Sate Organizations.  

Why to Trust Us:

For the past decade, the Pantry Bear team has applied their traditional experience to the cannabis industry across retail and manufacturing operations.  They understand interstate financial regulation, have direct experience operating under fragmented compliance structures, and saw forced local commercial trade systems pop up across the country firsthand. When they looked at the complexity of the cannabis track-and-trace systems, they also noticed a higher standard of quality being demanded and fulfilled. Pantry Bear sees an opportunity to bring the advantages of locally curated food to offset the damages caused by big-box, centralized distribution supply chains.

As the world faced COVID and supply chain shortages, Pantry Bear found it even more important to enable local supply chains through meaningful efforts to showcase the products that are made in Colorado. We place only local goods in our retail location and work hard to make strong relationships with our community. However we faced a larger problem; the price of our products is often out of reach for most.

Pantry Bear is working with a local Colorado non-profit called The Bear Fund to meet this challenge. In order to offset the high cost of both procurement and retail merchandising of locally produced, high-quality organic foods, The Bear Fund's mission is to seek out good will pricing relief through corporate sponsorships and charitable donations. Pantry Bear believes this philosophy will go further to support meaningful and resilient access to combat food apartheid. 

Pantry Bear Team

Pantry Bear's Gavin Watson (left) graduated from Brown University with a degree in Business Economics while Booboo (right) holds a Masters Degree in English from SUNY Fredonia where he also taught literature and was recipient of the Alice B. White Underrepresented Student Fellowship. Their good friend Greg (center) is one of the best local chefs in the region, focusing on craft farm-to-table cuisine from the Food Eats Direct truck and carts around Northern Colorado.

About our Storefront and Processing Center:

Located at 3517 S. Mason St., Fort Collins, CO., Pantry Bear's storefront features locally made, shelf stable foods, micro green grow kits, and mushroom grow kits.  Our constantly rotating inventory of "Bear's Choice" products range from local honeys and jams to hot sauces, coffees, and teas.  Our love of functional mushrooms extends beyond our grow kits to our urban agriculture model, dedicating nearly 1,000 square feet of our building to the growth, processing, extraction, and product development of a full range of functional and medicinal mushrooms. 

Booboo's cannabis product development and manufacturing experience enabled him to commercialize hundreds of SKUs across the country; each requiring unique branding, specialized dosage, quality assurance, and compliance packaging.  This direct experience informs Pantry Bear's standard operating procedures through its cottage food safety certification; enabling Pantry Bear not only to grow functional mushrooms for the local public, but also to produce extremely high quality tinctures and raw mushroom extracts.  

Pantry Bear follows a dual-extraction methodology including both an ethanol extraction phase and a water decoction phase out of whole, dried fruited bodies in order to achieve a broad spectrum mushroom extract.  In the spirit of the Colorado Cottage Food Safety program, these products must be made in Colorado and only shipped within state lines.  

Pantry Bear is continuously improving their property by adding permaculture gardens and enabling the processing of food waste into commercial extracts, purified compounds, and regenerative composts. Gavin and Booboo believe that Pantry Bear can become a new model for localized food sovereignty by decentralizing supply chains at the intersections of American food deserts.

Mission and Values:

Pantry Bear wants to enable food sovereignty for local communities becoming disenfranchised due to centralized food distribution networks. In the USA, a food desert is defined as an urban area in which it is difficult to buy affordable or good-quality fresh food. Add to that definition, the existence of rural food deserts where localized regenerative farming practices have given way to corporatized agricultural systems producing neither affordability nor good-quality; where monoculture is engineered and optimized strictly for supply chain efficiency.

Regenerative organic farming practices and hyper-local product development and distribution models are vital components of a working solution, but the sheer volume and (perceivably) cheap delivery of fresh produce and processed dry goods across the nation seemingly fills a basic human need for reliability and repeatability in our food sourcing. Unfortunately, this also requires a massive carbon footprint, produces monumental volumes of food waste, and distributes foods devoid of functionality.

Then too, there is a categorical difference between fresh produce that appears pristine on retail shelves and fresh produce that is truly nutritional. Organic food is considered ugly by consumers conditioned by aesthetic queues and ritual buying habits. All the while, convenience foods, processed goods, and products high in simple carbohydrate form factors, saturated fats, and high fructose corn syrup dominate the central platforms of nearly every retail grocer; even the ones with “natural” and “whole” in their brand names. 

Problematically, the “heartland” is also rife with heart disease.  And so too are the inner city communities, indigenous sovereign nations/reservations, and the ancestral native populations of US island territories in the Carribean and South Pacific. Fundamentally, communities that were once self-sufficient are now super-dependent on food systems in which they are unable to participate. Food sovereignty means enabling these populations to produce and distribute food in smaller contexts.  

Food sovereignty defends against food deserts by educating a new generation of Victory Garden farmerscottage scale producers, and small scale commercial producers focused on ethical production.  Why does it matter? Arguably, the systemically high cost of organic foods, wellness focused products, and fairly traded goods outweighs the average consumerability to consider purchasing consistently.  

Pantry Bear sees the emergence of Food Deserts as the proverbial canary in the coal mine.  Without condemning centralized supply chains for their intention, wed rather judge them by their outcomes.  Centralizing a supply chain, aggregating like components across a processing lifecycle, is elegant in terms of mechanical engineering. When these principles are applied to our food systems though, we begin to degrade not just the quality of our sustenance but we further degrade fresh food's accessibility.

And just as there is such a thing as a Food Desert, so too is there such a concept as Food Desertification.  Whether fresh food means "organic and local" or "conventional and imported” matters to this dilemma of diminishing access to good, affordable food. So, how does Pantry Bear think we can solve for such a complex set of social equations? We found our answer in locality. Being local means everything to our vision for fostering food sovereignty.     

Pantry Bear offers several core competencies as solutions for defending against the further desertification of our food systems.  First, we have to tackle the good quality and fresh food” aspects of the Food Desert definition. Our unique point of view requires us to work on the parts of solutions that we can, while building meaningful relationships with partners in our community that are likeminded and far more experienced in farming than we are.

This means engaging with our local farmers to promote their fresh produce, highlighting their preferred status as the first line of defense; simply put, the place where the best fresh commercial produce lives is your local farmer’s market.  That said, Pantry Bear looked long and hard at the programming design of our retail environment and made the critical decision not to merchandise fresh produce that requires refrigeration of any sort.

As a specialty grocer that is focused on local products, it may seem counter-intuitive to omit fresh meats, vegetables and prepared foods from our lineup, but there is a method to our omissions. The refrigeration costs associated with supermarket grocers (even the small local health food store) are more than just an overhead line item for operating expenses, but further contributes to the overall carbon footprint of their operations. 

Since zero retail refrigeration limits our ability to promote the “freshness” of our product offering directly, we are keenly focused on the "good-quality" aspects of our solution. With strong local farm relationships to promote the “fresh factor,” Pantry Bear needed to solve for the "awesome products" equation.

That said, Pantry Bear’s cottage food processing certification by the State of Colorado also enables us to work with our farming partners to process and distribute preserved foods that are shelf stable, durable, and delicious. Pantry Bear has developed partnership with over 25 Colorado brands, offering a local, low carbon, and laser focused ethical distribution platform.