Stokli is a new Santa Fe store born of these times.
It is an online purveyor of dry goods such as beans and flour, which disappeared off store shelves in the early days of the pandemic. Pantry goods, as co-owner Marianne Sundquist likes to call them.
“Stokli would not exist without COVID,” Sundquist said. “It was a huge flashlight that shone on our whole food system and how things were hard to find.”
Stokli is online sales only. Hans and Marianne Sundquist built a membership model, enabling them to sell merchandise at the same price they acquire it from 12 suppliers within a 400-mile radius.
“Small growers have a deep concern for affordability,” she said. “One hundred percent of the retail price stays with the local grower and maker.”
Sundquist, a former chef who writes a recipe column for The New Mexican’s Taste page, said their ambition is to add 10 to 15 dry good suppliers per month through 2021. Stokli had 42 members in the last week of December, and the Sundquists hope to have 1,000 members in 2021.
Stokli went live Cyber Monday following Thanksgiving.
The online store sells pantry staples such as flower, chile powder, honey and beans; a small variety of tea; snacks from Taos Bakes; raspberry jams, dried apples and a locally produced dark chocolate bar; and, for now, a small selection of home goods and bath and body products.
The Sundquists derived the Stokli name from the Swiss German stöckli, referring to a separate home on the farm for the retired farmer.
Local growers of produce have access to farmers markets. Marianne Sundquist discovered dry-goods purveyors don’t have the same ease to the marketplace.
“If you want to stock your pantry with local dry goods, it becomes a lot more challenging because growers and makers of dry goods tend to be more spread out,” she said.
The Sundquists launched a catering company called DAYA on Halloween 2019. Just as catering season was starting, the coronavirus pandemic shelved most events. DAYA gave way to Stokli.
The Sundquists in spring made deliveries of pantry items, and that concept evolved into Stokli, where merchandise is shipped. Marianne Sundquist is targeting customers within the same 400-mile radius as her producers, but farther-off customers are likely.
Every city has a local food scene. What identifies the 400-mile radius around Santa Fe for Sundquist?
“One that instantly pops in my mind is I feel the people who are growing here have a very high reverence for the land that I have not seen in other places I have lived,” she said.