After starting a BBQ sauce and rub business and working with a peach and apple orchard, Aaron Distler decided it was time to take a dedicated leap into creating his own pasta business, Mr. Aaron’s Goods. One day, he came across a listing for a commercial pasta extruder in Tuscaloosa, Ala., rented a truck the next day and picked it up. Using the Avancini TRD110, Distler is able to produce 88 pounds of pasta an hour. Distler works with chefs in the Nashville area to develop custom pastas made from fresh mill grains and out-of-the-box ingredients. If you order pasta at popular restaurants like Deacon’s New South or Acme Feed & Seed, you’re eating Mr. Aaron’s Goods!
- What inspired you to get into foodservice?
“My Aunt Patty. She was an amazing cook and would make food for the Catholic Church and school I was in up until 5th grade; she’d make meals for funerals. We bonded over her chicken and beef noodle soups and fried chicken. The other reason was sheer luck. I found a commercial pasta extruder and my hours got cut running a seasonal orchard at my old job, so I jumped in headfirst.”
- What do you love about your business?
“I love my customers. Making friends with families, supplying them with pastas that their babies try for the first time and giving them recipes to try. My buddy Tom Lazzaro from Lazzaroli’s is a real inspiration on how to treat your customers. I always loved how kind and helpful he was. Pay it forward!”
- What’s the most interesting thing to happen to your business?
“Right in the thick of the pandemic when folks weren’t leaving their houses, I was doing home deliveries and Chef Sean Brock posted my pasta on his Instagram stories and said that I make the best extruded pasta. That was a game changer and helped my business grow so much! I got to make a hundred pounds of mafaldine (a ribbon-shaped pasta) for him a little bit later that I donated to feed musicians and crew who were out of work due to the pandemic. That’s why I moved to Nashville originally; those are my people and it was great to be able to feed folks and help out.”
- What was the biggest business challenge you overcame?
“Figuring out how to start a business as the world around us was falling apart. I left my job in November of 2019, was selling wholesale pasta to restaurants and then everything closed down. The over-used term “pivot” certainly came into play. I couldn’t have done it without my friend Ryan, owner of TKO in Nashville. He gave me a space to work out of and endless amounts of sage advice and creative ideas. I could never have done it without him.”
- What Cambro products help make your business work?
“Okay, I’m so obsessed with Cambro products. They are the best food storage products out there. Throw out all of your Grandma’s old Cool Whip containers, stained red from years of spaghetti sauce. Get rid of the Tupperware and buy Cambro Camwear®. I use an assortment of them. I blitz my tomatoes and store my sauces in the 8qt containers, and my pasta dies are stored in the 1/6 pans. All of my wholesale pasta goes out to restaurants in the full size pans, 6” deep holds 10# of fresh pasta perfectly. I weigh out my ingredients in the 18qt. and 8qt. round containers. My whole business revolves around Cambro.”
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