My mom played a part in everything good I’ve ever done.

She helped me open my first restaurant, preaching the importance of it representing an extension of my soul, and to ensure our customers felt like extended family. She may have been my mom but to countless others in our little mountain town of Lyons, Colorado, she was a surrogate grandma, sister, mother, friend. To everyone she was Yaya, and to us all, Yaya was an unrivaled force of nature and source of love.

Stuvz is my tribute to Yaya, and a pure portrayal of the life lessons she passed on:

Protect your family. Support your community. Be positive. Listen intently. Follow your heart and when someone doubts you, use their negativity as added fuel to stoke your inner-fire and sense of purpose.

Yaya encouraged me to put craft beer in a can when everyone else said I was a fool.

Thanks to her and the legions of craft beer business naysayers, I had no shortage of motivation as I followed my dream, found success in the beer world, and brought a revolution to the industry along the way.

When historic floods decimated Lyons and nearby Longmont, I channeled my inner-Yaya:

I reached out, dug in, and got my hands dirty. I started a foundation and began dishing out financial support. No paperwork, no qualifiers, just a helping hand to the communities that had always been there for my family. Some folks said I couldn’t operate a charity that way. I didn’t care. Their skepticism only strengthened my resolve to help those in need.

As this pandemic has placed us all in foreign territory, my default is to do what Yaya would do:

Protect my family. Support the community. Embrace the concerns of others. Light a fire in darkening days. Stuvz exists to do exactly that, starting with our health and hands. Like so many others, I am tired of hand sanitizer leaving my hands sticky, or dry and cracked, or smelling like a meth lab, or worse yet, all of the above. So I set out to create something that wouldn’t just keep my family safe, but would improve the health of our hands. The way I see it hand sanitizer is the newest daily necessity as we navigate this so-called ‘new normal’. So why can’t it be something we look forward to using and leaves us feeling better than before?

As Yaya said, it’s not just about our family, but anyone you can reach.

So I’m using proceeds from Stuvz to support folks in need from my community to yours. I call it Guerilla Philanthropy. It’s just a term I made up that embodies unqualified, unprejudiced, and unrestrained giving to people and organizations in need. No rhyme or reason, and no scope limited by bylaws, nor actions driven by political motivations, just pure giving for good. I call it StuvzLuvz. Have a worthy person or organization you’d like to support? Let’s talk. Speaking of made up terms, that brings me to our name. Why Stuvz? My son Pate started a business with his buddies in high school sewing pockets on ordinary t-shirts, they called it Stuvz. They took something basic and plain (i.e. ‘stuff’) and made it better and fresh (‘Stuvz’). From one business that started in our kitchen to another, the product may change but the people and the purpose remain. It’s a continual reminder to us all of where we started and what really matters. Got any other ideas for products that could use the Stuvz treatment? Drop a line to Pate. His t-shirt company may not have become an empire, but he deftly parlayed the naming rights into a gig coordinating Stuvz marketing efforts. Yaya would be proud.

So there you have it. Right now the world needs a better hand sanitizer so that’s what we’re going to make.

In the years to come, we’ll continue to explore products and areas that could use a boost and have the potential to generate the same amount of positive impact. All the while staying committed to supporting those in need. I hope you join us on our journey. Spread the love and share the Stuvz. It’s what Yaya would do.

– Dale Katechis, October 2020

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