Alumni Profile: Alumna’s Yogurt Business Inspired by Family Farm

By Alaina Uricheck ’24
Spring Summer 2022 Issue

Stephanie Painter ?16 Stephanie Painter ’16Stephanie Painter ’16 and her sister, Haley, recently launched a unique yogurt business: Painterland Sisters Organic Skyr Yogurt. (Haley) Painter says it is “the only single-sourced Skyr yogurt in the country and the only organic, double cream and lactose-free yogurt in the world.”

At Susquehanna, Painter was a business administration major with an emphasis in marketing. She says she used the knowledge she gained from her time at SU to help launch the company and its line of Icelandic-style yogurts.

“Susquehanna’s business program did help build my confidence and knowledge to accomplish my goals,” Painter says. “Writing a business plan and explaining that plan to a group of people is incredibly important, and my class with Professor (Jerrell) Habegger prepared me for it.”

The Painter sisters grew up on Painterland Farms, a fourth-generation dairy farm in Tioga County, Pennsylvania. They work with a Skyr yogurt maker who has the special equipment required for the ultrafiltration process. Commonly used in Iceland, ultrafiltration pasteurizes the yogurt and adds enzymes, culture and probiotics. Because the yogurt is filtered with pressure, it loses water and lactose while maintaining nutrients. The sisters do not need to use any thickeners, avoid all nonnutritives and only add organic cane sugar to their yogurt.

“We aim to preserve, showcase and utilize our family’s organic dairy and crop farm,” Painter adds, “and to help others understand and appreciate sustainable agriculture and the gifts that it provides.”

With their product already on the shelves of over 70 independent retailers and nearly 200 GIANT stores, the sisters plan to go national. “Our goal is to connect the disconnected by offering consumers a direct connection to the source of their food — the American farmer,” Painter says. “We are beyond appreciative and humbled by the people we have gotten to work with on this journey. The future is full of possibilities and opportunities; we aim to fulfill our mission and create positive change in this world.”

Painter also has advice for SU students considering starting their own business.

“If you feel it in your gut, go for it! Don’t wait until you are ‘ready.’ There’s no such thing,” she says. “You also need to network. Just start talking to people and you will find people who naturally align with you, and then they will refer you to other people. People need people to build amazing things.”

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