This award honors a Chamber member business person who shows outstanding business acumen and strong leadership in business and community efforts. This person is a champion for economic development, constantly strives to exceed customer expectations, delivers industry leading standards of service and quality, and exhibits innovation in business development.
Antonia Armenta-Miller grew up in her parents’ restaurant and catering company. With more than 35 years of experience as a Master Chef, as well as experience in pastry and hospitality, Armenta-Miller has served as a personal chef for the “global elite and politicos,” been a “back country gourmet” in the Wyoming wilderness and finally decided to become a “food trucker” when she and her husband tired of the private service sector and seasonal work.
Armenta-Miller said the success of her business is not one-sided. Her husband, Brian, has been a major influence. Armenta-Miller says he is a jack of all trades and master of many.
“His construction and mechanical skills have literally built our business from the ground up,” she said. “And the original vision for Bonafide, from the name to the concept, started with him.”
The idea for Bonafide Foods, LLC, was born during a high-elevation, five-day mountain blizzard. The couple and a friend were watching Food Network, dreaming of warmer days and an easier way to make a living.
“We all thought owning a traveling food business sounded like a great idea,” Armenta-Miller said. “Little did we know that five short years later we would both make that mobile vending dream a reality.”
While involved in the local foods market and network, the couple realized producers needed a larger commercial outlet for their produce and products to stay viable, and community members needed genuine local foods. With their entire life savings and lots of hard work the Bonafide Food Truck was born. After their first summer on the street, Armenta-Miller added catering services to make it a year-round venture.
According to Armenta-Miller, Bonafide serves the community by purchasing over $40,000 in local meats and produce each year.
“We believe it’s a fundamental part of our success to help our other producers and food artisans have an outlet for their produce, eggs and meat products,” Armenta-Miller explained. “Our clients get the freshest of foods, and our community partners can make a viable living off of their product.”
The duo has served on the Sheridan Farmers Market Steering Committee and Local Foods Board and has been active in projects for Rooted in Wyoming and Pheasants Forever. They also help other mobile vendors by providing advice via the FOODTRUCKR network, for which they also serve as leaders in the nationwide mentorship program.
In 2019, Armenta-Miller and her husband purchased property for a permanent home base and to establish a community commissary kitchen for their business and other mobile vendors and producers to use.
“To be a leader in any business realm, we believe that you must invest in your community, be personable, approachable, kind and willing to help your fellow man,” Armenta-Miller said. “Often times the food service and restaurant industry is very competitive and sometimes even cutthroat. When we started food trucking in Sheridan, the mobile vending rules had not even been established — participating in that and helping to bring a voice of experience from outside our region made that a great process for us and all the others who will come after us. We feel that solid conversation, mentorship and helping each other by participating as much as possible in your community helps create solid business acumen and sound leadership.”
This content was provided by Sheridan County Chamber of Commerce for the 2020 Community Guide, a magazine created by the Chamber and The Sheridan Press. Pick up a free copy at The Press, the Chamber or in magazine racks throughout Sheridan County.