The Pasta Mama’s label began in 1986 when Diane Santillie decided to take her handmade pasta to Ariel’s Gourmet & Gifts in Richland, WA. Her handcrafted gourmet pasta sold as fast as Diane could make it. Soon, her regular customers starting calling her “Pasta Mama,” and the nickname became the brand.
In the fall of 1987, Pasta Mama’s entered the gift industry. Diane’s husband Paul attended gift shows all over the country, and sales grew substantially. In 1989, Pasta Mama’s was selected as Small Business of the Year for Eastern Washington.
In 1991, Pasta Mama’s was named Small Business of the Year for Washington State and joined winners from other states in a ceremony at the White House Rose Garden, joined by the 41st President of the United States, George H.W. Bush.
In the next few years, they outgrew three facilities and finally moved into an empty Rosauer’s grocery store building where they continued to grow, even exporting to Europe and other countries.
In 1994, on Paul’s 50th birthday, he suffered a broken neck in a hot-air balloon accident. In 1997, Paul and Diane were forced to discontinue the highly successful pasta business. Not a year went by that Diane and Paul weren’t asked where Pasta Mama’s could be purchased, or why they didn’t do it again…