Starting a food business can be tough because of the expense of operating out of a licensed space. A new project in Roanoke is hoping to lower that barrier to entry for early-stage food businesses in the region.
A new shared commercial kitchen is opening in Roanoke. It's been dubbed simply “The Kitchen”, and it's designed with entrepreneurs in mind.
“The Kitchen is a shared commercial kitchen and food business incubator located in West End neighborhood of Roanoke and the aim of it is to support, develop, be a resource for people, entrepreneurs who are planning to start food businesses,” says Maureen Best, the Executive Director for LEAP, a local nonprofit supervising the project.
She says the goal is to support new food businesses of all kinds during their first two to three years of operation. “Possible businesses that could use the space could be a mobile food truck that's using it as a commissary, to prep food to fill up the water tanks, it could be for a catering operation for food prep, it could be farmers who are wanting to process in season bounty to be able to sell say salsa at a farmer's market or canned peaches,” says Best.
The Kitchen also hopes to eventually provide scholarships to support low-income food entrepreneurs in the area.