Cache Valley, Utah, has a number of small “agribusinesses” that have unique products but no commercial kitchen to prepare them in. Many businesses rent spaces in restaurants but the accompanying fees are burdensome. In order to prepare products according to local and federal health code and package them properly, such businesses need a commercial kitchen with flexible accessibility.
Through a Rural Business Enterprise Grant, USDA Rural Development provided Bridgerland Applied Technology College $30,000 for the Cache Business Resource Center Kitchen Incubator. The Center purchased new equipment, providing small businesses with the opportunity to prepare product in a professional commercial kitchen, one which meets current Food and Drug Administration standards. The incubator has been in operation since 2011 and the new equipment ensures products are up to the highest standard of cleanliness and quality.
Many businesses begin with an idea. Or in the case of food products, a recipe. According to food safety regulations, food products must not be made in a home kitchen, where contamination is a common threat. On a case-by-case basis and available for rent by the day, the Kitchen Incubator provides the space and equipment to get a business started and produce consistently excellent products.
In addition to the kitchen, the Cache Business Resource Center (CBRC) offers planning and licensing assistance for free, provided by local volunteers. This help is extremely valuable to those with little or no business experience.
Cindy Roberts, Coordinator for the CBRC, has seen a lot of success result from the use of the kitchen. “Our tenants love it,” she said, “Some of the people come in with business background or have been selling their product already and just need the services of the kitchen or with packaging. Some need help finding financing, mentoring, or counseling and they receive one-on-one instruction with the Center.”