$1 million shared kitchen incubator will give food entrepreneurs new start to expand businesses

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ANDERSON, SC (WSPA)–The City of Anderson has been awarded $1 million in federal grants funds, that will be used to construct a shared kitchen incubator in the heart of downtown.

This will be Anderson’s first full-service innovative epicenter that will allow food creators to put their minds to work and put themselves on the map.

“We received a $1 million in grant funding. $500,000 from the Appalachian Regional Commission or ARC, and $500,000 from the USDA Rural Business Development Grant program,” said Mary Haley Thompson, Project Manager for the City of Anderson Economic Development.

The licensed commercial space will provide a pathway for food entrepreneurs like Daniela Zographos, who has been making cake pops in her at-home kitchen for years.

“I work from my home right now, which means I fall under the South Carolina Cottage Food Law, and they kind of corned me. I can’t expand my business, because I make everything from home which they allow it, and it’s not an inspected kitchen,” said Zographos, Owner of Yumsies Cake Pops.

Thompson said the South Carolina Cottage Food Law states entrepreneurs can have food businesses out of their homes, but they can only make up to around $15,000 a year. They’re not allowed to retail any of their products in big box or small stores, but the game will change with this space.

“The front will be a small area for retail space, pop-up space where entrepreneurs can sell or display those products. And then there will be two large kitchens for entrepreneurs to rent out,” Thompson said.

Tim Davis is the creator of Timonade. Davis has been traveling to Greenville every week to make his product in a shared kitchen space there, which he states is a hassle.

“When you have a lot of equipment needs and a lot of packing up and loading and unloading and going back and forth, that can be a task sometimes. So having a shared kitchen down here in Anderson will meet the needs of a lot of people in this area,” Davis said.

Whether it’s a cake pop or a holistic juice, the shared kitchen incubator will allow food creators to transform their brands.

“So having this kitchen, means I can expand my business by selling out of state, putting my product in stores and expanding my menu,” Zographos said.

The space will also put their Anderson County home-grown products on any shelf in the world.

“And that’s what shared kitchens do; they help you grow. They’re going to give you all the materials that you need. All the resources that you need. All the connections that you need,” Davis added.

Construction is slated to begin by the end of this year, and it will all be completed by the spring or summer of 2021.

Anderson’s Economic Development Commission will run the shared kitchen incubator. They haven’t laid out a concrete price for kitchen rentals just yet. However, the city said they will ensure it’s affordable for all entrepreneurs.

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