Fulton Commons will provide critical infrastructure for Western PA food entrepreneurs—specialty food producers, bakers, prepared meal companies, caterers, and food trucks—to grow and succeed. Key resources we are providing include access to commercial kitchen equipment and prep stations, food storage, office space, and business incubation services at a much lower cost than building out one's own space. We are set to launch this fall. However, to maximize our impact, we seek to acquire additional kitchen equipment and support the launch of our business incubation services program through this Kickstarter campaign. Thank you for your support.
We're Brian and Irwin Mendelssohn, brothers who work together and share a love for Pittsburgh.
Through our work at Row House Cinema and Bierport and getting to know our neighbors, we’ve made connections to chefs, bakers, artists, freelance workers, small businesses, and nonprofits. And over the years, we’ve learned about the obstacles they run into when it comes to where and how they work. Food entrepreneurs, for instance, seeking to scale up but not yet ready to build out their own space and sign a long-term lease are in a tough spot. And running an independent business can be isolating. So we've decided to bring these different groups of people together and provide a place where they could overcome these obstacles and love to come to work. That place is Fulton Commons.
Fulton Commons is an 18,800 square foot kitchen incubator, coworking office space, and art studio opening this fall in Pittsburgh's historic Manchester neighborhood on the North Side.
It will be a workplace with flexible membership options, an unbeatable atmosphere, and a vibrant community for growing local businesses, independent entrepreneurs, nonprofits, and more.
From shared kitchen membership to personal desks, private offices, and art studios, Fulton Commons offers members the perfect option for their organization and budget.
Kitchen Members will have individual prep stations alongside access to an array of commercial cooking equipment, storage space (dry, cold, frozen), coworking space, conference rooms, and business incubation services. Food Trucks will have access to ice, fresh water, and grey water disposal.
Coworking Members will have access to shared communal workspaces, personal desks, and private offices, depending on their membership structure.
Art Studio Members will have partitioned space in an open artist studio flooded with northern light.
We’re located in Manchester on Pittsburgh's North Side at 1546 Fulton Street. The location is easily accessible from across the region, just off the Three Rivers Heritage Trail, 65, 28 and 1-279, and is part of a historic neighborhood.
Our building is unique. It's an old elementary school from the 1940s and we’ve preserved key design elements throughout the space. A portion of the coworking space explicitly embraces the 1940s schoolhouse style. Former classroom doors have been repurposed as office doors.
The kitchen incubator, replacing what had been the school's cafeteria, features stations for 30 food businesses. We have a dedicated photo studio with gorgeous natural light and a food photography table to support our member's marketing efforts as well.
The Coworking portion of Fulton Commons is split into different areas, or neighborhoods, each with its own style, from 1940s schoolhouse to 1920s Miami and from antique library to Wes Anderson-inspired. Our aim is for members to have flexibility to change scenery throughout the day and for workspace to be a place they want to be. Inspiration for two of the designs is below:
Fulton Commons will be more than just a space. It will be a regional hub for creatives, makers, and entrepreneurs of all kinds. Our members will have access to business planning workshops to strengthen their organizations and social events to help build community. The curriculum will focus on a combination of food industry-specific and general business management topics.
Help us build a new kind of coworking community. Your donations will help us make Fulton Commons a reality, providing the best experience possible to as many members as possible.
Your money will go towards:
- Providing state-of-the-art kitchen equipment for our members
- Launching our business incubation services
Plus, you'll get to take your pick from our awesome set of rewards. Thanks again for your support!
- Pittsburgh City Paper (7/19): Sibling duo behind Row House Cinema and Bierport are turning an old elementary school into a creative incubator
- Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (7/17): "The Folks behind Row House Cinema taking on Manchester in opening a giant commissary kitchen"
- TribLIVE (4/19): "Fulton Commons to bring kitchen incubator, coworking space, artist studios to North Side"
- NEXTpittsburgh (4/15): "Fulton Commons, combining a kitchen incubator, coworking space and office studios, opening on the North Side this summer"
- Pittsburgh Business Times (3/29): "Local developer turning former Catholic school into coworking kitchen"
Risks and challenges
While we're confident that Fulton Commons will open this fall, the space's ongoing success depends on our ability to attract members and maintain members. A related challenge is that the ongoing success of the kitchen portion of the space is linked to the success of the local food movement in the Pittsburgh region: If consumer demand for local food were to decline, demand for makers using our kitchen space could decline as well. We are optimistic that the demand for local food in the Pittsburgh region will continue to grow. However, we mitigate this risk by having coworking office space as a material driver of revenue for Fulton Commons alongside the kitchen incubator. Were there weakness in kitchen incubator revenue, this has the potential to be offset by office revenue (and vice-versa).Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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