UPDATE: We have stretch goals! This is what we will do with everything we raise over the $40,000:
1. We are going to build a cookbook library (open to anyone). Shelves, books (oh the books!), and buy some comfortable chairs.
2. If we get to $50,000, we are going to build an official demonstration kitchen station so all makers and guests can have the best experience with the cooking classes, workshops, and more. There will be equipment (the more money, the better this part will be) so our food and drink makers (and you!) can record quality demonstrations, vlogs, cooking shows, etc.
Okay... here is our story:
Food brings people together, nourishes bodies and souls, and creates a wealth of economic opportunities for everyone from local growers to cooks, bakers, and roasters. The Commissary is a place created especially for people that love, work with, and live all things food and drink.
- A commercial kitchen, storage, and event space for hire;
- a co-working space for food makers;
- a base camp for small businesses; and
- a connection point for the Central Ohio food community.
In the beginning...
The Commissary began as an idea of where culinary student Kate wanted to be instead of classroom kitchens.
Kate: When I was in culinary school, I had dreams of opening a butcher shop that would make stocks, sausages, and basic mise en place out of local ingredients. I wanted chefs and farmers and produce companies to be able to experiment in that space. I plotted out all of the parts of the business that I still needed to learn before jumping in, and then life intervened. I’ve worked my way through that list since.
When my first son was born, I made all of his baby food with ingredients from my favorite farms. I looked into selling the food at a farmers’ market, but regulations require all frozen foods be prepared and stored in a commercial kitchen. At the time, I couldn’t find any restaurants that were willing to let me rent space in the off hours. The light bulb flickered back on and ever since I have been making plans and meeting people who need this space to happen just as much as I want it to.
At first, The Commissary was going to be in a gorgeous space on Town St in Franklinton, but after some time I had to acknowledge that the fit was not right. At the same time, Steve and I started talking more seriously about a partnership.
Steve: For nearly a decade I worked in an asset management office where I provided financial, administrative, and compliance services for a number of independent representatives. Essentially, my job was to enable those representatives to focus on the core aspects of building their businesses. For all of those years, I drove by 1400 Dublin Road every day and imagined the possibilities of that space. After a big career change into the food truck world and time spent working next to other truck owners, I realized that many food makers need that same sort of back office support and 1400 Dublin Road would be the perfect place to make that happen.
Together, we have made The Commissary a place where the possibilities include:
- Entrepreneurial chefs can try out new dishes and gain the experience they need to open their own restaurants with substantially less financial risk.
- Cooks and bakers will be able to teach a variety of classes covering everything from theory to hands-on techniques.
- Established restaurants can experiment with new concepts or create special meals for a select clientele without disrupting their establishment.
- Community organizations, companies, and decision makers can meet, taste, network, and work on ways to make our city safer, happier, and more delicious.
- Entrepreneurs can share their experiences, ask questions, and get support from the community.
- There are so many more things that can happen, like team building activities, community outreach, networking events, private parties, photo shoots and marketing, and on and on…
In creating The Commissary, we want to contribute to the energy and momentum of the food community in Columbus and open doors to growth as yet only imagined. That said, it truly does take a village to get our dream off the ground, and we couldn't have gotten this far without all of those people who believed in us, helped us get established, and continue to help us grow. We look forward to a lifetime of bringing people together over food, and to growing our list of partners—both in profession and in spirit—day by day, week by week, year after year. We hope you join us.
We have been working on The Commissary for a while. When we began planning out all of the spaces in The Commissary, another business was partnering with us to complete a spectacular tasting room/event space. When they needed to slow their timeline down and ultimately pull out of the project, we were left with so much possibility and not enough room in the budget to make everything happen. Be our partner! Let’s work together to make this exciting space a reality.
Construction is really progressing on over 2000 sq ft of kitchen space, an experimental brewery, and roasting space; the storage space for equipment, trucks, carts, and inventory; co-working office spaces; and more. We need you in order to create the belly of the business: a space for the community to gather, network, learn, collaborate, taste...
This Kickstarter fundraiser is all or *gulp* nothing: if we don't reach our goal, we will not receive any of the donations pledged, your credit card will not be charged, and the special dining events we have planned will not happen as scheduled. If we do reach our goal (yay!), your credit card will be charged when the campaign ends on July 10th. To the right you'll find a list of rewards and special dining events for different levels of pledges. Please help us take this space from a dream and turn it into a reality!
How will the money be spent?
We have a 1200 sq ft construction zone to convert into a community space before anyone gets to gather and dine:
- Tables and chairs
- China, glassware, flatware
- Lighting and interior finishes
- AV equipment
- Demonstration equipment
- Beer taps and cooler
- Licenses and permits
It all adds up. The more we can gather, the more we can share with the diverse community that will fill this space.
We will be working with local craftsmen and craftswomen (and some successful Kickstarters) to make this community event space perfectly local. For example, Griffen Hollow Studios has been designing tables that will make you want to pull up a chair. They will also be carving the names and messages of each of our supporters into wooden spoons to be hung up in a great big public display of our affection – I mean art. Affectionate art, perhaps. Alison Rose will be screenprinting some swag. Valerie Starr is one of the local artists that will be filling our walls with lovely art. Igloo Letterpress's beautiful prints will beautifying our walls (and possibly yours too!).
The architectural plans have already been approved and construction of the kitchens in The Commissary is moving so fast. We have food makers committed to fill this event space calendar with all manner of special dining experiences.
When will the parties start?
June/July: Construction of The Commissary continues.
August: Fill the kitchens with equipment, the event space with tables, pass our final inspections, and host a helluva grand opening party!
September/October: Special dining events begin!
Thank you for taking the time to learn about The Commissary and our fundraising campaign. We are so excited about seeing this space transform into a gathering place for the community and are grateful for your support. For real.
Kate & Steve
More about the rewards (updated frequently):
Risks and challenges
Every project has potential obstacles. These are a few risks to The Commissary's community space:
Kitchen incubators are fairly young as far as business concepts go. We have done extensive research, toured several facilities around the state, and talked with even more around the country. We have made many of our business decisions and forecasts by drawing on our business experiences, feedback from our networks, and this research. However, we don't know enough about the long term challenges for kitchen incubators to know what we don't know yet.
We are building a business based on serving small businesses. Their problems are our problems. We want to create an environment that presents those businesses with many opportunities to grow and thrive. To do so means that we can only be as successful as the businesses that fill our kitchens.
Marble Cliff is willing to take a chance on a kitchen incubator and food truck base camp in their safe village boundaries. The Commissary will need to prove itself as a good neighbor to any that may be nervous we may be too loud or smelly. Not doing so could result in limitations on our business.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
I want to buy extra wooden spoons to be engraved with the names of my family and friends. How do I do that?
This is great! If you have not already pledged, please select the level that you want to pledge from the options at the bottom of the screen. In the "Enter your pledge amount", put the total of your level + $15 for each additional wooden spoon you would like.
If you have already pledged, you can click “Manage Your Pledge.” Enter a new amount in the pledge amount box (the total of the reward level that you want + $15 for each wooden spoon you would like engraved). Note that you are not adding to your existing pledge; the amount you enter will be the total amount collected if the project is successfully funded.
Thank you for your support!
While we do have many secure parking spaces for food trucks and kitchen space for rent, that is perhaps where the similarity with the Food Fort ends. The Commissary will have many spaces ripe for collaboration, experimentation, and growth: a brewing space; coffee roasting space; a variety of specialized kitchen equipment (both time saving and fun stuff); dishwashers (the equipment and the staff); an organized indoor loading and unloading area for food trucks, caterers, and delivery trucks; office space with a variety of technology; a focus on sustainability; washer and dryer; a shower; and also the community event space that is the very thing we are trying to Kickstart. While the Food Fort's mission focuses on mobile trucks, we are reaching out to a variety of food makers, growers, and eaters to fill our space. Food Fort's success speaks to the level of need for that one community, and we at The Commissary can't wait to fill the many needs left unserved.
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