Second NKY incubator kitchen focuses on helping small food companies get started


Two years ago, Rachel DesRochers of Grateful Grahams opened the Northern Kentucky Incubator Kitchen to help local food producers get their products off the ground. She is continuing that goal with a second, smaller incubator kitchen located in St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Newport.
 
The Hatchery is a micro incubator — a place where new businesses can start to “hatch” their ideas. It’s much smaller than the 5,000-square-foot NKYIK, making it the perfect space for small business owners to get their feet wet.

Across the river, Findlay Market’s larger kitchen incubator (8,000 square feet with 10 kitchen areas) is about a month away from opening its doors.
 
“We’re seeing companies that have an idea and have worked out of a lot of the kinks in their home kitchens but now they’re ready to take a step into a commercial kitchen,” DesRochers says.
 
Her goal is to have about six tenants in the kitchen, each for 40-60 hours per week. Three have signed leases and are scheduled to move in this month: Firecracker Bakery, Grass Fed Gourmet and Passion in my Pans. Three other businesses have shown interest in The Hatchery.
 
“I hope that The Hatchery brings a new launch pad to the region,” DesRochers says. “The more launch pads we can create, the more companies that are willing to put their dreams into action. If we can help create sustainable growth plans one-on-one with these companies, we can create long-term sustainable companies.”
 
DesRochers spends a lot of time meeting, sharing and helping new companies come up with a game plan. She guides them through the process so they’re not stressed about paying rent or getting insurance.
 
Between The Hatchery and NKYIK, DesRochers is starting to look at how she can further build out community programs and help serve more “foodpreneurs.” In February, she’s starting Kitchen Convos, an intimate conversation about the food industry. Tickets are $5 and are available here. (If you can’t make the event, stay tuned for the Kitchen Convos podcast to be produced by Unravel Productions.)
 

Read more articles by Caitlin Koenig.

Caitlin Koenig is a Cincinnati transplant and 2012 grad of the School of Journalism at the University of Missouri. She's the department editor for Soapbox Media and currently lives in Northside with her husband, Andrew, and their three furry children. Follow Caitlin on Twitter at @caite_13.  
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