One of only a handful of large-scale kitchen incubators in the country, the Center for Culinary Enterprises (CCE) will bring resources for food entrepreneurs and employment opportunities to the Philadelphia area. The CCE is part of several projects spearheaded by The Enterprise Center – Community Development Corporation (TEC-CDC) to focus on the food economy and improve food access to residents in West Philadelphia and beyond.
The Center aims to incorporate local resources into every aspect of the project. Construction started in October 2011, and TEC-CDC awarded the job to a locally-based construction company that is a certified Minority Business Enterprise—Perryman Building and Construction Services, Inc.
Located on 48th Street between Spruce and Pine Streets, CCE will have over 13,000 square feet total, with about 6,600 square feet of rental kitchen spaces for food entrepreneurs to cook and bake with certified, high-quality kitchen appliances. The Center will also include a youth-training restaurant and a multimedia classroom. In addition, two retail spaces will house local businesses.
TEC-CDC’s Walnut Hill Community Farm, started in March 2010, may provide local produce for the center during the growing season. TEC-CDC currently works with local youth to operate the farm and sell produce from a farm stand on-site, a second farm stand in Center City (via a partnership with SEPTA), and a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) box program in the community.
TEC-CDC’s Philly Food Ventures is a program for food entrepreneurs at all stages of their business that gives advice and guidance to build a sustainable small food business. Steve Horton, Business Support Services Manager at TEC says that the program “helps cultivate and grow micro-food ventures by providing technical assistance designed to help launch successful businesses.” When CCE opens next summer, these entrepreneurs will have the opportunity to use CCE’s certified kitchen space for food production.
University of Pennsylvania’s food service provider, Bon Appetit, has committed to purchasing a significant amount of baked goods from the CCE’s clients. Bon Appetit is a company with a strong commitment to local food and local employment, as well as socially responsible business practices. “A lot of the smaller businesses in the area would like a larger consistent customer base, and this contract will do that” says Paul Marcus, lending manager for LISC.
CCE is one of a few kitchen incubators in the country to contract food services, according to Greg Heller, Project Manager for CCE. “The fact that we are opening up with contracts with the University of Pennsylvania will be huge for the community,” Heller said, due to the fact that it will create the potential for client bakers to quickly ramp up their business, creating jobs. The Center is projected to create about 45 jobs on-site (13 full-time and 32 part-time positions), while the business clients who utilize the shared-use kitchens are projected to crate between 36 and 63 jobs annually.
For more information, visit philafood.org or contact Greg Heller at The Enterprise Center CDC (215-895-4075 or firstname.lastname@example.org).