It's the classic chicken-or-the-egg conundrum for food entrepreneurs: they're usually required to use commenercial kitchen facilities to prepare their goods, but many can't make the rent until their businesses are off the ground.
"Now Davison, the newly hired community kitchen coordinator at Eastern Market Corp., and Daniel, founder of FoodLab Detroit, are helping the next wave of food entrepreneurs tackle one of the biggest obstacles to growth in their industry: finding affordable, reliable commercial kitchen space....
Many local churches and nonprofits have commercial kitchens tucked away in their basements and back rooms -- even the Detroit Symphony Orchestra has one -- but finding them is all word of mouth. And even when entrepreneurs do find a kitchen, the owners don't always want to rent time because the additional usage increases utility costs and creates scheduling challenges...
It took Majid several months of looking -- he even considered building his own facility -- before he finally found a kitchen.
It was 90 miles away in Holt.
That experience is not uncommon for Detroit-area food businesses. In fact, seeing that struggle was one reason Daniel founded FoodLab Detroit, an informal community of nearly 300 area food producers focused on sustainability and social justice through food. Through her noodle shop, Daniel discovered the intense need for kitchen space and began informally brokering deals. "I started getting connected to all of these folks who wanted to offer their kitchen space or entrepreneurs who were seeking kitchen space," said Daniel, 28. "So I became this personal hub between the two. When I started FoodLab, it became the informal connector."