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Sussex County looking into starting a kitchen incubator

Milton Pratt
Delaware Public Media

Sussex County is looking to support some small businesses through a kitchen incubator.

Kitchen incubators are non-profit commercial kitchens that allow small food business owners a way to expand production without spending loads of money on their own commercial supplies.


The Sussex County Economic Development Office wants to launch a kitchen similar to ones in big cities around the country.


One such example is in Boston, know as the CommonWealth Kitchen. They offer members the opporitunity to rent kitchens space and utilize commercial equipment to do batch baked goods, prepare spice blends and prep food for a food truck or catering busisness for the week ahead.


The CommonWealth Kitchen also offers value-added processing for famers. An example would be a basil farmer hiring the kitchen to use their crop to make pesto the farmer could then sell to their customers at a great price than raw basil.


The kitchen is a cost effective way for small buisnesses to grow from a small hustle done in their home to a larger operation.


In a presentation to the Sussex County Council Tuesday, economic development director Bill Pfaff said this type of incubator will bring more business to the county.


“I think there’s potential for jobs but I also think there’s huge potential for business expansions and business creation which again, down the line, will create jobs.”


Pfaff adds he wants to focus heavily on marketing the incubator to small business owners and farmers looking to expand their operations. The office recently received an offer to buy a food truck to use as a marketing prop for the kitchen.


He also says the kitchen incubator model allows for members of the kitchen to participate in shared purchasing of bulk goods, allowing all the cooks to get ingredients cheaper than they would if they purchased them alone.


The project already received state funding, and will soon seek the rest of the money needed to start the operation from Sussex County.


Pfaff says his office is already talking with small businesses around the county with interest in the kitchen incubator.

Roman Battaglia grew up in Portland, Ore, and now reports for Delaware Public Media as a Report For America corps member. He focuses on politics, elections and legislation activity at the local, county and state levels.