Buffalo, NY – Mayor Byron W. Brown today announced the Westminster Economic Development Initiative (WEDI) has been selected to operate the new Kitchen @ the Market, a commercial kitchen which offer culinary entrepreneurs with commercial food production and storage space.
The new $464,000 Kitchen @ the Market is expected to open in March.
“This significant investment at the historic Broadway Market is a key part of my Administration’s plan to ensure the market remains healthy and vibrant for all of us, now and into the future. This new commercial kitchen will provide a venue for our City’s next generation of food entrepreneurs, and add a unique new element to the iconic market,” Mayor Brown said.
The Kitchen @ the Market is meant to bridge the gap for up and coming food producers who have outgrown their home kitchens, but aren’t ready to set up their own commercial kitchens, according to Broadway Market Manager Kathy Peterson.
“This kitchen will be a wonderful small business development tool because it will allow small food entrepreneurs to make their products in a licensed kitchen and sell to the public. It also gives us a new element for public programming on Saturdays, such as visiting chef demonstrations and healthy cooking demonstrations,” Peterson said.
The 800-square-foot kitchen is outfitted with commercial stoves, ovens, cooler and freezers, and has abundant prep space to accommodate more than one entrepreneurs at a time. Space will be able to be booked by the hour, creating flexibility for start-up food producers.
The City of Buffalo and the Friends of the Broadway Market selected WEDI due to its over 6 years of experience creating and operating the West Side Bazaar, which contains a shared commercial kitchen for restauranteurs who provide fresh meals on-site.
WEDI maintains a pipeline of over 100 prospective foodservice or commercial food production businesses and can share its programming with this project to ensure smooth operations.
“Through the West Side Bazaar and its business support programming, including microlending, WEDI has established strong relationships with nascent food entrepreneurs and looks forward to the exciting potential of this new commissary kitchen. Community members from all over the City are now able to access not only a commissary kitchen, but also WEDI’s wraparound support in scaling their businesses,” Benjamin Bissell, Executive Director of WEDI said.
Among WEDI’s responsibilities will be to hire a part-time manager for the Kitchen @ The Market. The project will be paid for through a $60,000, two-year grant the Friends of the Broadway Market District received in 2018 from the United Way of Buffalo & Erie County. That grant came out of a partnership between the United Way and the General Mills Foundation to improve local food security by supporting projects that address food access and affordability, and that help to increase employment, ownership and entrepreneurship opportunities related to food in high-need neighborhoods.
The Broadway Market is now home to 40 full-time retailers, with 50 more setting up shop for the Christmas and Easter holiday seasons.
The City has invested more than $2.6 million at the Broadway Market since 2009, with $550,000 currently being invested in a new police sub-station, plus another $1.1 million for upcoming façade reconstruction.