A new business in Amherst provides space and equipment to help other local entrepreneurs launch their own food-related endeavors.
Formerly known as the New Village Bakery, The Village Hive is the first shared-use kitchen in Portage County. The licensed commercial kitchen is for rent, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Shared-use kitchens are certified, fully equipped, and can be used by growers, pizza makers, wedding and birthday cakes designers, food processors, bakers, caterers, restaurants, chefs, special food vendors and groups.
The Village Hive is located at 127 Main St. It is currently open to retail customers from 6:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday through Saturday. Hours will change as the business grows.
“New businesses can lease space and have the option of marketing their food products cooperatively through the retail store attached to the kitchen,” said Amy Powers, the owner of The Village Hive. “This is an opportunity for food entrepreneurs to produce and sell their food products in a supportive atmosphere.”
Currently, The Village Hive hosts tenants such as Baking for Friends, a business specializing in pies and sweets, Sweet Elegance by Diana, which offers several varieties of handmade toffees especially packaged for use as holiday gifts, and a small enterprise offering fresh soups, bread and rolls.
Within the next few weeks, there will be the addition of Fiddle Breads and Ginger Hag Ovens. In the wings are the possibility of Kombucha, a health drink, and even a cheese maker.
Customers are all ready buzzing about the business as one person after another comes in for cookies, pies, shortbread and other delicious treats.
One customer comes in asking for cashew-caramel toffee, which Powers regretfully tells her just sold out.
Bebe Mosillo hides the two bags that she just purchased behind her back and says, “I got the last ones and I can run fast.”
While Powers greets each of her customers with a welcoming smile and an explanation of the new business, Mosillo, taps her on the shoulder and says, “What a great idea this is. But, I want you to know, it does not matter what you are selling, people are coming here to see you.”
“It’s a lot of fun being here,” said Powers.
“It’s important right now to get people in here and selling,” she said. “I want this to be a huge success.”
Powers’ role will be organizing and marketing, and the enthusiasm shows on her face when she talks about her new endeavor.
“I was cleaning the place up and I thought to myself, I bet a town with only 1,000 people could support a lot of small businesses,” Powers said. “There will always be new people that want to start a new business and it gets to be quite pricey. A shared kitchen makes it much more manageable for everyone. It’s exciting to see people starting their dream.”
Space is still open for food entrepreneurs interested in starting or moving their business to a licensed kitchen. For an application and a tour of the kitchen, contact Amy Powers at 715-824-3006 or firstname.lastname@example.org.