Tuesday, June 11, 2013
Tacoma Incubator Opportunity Machine
Bridgett Crews, co-owner of the newly established Free- Range Kitchen, the first culinary incubator in Tacoma, presented to the Tacoma City Council’s Economic Development Committee. The Free- Range Kitchen provides a small, commercial kitchen space to Tacoma area culinary entrepreneurs who are just starting out. The incubator provides “small-scale food producers access to shared, rentable resources in an effort to eliminate the deterrent of high start-up costs and inaccessible resources” (Gallagher, 2013).
The incubator provides a network filled with opportunities, aids new entrepreneurs on the confusing process of starting a business, and “takes care of the overhead costs, so you can focus on making good food,” said Crews.
Crews also mentioned that many food vendors who currently sell their products at Tacoma’s seasonal farmers markets want to sell year round, regardless of the rain, suggesting the need for an open market space in Tacoma.
You might recall last October when we discussed the Urban Land Institute’s presentation to the Committee regarding economic development for Tacoma’s Brewery District. The Brewery District is the area south of downtown and adjacent to the University of Washington, Tacoma campus and the Dome District.
In the presentation, it was noted that the district had many historic buildings that could be transformed and used for entertainment, regular events, such as indoor markets, and recreational centers. The presentation and corresponding report recommended the City partner with a private developer and create a new market for these buildings. Councilman Boe also mentioned the ULI’s report, noting opportunities with participating property owners and how the Rite Aid parking lot had the potential for an open-air market.
“Tacoma is a well spring of creative, imaginative minds… the incubator serves as an opportunity machine,” said Crews, helping food producers launch their businesses.
Gallagher, A. (2013). Memorandum to T.C. Broadnax, City Manager: Culinary Incubator Update. City of Tacoma.