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SBANE Innovation Finalist CropCircle Kitchen to CommonWealth Kitchen: Boston’s Food Business Accelerator is Expanding, Changing its Name, and Being Honored for its Impact

PRESS RELEASE: FOR IMMEDIATE DISTRIBUTION Contact: Jen Faigel, Executive Director CommonWealth Kitchen 617-522-7900 Jen@commonwealthkitchen.org From CropCircle Kitchen to CommonWealth Kitchen: Boston’s Food Business Accelerator is Expanding, Changing its Name, and Being Honored for its Impact!

For Immediate Release: May 10, 2015 CropCircle Kitchen, Inc., greater Boston’s first and largest food business incubator is changing its name to CommonWealth Kitchen. CommonWealth Kitchen (CWK) operates two state-of-the-art kitchens for start-up and emerging food businesses in the Dorchester and Jamaica Plain neighborhoods of Boston. Currently, there are over 40 specialty food producers, food truck operators and caterers in residence, making jams, salsas, cookies, chocolates, fresh juice, ice cream, bagels, baked goods and prepared meals. Combined, these businesses employ well over 100 people. “We opened our second kitchen in Dorchester last year, which more than tripled our capacity. We’re helping so many more food businesses get started, plus running our new contract manufacturing operation. We needed a name to better reflect this dramatic and aspirational growth,” said Jen Faigel, Executive Director of CommonWealth Kitchen. “The name CommonWealth Kitchen is much more reflective of our focus on building a community of entrepreneurs working together to create great small businesses and local jobs, and strengthen our regional economy. Common goals. Common good. Common wealth.” And these efforts are attracting interest for CommonWealth Kitchen’s work from near and far. On May 10, 2015, The Boston Globe named CommonWealth Kitchen in the 2015 class of Game Changers — innovative organizations doing extraordinary things: http://bit.ly/1KyvT8n. Jim Koch, Brewer, and Founder of Samuel Adams, put it this way, “We greatly appreciate and value the work of CommonWealth Kitchen and applaud their growth. The services and leadership they provide are essential to fostering the success of so many food and beverage businesses in the greater Boston area. For 5+ years, they have been neighbors to our Boston Brewery in Jamaica Plain, and have put our old brewery space to good use by establishing the original kitchen space there. Through our Samuel Adams Brewing the American Dream program we share a mission in helping food and beverage business owners do what they love, create local jobs and build vibrant communities.” Additional highlights of CommonWealth Kitchen’s work since its founding in 2009:
  • Partnered with Dorchester Bay EDC in the $15 million transformation of the former Pearl meats factory in Dorchester into a 36,000 SF multi-tenant food production small business center. CWK is a development partner and anchor tenant. This new facility provides large-volume production equipment plus ample storage to help food businesses efficiently scale.
  • The Pearl project is an integral part of a strategic $100 million investment being led by the City of Boston, HUD, the Commonwealth of Mass., and Dorchester Bay EDC to bring jobs, housing, services, and infrastructure improvements to the Grove Hall neighborhood of Dorchester, one of the lowest-income in Boston.
  • With the opening of the Dorchester facility in June 2014, CWK more than tripled their kitchen capacity. In the 10 months since opening, they helped start 20+ new food companies. Today, there are 45 businesses working in their kitchens.
  • Launched a new contract manufacturing business, providing recipe development and small-batch processing as a means to improve production efficiency for food businesses, and supporting local farmers in need of value-added processing and storage to expand their markets.
  • Partnered with the Samuel Adams Brewing the American Dream program to host multiple training and educational programs on topics including food labeling, marketing, and social media.
  • Graduated over 30 businesses into their own facilities. Some of CWK’s great graduates include: BATCH Ice Cream, Roxy’s Grilled Cheese, Clover Food Lab, Nella Pasta, Alex’s Ugly Sauce, McCrea’s Candies, Seta’s Mediterranean, Down Home Delivery, Just Add Cooking, Frozen Hoagies, and Delectable Desires. Combined, these graduates have created over 350 new permanent jobs.
  • On average, @ 65-70% of CWK businesses are minority and/or women-owned, and over 70% of their workforce is also minority and women.
  • Products produced at CommonWealth Kitchen can be found in a wide range of outlets across New England—specialty food stores, supermarkets, farmers’ markets, and national restaurants.
The current entrepreneurs at CommonWealth Kitchen are seeing the benefits of the additional kitchen space and expanded business incubator services. One member, Nola’s Fresh Foods, has doubled shipments in one year. A specialty cookie producer, Top Shelf Cookies, has introduced numerous product line extensions to new retailers. Jubali and Alex’s Ugly Sauce have recently collaborated with Legal Sea Foods. Joint product development in the kitchen resulted in a new tomatillo-based, savory and spicy juice exclusive to the restaurant group. Legal Sea Foods’ bartending staff incorporated it into a new signature cocktail – a Green Bloody Mary. CommonWealth Kitchen’s Jen Faigel adds, “Our goal is to help each one of our members reach their dreams. Their success is our success!” COMMONWEALTH KITCHEN is a Massachusetts not-for-profit building a collaborative community that is working to strengthen the local economy, particularly for people who have been impacted by racial, social, and economic inequality. We offer shared kitchens with integrated business assistance, creating and growing dynamic food-based businesses and careers. Visit our new website: http://www.commonwealthkitchen.org CommonWealth Kitchen Boston (http://www.facebook.com/commonwealthkitchenboston) @CWKitchenBoston (https://twitter.com/cwkitchenboston) CommonWealthKitchen_Boston (https://instagram.com/commonwealthkitchen_boston/) For further information, contact: info@commonwealthkitchen.org ###
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