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In December, Raisha Williams moved her cookie operation to a new, shared commercial kitchen that will soon double as a market on the weekends. Its name, Marddy’s, is a mash-up of “market” and “buddy.” For Marddy’s owner Keitra Bates, this is not just an entrepreneurial upstart; it’s a hedge against gentrification.
Launching a new business is challenging. Launching a food-related business can be especially difficult. First, there are all the costs associated with any manufacturing venture: sourcing and storing supplies, purchasing equipment, courting customers, establishing delivery and billing procedures. And then, because the end product is edible, there’s a maze of state licensing rules to navigate, with resulting fees and inspections from various government agencies. The process can take months and cost thousands—or hundreds of thousands—of dollars.