Steamboat Toffee Co. owner Pete DeWolf, left, talks with his toffee team earlier this month at the Create a Stir commercial kitchen rental facility in Hayden. Create a Stir owners Francis and Ruth Abate are hoping to attract caterers, culinary classes and more to the business.

Photo by Mike Lawrence

Steamboat Toffee Co. owner Pete DeWolf, left, talks with his toffee team earlier this month at the Create a Stir commercial kitchen rental facility in Hayden. Create a Stir owners Francis and Ruth Abate are hoping to attract caterers, culinary classes and more to the business.

Hayden commercial kitchen illustrates challenges in economy

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Francis Abate and his wife, Ruth Abate, use this converted school bus for their seasonal Buffalo Gal ice cream business. The bus is in a garage at the couple's Create a Stir commercial kitchen facility in Hayden.

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For more information about Create a Stir, a commercial kitchen available for hourly rental in Hayden, call Ruth Abate at 970-846-3649 or e-mail createastir@rocke...

— An example of hope during economic booms and resilient entrepreneurship during economic busts sits atop a hill in southeast Hayden.

Francis and Ruth Abate are the owners of Create a Stir, a 1,000-square-foot facility that offers hourly rentals of a sparkling, commercial-grade kitchen on Enterprise Street in the west Routt County town. Francis Abate said plans for the building and the business began in 2007. The land is part of Yampa Valley View business park and costs about $80,000, he said. Construction of the 2,800-square-foot building cost about $300,000.

“It was a big leap,” Abate said. “Like any business, it’s a risk.”

In addition to the kitchen, the attractive, rust-colored building contains office space and a spacious garage. Its windows offer sweeping views south and east of Hayden. The garage houses a converted 1989 Chevy school bus that the Abates use for a second business, Buffalo Gal Ice Cream & Goodies. They’ve painted the school bus blue, turned it into an old-fashioned ice cream truck and brought it to communities including Hayden, Milner, Steamboat II, Silver Spur and Heritage Park.

Although Buffalo Gal has seen some seasonal success, Abate said business for Create a Stir has been “a little slow” so far. But where some might say the Abates are victims of bad timing related to the recession, Francis Abate sees reason for optimism.

“In a lot of ways, this economy facilitates somebody starting off on their own,” he said. “So I don’t know if it was bad timing, really — I believe there’s opportunity in a recession.”

The Abates hope that renting the commercial kitchen will be an attractive idea for self-starting caterers, culinary classes or anybody with a cherished recipe they’ve always thought about producing and selling on a large scale. They’ve joined the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association and are working with local organizations including the Routt County Cooperative Extension Office and a regional natural foods group.

Renting the kitchen costs $15 an hour, plus a $150 security deposit and a $25 utility fee.

Renters also must have a retail food license from the Routt County Department of Environmental Health and liability insurance.

Abate acknowledged the list of pre-requisites could be a hurdle for some renters, but he said it’s necessary to protect the business he and Ruth Abate are working so hard to grow. And he said they’re doing what they can to get people in the door.

“We’re flexible on the rates,” he said. “We’re still trying to make it work for the community. … We’re doing this trial-and-error.”

Pete DeWolf, owner of Steam­boat Toffee Co., uses the Create a Stir space for production.

“I think it’s good,” DeWolfe said about the space earlier this month, looking around at the kitchen where his toffee team was hard at work. “It’s about as simple as it gets, which lends itself to a variety of operations.”

Francis Abate said the kitchen’s ability to handle variety could be a key to its future success.

“If you’re one of those people who’s always had a recipe or a food product (in mind to market), here’s your opportunity,” he said.

— To reach Mike Lawrence, call 871-4233 or e-mail mlawrence@steamboatpilot.com

Comments

Scott Wedel 3 years, 9 months ago

I don't understand the business model of spending $380,000 for something that rents at $15 an hour. Rented 8 hours a day for 30 days a month maybe covers the interest and utilities?

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Queenie 3 years, 9 months ago

notice the $25 utility fee with each rental.....plus it's more than just a kitchen "office space, garage, etc....."

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honestabe 3 years, 9 months ago

i dont understand the business model of owning a car wash and letting it sit unused. I also dont understand the business model of owning properties/businesses in a small town, and then constantly trashing that same town on public blogs and in public meetings. Maybe, scott, they just dont have the same small town business acumen that you possess. Regardless, good luck to them, and to you also Scott.

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Scott Wedel 3 years, 9 months ago

honestabe, Maybe the idea of costs including water and sewer being more than income would help you understand why it makes sense to close that business. I purchased that property far more for the land than for the business. 5 lots seemed a deal back then.

I suppose you are one of the people that is proud that OC is apparently the only water utility in the State of Colorado that does not meter commercial usage.

I suppose you are one of the people that is proud that OC has repeatedly hired deeply unpopular police officers (btw, I have never criticized Lance).

I suppose your are one of the people that is proud that once paved South Sharp now gets mag chloride to contain the dust.

I suppose you are one of the people that is proud that OC residents pay more for electricity than YVEA and have a far less reliable electrical system.

I suppose you are one of the people that is proud that OC residents do not get the customer protections required by the PUC for all but municipal utilities regarding deposits, late fees, disconnect charges and so on.

I suppose you are one of the people that is proud that it takes a business wanting to move to OC to take months to get the approvals that would be given in a day in SB, Yampa, Hayden and so on.

Obviously, you are one of the people that would rather stick with policies that have failed than learn from places like Hayden. Oh yeah, where is this kitchen located?

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ftpheide 3 years, 9 months ago

There you go honestabe - no car wash for you! No more "off street parking" for the adjacent property owner as well !!

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Scott Wedel 3 years, 9 months ago

Evelyn, Stick to what you know something about. Do you let your neighbors drive across and park on your property? Do you let your neighbors leave junked vehicles on your property?

Well then stay out of it

Anyway, neighboring property is vacant so no one there has asked permission to park on my property. So nothing reasonable is being denied.

Would be nice if the adjacent property owner would clear the sidewalk in front of their property as I and other do in front of our properties. That property is more important to clear than most because the natural drainage is along the sidewalk so when we do get some melting then their lack of snow removal causes the water to dam up resulting in large ice sheets on the sidewalk.

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ftpheide 3 years, 9 months ago

Scott, The adjacent property owner is on oxygen. It is probably very difficult if not impossible for him to maintain his portion of the sidewalk.

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Scott Wedel 3 years, 9 months ago

Well then he should hire someone to do snow removal.. There is certainly any number of locals that would appreciate some work.

The rule on clearing sidewalks does not have exceptions for owners unable to do it or for owners that live out of town or any other excuses. The rule is meant to allow pedestrians to walk downtown.

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Scott Wedel 3 years, 8 months ago

Evelyn, ??? I lack humanity because I point out OC ordinance on snow removal lack any provisions for the property owner being on oxygen?

So are you friends of the owners of the neighboring property or are you just stirring up trouble?

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ftpheide 3 years, 8 months ago

Scott, It's an observation compiled from all your past comments and this attack on your neighbor. You lack humanity!

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Angie Robinson 3 years, 8 months ago

Buffalo Gal Ice Cream Truck, I think you'll have more success once people have seen you more than once. The first time we heard an ice cream truck in Hayden, we thought... "There are no ice cream trucks in Hayden. Could be creepy." Now that I know who you are and that you really sell ice cream, I'll be waiting for next summer.

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