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.
Friday, November 26, 2010
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 email@example.com.
Steamboat Springs 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 firstname.lastname@example.org