(Host) State officials say they want to encourage Vermont’s specialty food industry by helping to build two more commercial kitchens that other businesses could share.
There’s already one commercial kitchen in Fairfax and more than 30 small businesses use it to make their products.
Agriculture Secretary Roger Allbee says there’s demand for more space elsewhere in the state.
(Allbee) "We’ve had a lot of interest from the Rutland area and Manchester area, the Brattleboro and Westminster and Windsor area that there needs to be facilities that can help incubator companies get going with producing specialty, Vermont-branded food.”
(Host) So the state is seeking proposals to build two new kitchens. The Commerce Agency has two grants valued at $500,000 apiece to help pay for the facilities.
Commerce Secretary Kevin Dorn says he believes the new kitchens would help more small companies thrive.
(Dorn) "People out there in this industry oftentimes start in their kitchens and it’s that next step up into more of a commercial grade operation that’s difficult for them. Finally the successful ones get on to more large-scale manufacturing in their own facilities. But it’s that middle step which is very difficult."
(Host) Dorn says the $1 million the state plans to contribute to the two kitchens is coming from a federal grant program.
He says that money would have to be supplemented by private lending or investments.