When ArtHouse first opened its doors on 5th Avenue in Gary back in November, one of the project’s ambitions was to bring culinary business incubation to aspiring food entrepreneurs in the city and northwest Indiana region. With the help of food based business development instructors, FoodHe.ro, ArtHouse has been able to do just that.
“The social mission of FoodHe.ro is to develop more food service and food tech businesses by assisting them through education and training,” said FoodHe.ro cofounder Javier Haro in a blog post.
ArtHouse and FoodHe.ro host over 20 entrepreneurs for their Culinary Business Incubator (CBI) Workshop series. The first workshop presented participants with the opportunity to develop a business model that meets their own company's short and long term goals. The second workshop shifted its focus to the importance of customer service and how its closely aligned with a business’s marketing and business model.
“If you know your customer, you can design a better product; a better venue,” stated Javier.
Arleen Peterson, ArtHouse’s Community Engagement Coordinator, explained that the CBI workshops are a great way for participants to see how real-world examples and scenarios can address their needs for opening a business locally. The workshops also allow participants to share peer to peer support and knowledge, creating a rich network of local food based businesses in varying stages of growth.
The workshops attract both seasoned veterans and newcomers to the food industry, like Christinae Hudson of Gary. Christinae has been baking for 10 years and decided to open her business Cupped, a contemporary bakery that serves gourmet cheesecakes, about five years ago. While her cheesecakes are a hit, particularly with young professionals, Christinae felt that she should attend the workshops to learn more about the business of running a bakery
“I am the baker so starting a business is something new to me,” said Christinae. “Learning to put yourself in your customer's shoes makes you zero in and focus on where your business is going.”