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opened The Kitchen. “One company might need it for three hours a day, and another might need it for five hours.” One of the aims of The Kitchen is to help prospective business owners network and find the resources they need to get started. “We already have relationships established in the community, and we have a lot of strong programs that already exist,” Best says. “We will help with the regulatory side. We are versed in that. We run two farmers markets in Roanoke where they could sell their products. We have permanent vendors and some flex booths, and that is a test market option for tenants.” The Kitchen is located in Roanoke’s West End neighborhood,

The Kitchen aims to grow food businesses in a Roanoke food desert.

an area of the city considered a “food desert,” with little access to grocery stores. The project received a $25,000 grant from U.S.

Department of Agriculture’s Local Food Promotion Program and a $100,000 grant from the Roanoke Women’s Foundation.

Sam Lev manages The Kitchen, which is available to renters all day every day.

LEAP’s Maureen Best says there’s “a huge interest” in The Kitchen.

The facility also received a $20,000 grant from the Virginia Department of Agriculture with matching funds from Roanoke’s Economic Development Authority as well as other funding. “There’s a huge interest,” says Best, noting that she has received several applications from companies. “One is starting a food truck business. They will be doing food prep. Other companies interested include a salsa company, a doughnut company, a company that makes a specialty sauce and people making ethnic cuisine.” Top: File photo Best photo by Don Petersen



Roanoke Business- July 2016  

Interview with Virginia Tech's Marc Edwards and more.