A co-packing program entitled the Food Entrepreneur Accelerator and Start Up Terminal (FEAST) has been developed by Eastern Market Corp. (EMC) to help local food manufacturing companies launch more quickly.
Equipped with commercial kitchens and a food processing center, the 14,500-square foot facility is located at 26762 Michigan Ave. in Inkster and is licensed under the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development and will focus on acidified and shelf-stable food products.
“FEAST is a first step in Eastern Market Corp.’s program to accelerate food business in Michigan and will fill the current void that exists for food entrepreneurs looking to ramp up production and move their business to the next stage,” says Mike DiBernardo, director of food innovation programs for Eastern Market Corp. “Developing and supporting programs like FEAST which will grow the food system and increase economic opportunities in the region is a key part to EMC’s strategic plan.”
The building was donated to EMC by Garden Fresh Gourmet founder Jack Aronson, who has collaborated with EMC long-term to further develop food processing throughout the region. Operating as a private company, FEAST is co-owned by founders of three established local food companies, including Marcia Nodel and her daughter-in-law Michal Nodel of Marcia’s Munchies, Scott and Suzi Ownes of Scotty O’Hotty, and Amit Makhecha of M&R Ventures. A loan from Northern Initiatives’ Michigan Good Food Fund helped secure equipment.
“We’re proud to carry on Detroit’s lengthy and legendary manufacturing history in this new venture,” adds Scott Owens. “Each of the FEAST co-owners have created business and met challenges along the way to grow and expand. We’re beyond thrilled to be using even more local resources and expanding our state-of-the-art manufacturing process to feed and employ more people.”
In addition to meeting their own production needs, FEAST will provide small and mid-sized food companies in southeast Michigan with co-packing services, recipe development, cooperative buying, and private labeling production.
FEAST will also create six full-time positions and more information can be found here.