Listen: The Hatchery Chicago Cooking Up Food and Jobs on the West Side
"We begin this morning front and center with our CEO spotlight here on the opening bell, Chicago's newest business incubator is cooking up some innovation in the food and beverage industry. The hatcheries Natalie Shmulik is in our spotlight this morning, Natalie. Good morning. Welcome to the opening bell. Good morning. Thank you for having me. I've been excited to have our conversation today because the idea of hatchery is one that I think Chicago has been asking for we've how we have all kinds of incubators, but not one focused on food and restaurants. Yeah, we're very excited about what we're doing. We know that Chicago is a staple for food and beverage whether it be amazing restaurants throughout the city amazing resources agriculture the foundation for somebody. Big CPG companies, and we're excited to share alongside great incubators accelerators like good food business accelerator, and so many others here in Chicago that are doing great work for the food and beverage industry as the CEO you are overseeing all of this. What have been the challenges and some of the things that you've had to get over to get to this point. I think some of the biggest challenges have just been ensuring that what we're doing is in fact meeting in need, and that was very important to us from the beginning. We wanted to be able to learn learn alongside the entrepreneurs that we serve. And so we have this great concept, which was really the brainchild of ICM see industrial counts of near west Chicago, which is one of the oldest and largest business incubators in the country right here in Chicago in Fulton market district and axiom, the nonprofit microlender, and they knew there was a need just based off of what I was seeing in their manufacturing space. They were. Seeing an influx of food and beverage entrepreneurs that just couldn't find food grade production space, and that was a big challenge here. We know there's so many brilliant minds. So we needed to give them space to be able to have an outlet to develop their concepts and launch their products. So I think just ensuring that the building we were building was in fact, what was needed. So really understanding the design understanding all the elements of the architecture. The Bill doubt, I do not have a background in building. So I think for me that was a huge challenge. But a great learning opportunity. I've learnt so much about far more about 'electricity and measurements than I ever wanted to. But I think it was really important because these are all elements that go into making an efficient space for food and beverage producer walkers through the space, if you will for virtually give our listeners a tour of what it looks like, and we'll kinds of resources are there. So we have a sixty seven thousand square foot facility it. Houses fifty five private food grade production spaces and a large shared kitchen. So most food and beverage entrepreneurs get their start in a shared kitchen and allows you to rent by the hour. So you don't have as much overhead early on. It gets you in a kitchen you can test your concept, and you can legally produce and sell your product. In addition, we have private kitchen spaces, those are really valuable those are the areas that we found there was just a huge gap in the industry is giving somebody a space that they have access to twenty four seven where they could grow their business. In addition. We also have a culinary training center run by chef Rick Bayless, big well-known shetler, Chicago. He's done so much for the city and for the food industry as a whole he was very passionate about this project because for him. He saw there were challenges in the food service world where there's a big turnover right now with employment finding talent finding finding skilled labors and chefs that can come into the kitchen and stick around and and help build the business, and he also."