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Frenchtown kitchen helps businesses get started during pandemic

Posted at 6:44 PM, Feb 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-02 14:05:29-05

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — Michael Hicks is the owner of Expanding Circles Bakery, a business he started in mid-January.

"I make bagels and doughnuts and cinnamon rolls," said Hicks.

Food, Hicks said, he wouldn't be able to make without Frenchtown Neighborhood Improvement Association's Kitchen Share.

In its second year, the association provides a commercial kitchen to startup businesses without making them sign a contract. That eliminates the owner's extra costs like utilities or rent.

"They've been incredibly kind in offering us the space to figure it out. I wouldn't have been able to do this without Kitchen Share here," said Hicks.

Kitchen Share has added four businesses to the program since the pandemic began last year. It offers owners, like Dondu Dogru of Blue Turkey, to pursue their dreams of opening a restaurant.

"I just want to make and give it a shot making. They will like it. But before, I just want to start here," said Dogru.

Open only on Thursdays and Fridays right now, Blue Turkey serves more than 100 customers each day, usually selling out by 3 p.m.

Program Operations Director Meltonia Chandler said owners are happy with the successes they're having, and they want to help more businesses open.

"My hopes for these businesses is for them to continue to expand and be able to provide service for the community," said Chandler.

Services the community appreciates, especially during a pandemic.

"They like it. They really like it," said Dogru.

The kitchen share isn't the only program offered by the Frenchtown Neighborhood Improvement Association. It also has an incubator program, including the farmers market, which is open every Saturday.

If you are a new startup and need help getting your business open, you can email the association at kitchenshare@thenfia.org

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