Brookings Commercial Kitchen provides new opportunity for food entrepreneurs

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BROOKINGS, S.D. (KELO) — People in Brookings got their first look inside the new Brookings Commercial Kitchen on Main Avenue Thursday evening.

“This is a testing ground for entrepreneurs of any food type business,” Owner Dusten Hendrickson said.

The Brookings Commercial Kitchen is a community collaboration involving developer Dusten Hendrickson and the Brookings Economic Development Corporation. 

“This commercial kitchen concept was able to happen with the support of a USDA grant that our organization applied for. That money helps support the purchase of the equipment for the commercial kitchen itself,” Jennifer Quail, the Director of Entrepreneur Support at the Brookings Economic Development Corporation said.

The goal of the unique space is to help many local entrepreneurs launch their products or business.

“It will take a lot of the risk out, so they can test their business here without investing tens of thousands of dollars in a build out, they can come in here for a couple thousand dollars, test their idea, see if it works, and sell in the marketplace next door,” Hendrickson said.

After making their product in the kitchen, entrepreneurs can sell their products in the new the Ben Franklin Public Market next door.

“They can rent space in the market to test their product, their concept, and that space is also going to be staffed, so they don’t have to be there,” Quail said. “This can often be a side hustle for a lot of entrepreneurs who also work a regular day job.” 

“It’s an incredible addition to downtown Brookings,” Kurt Osborne said. 

Local Kool Beans coffee owner Kurt Osborne says the Brookings Commercial Kitchen also provides local businesses with an opportunity to expand. 

“The commercial kitchen has some appeal for us, we have a couple of product ideas we’d like to move forward with, so having a place downtown that’s close and serve-safe certified and meets all the regulations will be a bonus,” Osborne said. 

The new public building is also designed to be utilized by the entire community. 

“The space is rent-able, but people can just come in and just sit here and work, there’s no pressure to buy anything, it’s a community gathering space as well,” Hendrickson said. 

The Brookings Commercial Kitchen hopes to be open to the public by April 15th. Anyone interested in learning more about using the commercial kitchen or selling their products in the building can visit their website.

The remodel of the historic downtown buildings also includes the addition of 20 Main Avenue loft apartments right above the public market. 

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