Sometimes you just have to take that step, even if it feels like you are walking off a cliff. You just have to trust you have put something there to support you.
Anyone starting a small business, buying a home, starting a new job knows the feeling. It’s a step faith into the financial unknown.
That’s the way it is with Meadballs (nickname for the four Mead kids, my blog, and now my business). After months of trying to find a kitchen to rent – I’m going to renovate to create my own space. The past month has been a bit of a whirlwind on that front. I’ve been working with the fabulous kitchen designer Keegan Leehan at South One, who is coordinating with in A. Caplan Co. in Waterford on the equipment.
So what is Meadballs? I will cook seasonal dinners and deliver them. They will be fresh, not frozen, and ready to reheat or serve cold (or you can freeze). Meadballs is a subscription service for three meals a week, for either 2 or 4 people; but I’m open to what the market wants. Discounts will be for those who sign up for multiple weeks (such as 6 or 12), but you can opt out of consecutive weeks if you expect to be busy or on vacation. You’ll still get 6 or 12 weeks, just not in a row.
The driving ingredients will be what’s fresh on the farm that week. If you are familiar with a CSA (boxes of fresh vegetables delivered each week from local farms), then you will grasp the concept. I take those vegetables and turn them into dinners. No deciding, chopping, or cooking for you.
You’ll find my seasoning influences come from many cultures I have visited – Italy, France, Greece, Spain, and Mexico. Plus those I haven’t, yet, such as India and Asia.
As I get closer, I’ll post some sample menus.
Until then, there’s a lot of work to do.
By the end of last week, Erie County Department of Health and my wonderful inspector is Lisa Susann, who is making sure everything is in compliance, gave initial approval for the site work. Zoning laws in Fairview permit for no-impact home businesses in residential areas (meaning no customers coming and going from the kitchen). And on Friday, we met with Tom Kovach from Longo Plumbing and Joe Dobrich from Dobrich Electric to go over the plumbing and electrical needs. These will be among the two largest expenses because of the number of sinks and the power supply needed to run a commercial-grade kitchen.
I’ve covered business as a journalist for long enough to learn 3 rules that I am standing by:
- Start small. Do what you can afford to do. That means used equipment where I can get it and repurposing what is permitted.
2. Rely on people you have done business with – or friends have done business with. When your business hinges on a Health Department inspection – you want everything done right (and everyone shows up on time).
3. If you don’t have a back-up plan, then you don’t have a plan. This is advice from my father, and I’ve always carried it with me. Whether I was planning for newspaper articles, magazine start-ups, or the redesign of an entire newsroom. Plan – and then have a back-up plan. Sometimes I would be on Plan D before things worked out.
There are all kinds of other fun things I’ve been learning along the way – such as filing with the state to register as both an LLC and for my sales tax license. The rules regarding licensing and selling of food (thankfully I took an excellent class in October offered by the Health Department).
I have wonderful suppliers – the Post Farm in North East and Parable Farm in New York state. I will be picking up my first load this week to start testing recipes, which is the actual fun part.
Marketing, etc., is on the list of things to do – but I need a firm start date. The opening goal is the first week in August. When I know more, you’ll see more posts by me, as well as some sponsored postings on social media.
I’ll keep you posted. Let me know your thoughts, too.
In the meantime, I’ve been picking berries. Lots of berries. Here’s a crisp/crunch I just love (especially for breakfast with yogurt).