FAIRBORN — The City of Fairborn is planning a kitchen incubator to assist food-centered start-up businesses.
Through the city’s community improvement corporation, the city bought the facility, located at 305 W. Main St. The space already includes commercial production kitchen equipment such as ovens, walk-in freezers and deep fryers and would allow individuals with ideas relating to a food business to “test them out” and see how they would work before investing in a full-scale business.
“The cost of operating a commercial kitchen is prohibitive to new and growing food enterprises,” Downtown Revitalization Specialist Tonia Fish said. “That’s not even taking into consideration all of the upsides that collaborating in a community kitchen can bring — there are cooperative purchasing [and] shipping and all of the knowledge to be shared about distribution.”
The city announced the kitchen incubator during Dayton Start-up Week in June and explained that the space would be a “coffee shop-like environment,” inviting individuals to sit down, utilize WiFi, access printing and conduct meetings to accommodate the changing workforce.
The new vision and items planned for the space will vary from what the environment formerly housed — Roush’s Restaurant, which closed in October 2015 after 54 years of business.
However, that’s not all.
“At 305 W. Main Street, we will be implementing Ohio’s first rooftop farm,” Fish said. “Of course, there are a lot of rooftop gardens in Ohio, but this is the first building that’s going to deploy a special media specifically for planting crops on the rooftop.”
The rooftop farm will allow for additional insulation and comfortable temperatures year-round. She said this is important because the building will operate on 100 percent renewable energy.
“On the rooftop, we’re going to have solar panels, which will provide shade,” Fish said. “You can go up there, co-work, have lunch and enjoy the view of a beautiful, new downtown Fairborn.”
Citizens can see what is happening first-hand from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Wednesdays, in which city officials offer co-working and kitchen tours.
The kitchen incubator is part of the actions Fairborn is taking to revitalize the downtown area. In addition to implementing the new space aimed at helping start-up businesses, it is also seeking to breathe new life into the Fairborn Theatre, start and operate a local brewery operation in the fire station on Broad Street, paint the silo visible from Main Street, implement new bike lanes and continue with blight removal efforts, among other efforts.
“If you’re a dreamer, entrepreneur or start-up, we are ready for you in Fairborn,” City Manager Rob Anderson said just before the announcement was made. “We have everything you need to start your business, minus the red tape.”
Contact Whitney Vickers at 937-502-4532. To find her on Twitter, search for @FDHWhitney.