Flavors vision is a shared commercial kitchen incubator and coworking space. We are proud to have an active 40 member virtual network where culinary creatives build on their skills and strengthen their businesses. Black woman owned and operated, Flavors is planned to be the largest culinary incubator in Prince George's County, MD boasting an 8000 sq. foot facility which will consist of a state-of-the-art savory and confectionery shared kitchens, meeting rooms, demo kitchen and ample dry/cold/freezer storage.
We are actively welcoming Founding Members to join us in our "Journey-to-Launch" and adding to our 40 active member community. To apply for membership, please head over to https://whatsyourflavor.co/ to complete our application.
Prince George's County has over 1,000 registered small business food entrepreneurs, but the county lacks resources and infrastructure to support and grow this economic base, which forces these small businesses into neighboring counties and Washington, DC to access licensed commercial kitchens.
1. Culinary entrepreneurs often lack startup money to invest, grow and maintain their business. It's expensive to own and operate a commercial kitchen!
2. Caterers, bakers, food trucks, private chefs often bounce around renting commercial space for their meal prep. It's time consuming and a logistical headache to secure often unreliable access to kitchens, while the kitchens that are available are often not conveniently located.
3. There are too many siloed inaccessible resources for food entrepreneurs. The business learning curve for the culinary arts profession can be vast with creatives, which can make access to funding, contracts, and client referrals often difficult to find.
4. Prince George's County, MD and specifically Landover, MD is dominated by corporate food chains and lacks quality and healthier food alternatives.
5. Black and brown culinary professionals are often left behind in the advancement of their entrepreneurial endeavors due to limited access and resources. With many landlords unwilling to allow the conversion of their properties into commercial kitchen spaces (ask us how we know) and the spaces that are available, the capital outlay required is so expensive. Many culinary entrepreneurs find their way back to corporate careers to take care of their families and continue their passion in the culinary industry, leaving their entrepreneurial dreams as a side hustle.
Flavors solves these problems by providing a full service culinary incubator.
1. Affordable, flexible entry level membership rates for small business allowing them to invest within their budget and grow incrementally. With more than 1,000 food and beverage entrepreneurs, Flavors is slated to serve at least 142 members at the Landover, MD facility between start-up, emerging, and growth-based brands.
2. Dedicated savory and confectionery shared kitchens, and the online booking platform allows chefs to schedule their work according to their schedule in the convenience of Prince George's County.
3. Full-service model holistically supports food entrepreneurs: co-working space, professional development mentoring community, access to government bids all in one community and one facility.
4. Flavors will deliver more healthy and diverse food options while supporting small culinary businesses.
WHAT WE OFFER
Flavors will be a beautifully designed, modern, and shared commercial kitchen incubator, work, and event space for food and beverage creatives. We'll take away the logistical headache and make it easy for culinary entrepreneurs to grow their business and test new products. As a member-based facility, members will enjoy the following amenities:
Affordable memberships that match different business models, part-time, full-time, start-ups and established brands;
- Facility for all creatives: private chefs, consumer package good brands, caterers, food trucks, bakers, dessert artist, pop-ups, event planners, hospitality instructors, and beverage brands;
- Funding referrals: government and corporate contracts, grants, start-up pitches;
- Suburban location with ample off-street FREE parking for members and their catering and food trucks;
- Supportive community with mentoring, professional development, and networking opportunities, with particular focus on empowering underserved chefs that are often priced out of other facilities;
- Flexible hours, 24/7 access to online kitchen booking;
- Event space for cooking classes, tastings, pop-up menus, corporate events, workshops, and food-based meetings.
We're creating a safe space for the Greater Washington's region food and beverage creatives to thrive, connect, and build!
The planned space will include:
- Fully loaded shared savory kitchen and shared confectionery kitchen
- Wired conference rooms with WiFi, phones and projectors
- A relaxing member's lounge, with lunch tables and comfortable seating
- Storage lockers for member's personal items and to collect mail
- Dry and frozen storage to accommodate inventory
- Beautiful, state of the art demonstration kitchen and meeting space to host fun food events
- Shared workspaces with free WiFi, standing and seated desks
Members will enjoy a diverse schedule of programming, in-person events, and virtual events featuring industry professionals and local brands. Flavors priority is expanding learning opportunities for personal and professional growth.
While our current 40 Chef-members are awaiting our grand opening, you can find them in our private virtual Founder's Lounge where we bring industry professionals in to host the following:
- Empowering Lunch & Learns across a variety of topics: personal finance, government contracts, trademark and intellectual property law, market research, mental health etc.
COVID-19 AND FUTURE HEALTH/FINANCIAL PANDEMICS
The current COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc on the world; however, our chef members, who are utilizing other licensed commercial kitchens, have experienced a more than 300% increase in client services due to the need for food services from current and new clients. Our chef members have not experienced a decline in requests for their food services during the 2020 health pandemic; yet many have had to decline work when their commercial kitchens were overbooked and unavailable for their use.
Flavors, being a food hub, will have the opportunity to serve local communities with services such as farmer's markets as well as being a local pick-up depot for essential food services should the need arise in future pandemics. Central pick-up depots have been a necessity during the pandemic and a need we can fulfill without interruption to our members and their needs.
Members, offering delivery and/or pick-up services will have a dedicated pick-up counter to provide a contact-free pick-up spot for food orders. The facility will comply with all the County and State guidelines for food safety, cleaning and sanitizing, employee health monitoring, and social distancing.
WHY CROWD FUNDING?
We are exploring many avenues for funding, including our own personal savings, as well as traditional funding from banks and VCs. And with such a capital intensive project at the forefront, which includes a commercial kitchen build-out in our Landover, MD facility, we need all the help we can get! Crowdfunding helps to ensure that we are able to create the best space for our local chefs, so they no longer have to search for kitchen space in neighboring counties and cities and they have a safe and health-inspected facility to grow their business for years to come.
We believe the power of Flavors lies within the community to help us meet our goals. Our black and brown chefs matter and deserve the resources and opportunities afforded to other communities to grow successful food and beverage brands beyond the local market. Prince George's County, MD, a major sub-set of the DMV (Washington, DC, Northern, VA, and Maryland tri-state region) while also being one of the most affluent counties in America, with a demographic of 98% of African Americans. We decided to turn to iFundWomen, a crowdfunding platform that supports the aspirations of women to get the job done. Funds secured through our crowdfunding campaign will be used to build out our physical space and purchase state-of-the-art commercial kitchen equipment which is the most critical component of Flavors.
HOW CAN YOU SUPPORT?
We have some really "tasty" rewards for you to support our campaign! We invite you to contribute at any level. Thank you so much for your support in helping Flavors grow into a successful artisan culinary hub that promotes job growth for food and beverage industry professionals in Prince George's County! #BuyPrinceGeorges #PrinceGeorgesProud
Also, beginning September 1, 2020, please join us live as we begin our pop-up podcast: Kitchen Conversations After Dark featuring live interviews from within our Flavors Founder Community, as well as local food and beverage entrepreneurs around the DMV that we'd love for you to meet and support. The schedule will be posted on our Instagram page at https://www.instagram.com/Flavorsnation/,so be sure to follow our page for updates.
We also welcome sponsorship and investment conversations. Please contact Samia Bingham, Founder & CEO at Hello@WhatsYourFlavor.co.
Flavors was founded by Samia Bingham after an evening conversation with her husband Chris who had a desire to launch a food truck to support his new plant-based lifestyle. Locating a convenient space in Prince George's County was challenging as there were limited and unorthodox options, which included commuting to Washington, DC (traffic in and around DC would prove to be daunting while trying to get to allowable food truck selling locations), using church kitchens (sharing space and managing delays/interruptions due to the owner's needs of the kitchen could not be controlled), and using nightclubs/active restaurants (private events, storage, and health standards which could be interrupted with a violation from the Health Department proved to be yet another hurdle that could interfere with business operations).
While Samia has enjoyed a successful entrepreneurial journey in the government contracts consulting sector, as well as Real Estate and Commercial Property Management, she decided that it was time expand her brand and build a culinary artisan space that would become the epicenter for black and brown food and beverage entrepreneurs to grow and expand--and she was the one to do it!
FOUNDER'S NOTE: WHY AM I SO UNIQUELY QUALIFIED?
I have been working 10 years in the real estate industry (residential and commercial), and the government contracts sector for 11 years. I also understand from the customer's point of view how lack of resources and infrastructure hurts their growth. Because of my domain expertise and my client experiences, I am uniquely qualified to help solve this problem for my culinary community. Since 2017 we have secured more than $450K in government sub/prime contracts.