New food and beverage incubator opens in East Garfield Park

CHICAGO (WLS) -- One of the largest food incubation spaces in the country is open for business in the East Garfield Park neighborhood.

The Hatchery provides affordable space to help local entrepreneurs launch and grow their businesses. It's also expected to create an estimated 900 new jobs.

"This facility will extend the success of Chicago's thriving food industry directly into our neighborhoods and drive future economic growth on the West Side," Mayor Rahm Emanuel said at a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Thursday.

The Hatchery features dozens of private production-ready kitchens, a large shared kitchen and space for meetings and events. It's also meant to open doors to those who want to start their own business.

"It is our goal to reduce barriers and provide every opportunity available to each entrepreneur that walks through these doors," CEO Natalie Shmulik said.

Chamille Weddington of Schweet Foods said the information The Hatchery provides will be invaluable.

"There's so much that culinary entrepreneurs need. You need to have information about licensing, insurance, city regulations, so this is going to be a gem for us," she said.

People interested in learning how to launch a food business can learn the basics during an event on Dec. 17 at The Hatchery. A fundraiser at the facility scheduled for Dec. 20 is already sold out.
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