Memphis Kitchen Co-op: Local business gives food entrepreneurs the tools to succeed

CORDOVA, Tenn. — Starting your own food business can seem like a daunting task.

Add in a global pandemic, and many people could shy away from the whole idea.

One Memphis couple created a program - and a place - to help new business owners navigate the waters.

Richard and Molly McCracken own a local meal prep business.

Their company offers tailored, healthy meals for pickup or delivery.

Molly told FOX13′s Shelia O’Connor, “It’s something we’re very passionate about.”

The couple said their passion for helping others led to their own business venture that happened in the spur of the moment.

“We started in our friend’s kitchen, who just wanted us to come and make food for him,” Richard said.

That snowballed into Amplified Meal Prep, but the couple said it wasn’t an easy journey.

“We made a lot of mistakes along the way,” Richard said.

Now, they’re hoping to help other small business owners from making the same mistakes they made early on.

They created Memphis Kitchen Co-op, a place that’s tailored for anyone looking to start a business in the food industry.

“Second-generation kitchen spaces that a lot of small businesses need are few and far between in Memphis,” Molly said. “That led us to Memphis Kitchen Co-op.”

The facility, located at 7946 Fischer Steel Rd, Cordova, is a 6,500-sq.-ft. licensed commercial kitchen.

The McCrackens operate their meal prep business out of the facility.

One the days their own workers aren’t putting meals together, the kitchen sits mostly empty.

“We can fit about 12 groups in here at one time,” Richard said.

They’re offering the space for business owners to rent at a low cost.

The facility has “tons of equipment” that helps limit the cost for owners.

The kitchen has four large stoves with 40 burners, eight standard ovens and eight convection ovens.

Outside of space, food entrepreneurs can take advantage of other benefits.

“We take the time to sit down, go over their business plan and look at things to make sure they’re not hurting themselves along the way,” Molly said. “This is what we’re super excited for.”

To help business owners get the word out about their products, the front of the facility is being transformed into a brick-and-mortar store.

“It will be a little bit of a marketplace for food entrepreneurs,” Molly said.

The couple hopes the new opportunity for local small business owners will lead to more successful businesses across the Bluff City.