ECDI Finds a New Home that Includes Food Incubator Space

The Economic and Community Development Institute in Columbus is scheduled to move into new offices Oct. 1.

ECDI will trade its current offices at 475 E. Mound St. for a renovated two-story schoolhouse at 1655 Old Leonard Ave.

“We’re excited about our new place and feel like it is a huge step in ECDI’s evolution from a startup to an established organization,” says Amy Szabo, director of development at ECDI.

“Besides the fact that it is a great building with a lot of character, it is going to allow us to actually do things that we’ve been talking about for a long time,” she continues. “The food cart commissary and commercial bakery space will be a safe and affordable place out of which local  food carts, bakers, and catering businesses can do business. It’s kind of like a co-working space for food entrepreneurs!”

The property includes three warehouses, one of which will house the aforementioned food cart commissary and commercial bakery; renovations to that warehouse will occur over the next six months. (The other two warehouses currently are leased to outside tenants.)

The commissary will feature food preparation and storage space for mobile food carts, vans and trucks, and the commercial bakery will accommodate up to four bakers at one time. A product storage facility also will be located on site.

All these state-of-the-art spaces will be leased to local food cart and truck owners, caterers and bakers for reasonable rates, and come with access to Bob Kramer, director of food services and food safety for ECDI, who will not only provide food safety expertise, but also small business development knowledge, Szabo says.

ECDI, established in 2004,  provides financial literacy training, microenterprise development training and capitalization programs, business incubation services, educational access grants, downpayment assistance to first time homebuyers, and home repair programs for senior citizens and disabled individuals.

For more information about ECDI, visit ECDI.org.