The Food Fort has been a hub for food-based businesses in Columbus, offering commercial kitchen space and food truck and cart storage. ECDI’s food incubator will now be able to serve even more businesses thanks to a 6,000 square-foot expansion in an adjacent warehouse at 737 Parkwood Ave.
“Before we expanded over there we were at capacity,” says Director of Business and Food Incubation Alicia Grantham. “We did not have any more space in the warehouse for people to store their products or their dry goods.”
The lack of space was prohibiting further growth. Kitchen time was available, but with no place to store goods.
By moving the cart and truck storage over to the new space, “It freed up a lot of space that we can accommodate more kitchen clients,” Grantham says.
Food Fort didn’t expand the kitchen itself, but did create more prep space in the new area. Many of the trucks have their own kitchens, but needed space to prep before hitting the road. A three compartment sink was also added to speed up the dishwashing process.
“We’re already seeing the growth,” Grantham says. Additional kitchen clients have been added with more in the works.
“Now we can offer storage space for a few more carts,” she adds.
The Food Fort currently stores four food carts, about 15 trucks and hosts 10 consistent kitchen clients. The incubator also has a food cart for rent that successful trucks often use as an extension of their business, or new clients can use to test the waters.
As New Orleans-based Dinner Lab expands to Columbus, they will be utilizing the Food Fort for storage and prep. Dinner Lab is a membership-driven group that creates pop-up dinner experiences in unique locations across a city.
Additional space is creating opportunities for some unique events as well. The Food Fort hosted a pop-up Valentine’s Day dinner for about 30 guests.
“If one of our chefs, if it’s a way they want to grow their business, we would certainly accommodate them,” Grantham says of the possibility for future events.
From the space to the events, “We try to help businesses grow,” she adds.
For more information, visit thefoodfort.com.