Follow-up: Revelstoke’s Community Connections Neighbourhood Kitchen boosts businesses

Community Connections' Neighbourhood Kitchen has been operational for a few months, and businesses renting the space say it's been a huge boost. 

Alexandra, co-owner and baker at Little Spoon uses the Neighbourhood Kitchen's industrial cooling rack for her baked goods. Photo: Nora Hughes

Earlier this year, Community Connection Revelstoke Society celebrated their new industrial kitchen space, The Neighbourhood Kitchen. The shared space opened at the Community Connections Outreach Building at 416 Second Street West as a continuation of the organization’s efforts to support the well-being of Revelstoke.

Learn more about the opening of The Neighbourhood Kitchen here.

Austin Luciow, Red Seal Chef and manager of The Neighbourhood Kitchen, uses products not taken home by food bank clients and turns them into ready-to-eat meals. The kitchen also rents to local businesses. The kitchen has been operating for a few months, and businesses renting the space say it’s considerably boosted their production.

Mountaineer staff caught up with Luciow and two of the kitchen’s renters to learn more about the kitchen’s operation. 

Little Spoon and Flourish Bakery are two businesses that utilize the kitchen space. They say the kitchen is convenient, affordable, and has allowed them to increase production and grow their businesses.

Alex & Alex owners of Little Spoon, a small business that is growing thanks partly to the Neighbourhood Kitchen at Community Connection’s outreach building. Photo: Nora Hughes

Little Spoon, run by Alexander Hartman and Alexandra Bauer (Alex and Alex), Revelstoke residents from Germany, started their baking business in February 2022. You might recognize the Revelstoke Farm and Craft Market vendors’ delectable pastries and golden pretzels. When the pair started their baking adventure this winter, they used the kitchen in their house.

Alex & Alex, owners of Little Spoon, a german baking business started in February, use Community Connection’s Neighbourhood Kitchen to bake. Photo: Nora Hughes

“It was fine, but it was pretty fast going into a direction where it was just too small,” says Alexander. “In the end, we were gonna need a commercial kitchen.”

Alexander says the industrial kitchen space has allowed them to produce and sell more at the multiple markets they attend weekly. With the ability to increase production, new opportunities unfolded for Little Spoon, such as donating mini pretzels to the Revelstoke Local Food Initiative’s farm-to-table dinner at Terra Firma Farms and taking on other events outside their regular market schedule.

Little Spoon uses the kitchen on Tuesdays, Fridays, and Sunday mornings says Alex and Alex. Usually, they’re baking for 10 hours a day. The kitchen is available to renters 24/7, which Little Spoon says is convenient if they need to bake late into the night before a market day.

Flourish Bakery, a gluten-free bakery specializing in accommodating dietary requirements, has been a renter at the Neighbourhood Kitchen since it opened. Flourish Bakery has also upped its baking production thanks to the industrial kitchen space.

“It’s a big change for me, but really good,” says Stephanie Palmer, owner and baker at Flourish. “It’s very efficient and means I can bake 36 loaves of bread at a time instead of six like when I was using a home oven.”

Stephanie Palmer is the owner and baker at Flourish Bakery. Flourish specializes in gluten-free baking and uses the Neighbourhood Kitchen for baking. Photo: Nora Hughes

Stephanie says the kitchen’s basement storage and central location have been game-changing for her business.

Flourish started in Stephanie’s kitchen and quickly grew. Flourish needed access to a bigger kitchen to meet food safety requirements and the demand for her delicious baked goods. Stephanie moved her operation to a friend’s studio kitchen.

“That was kind of satisfying environmental health, and then I was waiting for a more efficient, larger space with more potential to do more production,” said Stephanie. “I knew this was in the works, it was just a matter of waiting for it. And it was worth the wait, honestly.”

The Neighbourhood Kitchen is equipped with most commercial appliances, and tools businesses need. Photo: Nora Hughes

The kitchen has everything the businesses need, equipped with a commercial dishwasher, oven, and cooling rack. Alexander says that Little Spoon and Flourish have even collaborated with the kitchen manager to improve the space’s functionality.

“It’s good to see their businesses grow by being able to move into this space because it’s something Revelstoke was in need of,” says Neighbourhood Kitchen manager Austin Luciow.

He says it’s been great collaborating with the businesses. Austin says that although the kitchen has had growing pains since its opening, it’s been fulfilling to watch businesses grow and see the community kitchen’s objective come to fruition.

One of Austin’s goals for the kitchen is to take food that won’t be used at the food bank and turn it into ready-made meals. “I almost can’t make enough food,” he says. “It goes out almost every food bank day. So that’s great to see.”

He says that while it’s great to produce a lot of food for the food bank, it’s a double-edged sword.

“We’re feeling the crunch; everybody is with inflation and stuff like that,” he says. “And that’s resulting in us being able to buy less food and more people coming into food banks. So it’s really a double-edged sword in that sense.”

The Neighbourhood Kitchen is always searching for volunteers and food donations for the food bank. To volunteer, visit Community Connections’ website: community-connections.ca/the-neighbourhood-kitchen

Nora Hughes is a recent graduate of the Thompson Rivers University Interdisciplinary Program, where she combined her passions for Adventure Tourism, Communications and Journalism. With a strong interest in community news, Nora is passionate about giving a voice and face to the people of Revelstoke through storytelling.