The Hazleton Kitchen Incubator program, powered by THInC (The Hazleton Innovation Collaborative), gives regional food and beverage businesses a low-risk opportunity to start small, test, develop, and scale without the cost of equipping, and maintaining their own commercially-licensed culinary facility.
By doing so it encourages growth and equity in the local food economy by improving access to resources that traditionally are not available to those with limited incomes and for whom English may be a second language. It also improves food industry workforce training opportunities through hands-on training and access to commercial equipment.
We help our members focus on what really matters: building vibrant and sustainable food companies. Our partner organizations work closely with each member business to polish ideas and develop business models, as well as help cultivate customer connections and distribution opportunities. Food businesses accepted into the incubator program also receive mentoring and immersion in our regional entrepreneurial environment where they can collaborate with industry experts and peers.
Housed within a 1909 historic bank building in the heart of downtown Hazleton (31 W. Broad St.), the newly renovated Hayden Family Center for the Arts kitchen is equipped to handle the needs of most startup bakers, caterers, ethnic/specialty food producers (for retail sales), food trucks and other small-scale food and beverage businesses. Small scale manufacture of jarred products might also be possible, as long as all processing (including filling and capping) can be done by hand according to the food safety protocols for specific products. The food preparation and storage areas are regularly inspected and certified by the PA Department of Agriculture.
Housed within the nearby HUB Welcome Center (15 W. Broad St.) and co-located with the Hazleton LaunchBox, the retail shop provides you with an opportunity to test your product, either through featured promotions or special events. The shop is equipped with café style seating, a sink, commercial dishwasher, refrigerator/freezer, coffeemaker, and microwave, as well as a refrigerated display case, WiFi, and a Square Point of Sale System for credit card payments.
Member businesses lease time in the kitchen or retail storefront on an hourly or monthly basis (rates start at $15 per hour). Rental contracts are on a month-to-month basis, allowing greater flexibility in managing your growth and pace of progress.
The Downtown Hazleton Farmer’s Market runs each Friday from 10am-2pm, starting mid-July through early September in the adjacent CAN DO Community Park. Members may sell their products as a market vendor without additional fees, provided they have received a business license and insurance.
Kitchen and tenant storage is comprised of about 30-40 linear feet of wall space located in the basement of the building. The storage area is suitable for tenants to keep their personal equipment and utensils, ingredients, packaging and labeling supplies, and a small number of cases of finished product. Each tenant will be provided lockable storage within a 18”x 36”x 69” cage on wheels to allow for easy transport of work items via elevator to the kitchen. There is also and 18”x 36” shelving cart with 2 baskets (on casters) for transport of additional items and equipment.
The mission of the Hazleton Innovation Collaborative is to leverage the academic and research resources of Penn State and its community partners to nurture the growth of entrepreneurshipin the Greater Hazleton Area, and foster an entrepreneurial culture that will result in economic development, job creation, income growth, improved quality of life and student career success.