BIRTH OF STOCK POT MALDEN
Stock Pot Malden is a shared kitchen incubator that was started in 2014 by a small group of angel investors (Co-Creation Ventures, LLC). The group includes culinary people, social impact entrepreneurs, business consultants and corporate executives.
Co-Creation Ventures’ investment strategy is to build food infrastructure platforms at the local level (e.g., shared kitchen facility in Malden) in the belief that those shared platforms lower entry barriers for a community of start-ups (e.g., food trucks or food product companies) and produces economic growth for all parties:
- For the entity that built the platform in the first place (Stock Pot Malden investors);
- For the businesses that utilize those platforms (the food start-up companies);
- For the customers of the food start-ups who get access to new interesting foods;
- For all the stakeholders participating in the ecosystem we enable, i.e., the city of Malden administration, Malden citizens for whom jobs are being created and local suppliers generating new revenues through our food start-ups.
We chose Malden because of the rich ethnic and culinary tradition of the city and because the city administration was eager to work with us to create a regulatory framework for our shared kitchen incubator. Together, we solved the compliance challenges posed by the newness of the shared kitchen concept, making it possible for us to accommodate multiple companies in a common space, in an innovative approach quite different from the single-owner restaurant model most cities are used to.
STOCK POT MALDEN 1 OPENS UP
In 2013, we signed a long-term lease for Stock Pot Malden 1, the 7,500 square feet building located at 342, Pearl Street, that had long served as the commissary for the Malden high school. The building was mostly vacant and in need of significant investment to bring it up to code and put it in a position to house food start-ups. The buildout took place over several months in late 2013 and early 2014.
In its first year of operation (2014-2015), Stock Pot Malden 1 was mostly populated by food trucks that were part of the first generation of food trucks serving the city of Boston. The number of food trucks has grown considerably since these early days, as there are now close to 100 food trucks registered with the city of Boston. We believe we are the leading commissary housing food trucks in Boston and Massachusetts.
In 2015, a few food product companies (bakers, ethnic meal caterers, powder drink company) joined the food truck owners and became member-tenants, creating a second pool of companies at Stock Pot. We have since then added new bakers, as well as juice and spice companies to our roster of food product companies.
OUTFITTING A VOLUME KITCHEN AT STOCK POT MALDEN 1
The 2015-2019 period was marked by the emergence of a new type of company: the centrally-prepared meal companies. These companies prepare full meals that get distributed to individual homes, to schools, to institutions and corporations that do not have an on-site kitchen, and to food pods and food vending machines. These companies are typically larger than food trucks or food product companies, grow faster, and often have access to venture capital.
In 2015, as centrally-prepared meal companies were becoming increasingly important in the mix of Stock Pot residents, we realized we needed to dedicate some space to their higher-volume needs and invest in some new equipment for them. We applied for a buildout grant from the Mass Development Collaborative Workspace program and were given a $100,000 matching grant that allowed us to convert a little used room into a high-volume production kitchen dedicated to larger centrally-prepared meal companies. This allowed us to reach a new growth plateau.
TWO NEW TRENDS ARE DRIVING OUR GROWTH
Two new factors have been driving the growth of Stock Pot Malden since 2017.
- The advent of corporate food brokers is playing an important role in our growth by giving our Stock Pot food entrepreneurs access to the corporate market in greater Boston, something that was not accessible to them until then. Corporate food brokers build professional relationships with companies and institutions, helping them source high-quality, original meals from our member residents, while allowing their corporate clients to make those meals a part of their retention and human resources policy. These corporate brokers allow our members to focus on what they do best, i.e., make food, as brokers handle some or all other tasks such as selling, invoicing, delivering or on-site serving. They also guarantee a certain level of revenues and minimize waste for the food companies by ordering an exact number of meals ahead of time.
- A second driver of Stock Pot’s growth is the “ghost kitchen” phenomenon. Restaurants are increasingly finding it difficult to pay Boston downtown prices per square foot to maintain both the kitchen and the retail area that constitute the traditional restaurant. This creates demand for locations (“ghost kitchens”) where food is prepared off-premises, and either home-delivered or made available in small take-out places with only minimal or no kitchen. While the focus of Stock Pot Malden is not to act as outsourced kitchen for established restaurants, we are seeing a new generation of entrepreneurs eager to follow the ghost kitchen model, which also feeds our growth.
STOCK POT MALDEN 2
In 2019, after operating at full capacity at Stock Pot Malden 1 for close to two years, we secured a second lease for an existing commissary situated at 278 Pearl Street in Malden, just up the street from our original location. The investment in the buildout of this second facility is made possible by a $108,000 grant from Mass Development’s Collaborative Workspace program, for which we are very thankful.
This second location is been outfitted to migrate some of the larger member companies we already have at Stock Pot 1 that are beginning to outgrow us. Stock Pot Malden 2 is meant to become the “graduate program” for companies that have reached a certain size and require semi-dedicated space for their operations. Stock Pot Malden 1 will remain “the college” and continue to house the start-ups we have historically had there.
THE NEW HERITAGE FOOD TRUCK CATERING PLATFORM AS AN EXTENSION OF STOCK POT MALDEN
From the beginning, one of our goals for Stock Pot Malden has been to utilize our food platform to build links with local agriculture (upstream), and with local health providers (downstream). We believe we are at a stage where the community of food start-ups present at Stock Pot Malden can play a transformative role in helping local farmers grow their sales and in convincing local healthcare providers to recognize the key role that good, locally sourced and locally produced food can play in improving local population health.
To that effect, Co-Creation Ventures, mother company of Stock Pot Malden, launched in late 2019 a new shared platform business called Heritage Food Truck Catering that promotes locally sourced meals and products that represent the diversity of ethnic cuisines representative of the city of Malden, while providing health benefits to the people who consume them (see heritagefoodtruck.com). The Heritage food truck will not only sell its own meals and products, but will act as test kitchen and promotional vehicle for Stock Pot member companies who espouse this same philosophy of locally sourced, cuisine-of-the-world-inspired and health-optimized food.
Stock Pot Malden is governed by two committees who represent the shareholders of Co-Creation Ventures, LLC. Stock Pot Malden is 100% owned by Co-Creation Ventures, LLC.
The Management Board of Stock Pot Malden is responsible for the Profits component of our triple bottom-line philosophy of People, Profits and Planet. It is comprised of:
- Francis Gouillart, CEO. Francis is a globally recognized business consultant and educator, author of several books and articles on the topic of ecosystem co-creation. He is particularly passionate about re-connecting local agriculture, food and health systems through the power of human engagement and technology.
- Mark Deck is a retired innovation and supply chain consultant who worked with PRTM Consulting and PwC. A mathematician by background, he brings an extraordinary rigor to both strategy development and operational execution at Stock Pot Malden.
- Bernard Quancard was a consultant with the Boston Consulting Group, then became head of the strategic account management program at Schneider Electric before becoming President of the Strategic Account Management Association (SAMA). He is now retired and focuses more specifically on the business development side of Stock Pot Malden.
The Mission Board is responsible for the People and Planet components of our People, Profits and Planet triple bottom line philosophy. In addition to Francis Gouillart, the Mission Board also includes:
- Carlo Alberto Marcoaldi is a social impact investor involved in a variety of investment projects in his native Italy, as well as more broadly in Europe and in the US. He is a former executive with ERM Solutions (Environmental Resources Management), a highly successful global environmental consulting company. Carlo Alberto is at the same time a demanding investor and a compassionate advocate for Stock Pot Malden’s social mission.
- Scott Nadler is an environmental and business consultant who has worked in both the public sector (state of Illinois) and the private sector (Conrail railroad company). He was long a senior manager at ERM Solutions (colleague of Carlo Alberto) and brings with him the creativity of the private sector business strategist he long was and the social and economic acumen gained in the public sector.
3. MANAGEMENT TEAM
Stock Pot Malden is managed by a small team of three people:
- Mike Bavuso is the full-time General Manager of Stock Pot Malden. He handles all operations aspects of Stock Pot Malden, including facility development, building and equipment repair and maintenance, food and people safety, permitting with local and state authorities, supplier relationships, member-tenant relationships, and identification of member-tenants deserving of investment.
- Francis Gouillart is the part-time CEO of Stock Pot Malden and handles financing, investor relations, business development, marketing, sales and member-tenant support, consulting services and investment .
- Richard Kelleher is the part-time controller of Stock Pot Malden. He is responsible for all accounting and tax reporting, collections and financial analysis of performance.
STOCK POT MALDEN HEADQUARTERS
(also the HQ of Co-Creation Ventures)
Polka Dot Building
342 Pearl Street
Malden, MA 02148