A large downtown building is being used creatively for new purposes, several years after it was left for dead.
Since Montana's Restaurant was closed several years ago, it has been turned into a church and coffee house, The Gathering Place. But that church, New Wine Ministries, is finding new uses for the property. One is making it a business incubator, using the building's large kitchen.
A business that requires food preparation cannot legally operate from within a home kitchen. That's why a business incubator is a good idea for those who may not have the funds to buy the equipment and space necessary for catering or a restaurant.
"Entrepreneurism is one of the best ways to grow our community," said the Rev.Terrence Roberts of New Wine Ministries and the kitchen manager. "The need for downtown businesses, restaurants, culinary art businesses is there. Then you have tons of people who have recipes who say, 'I would love to go into business but I can't afford the commercial kitchen to do it.' "
The Manna Culinary Center is one such incubator. It helps those who want to get into catering or even opening a restaurant. "This gives them the opportunity to be able to come in and try it without the major investment of purchasing a kitchen.
The Gathering Place has the storage and equipment needed to help jump start a food-preparation type business. The cost to rent the kitchen varies between $10 and $25. It even has a dining area you can rent.
"One of the best things is that for the first time we have an opportunity to really help young entrepreneurs," Roberts said.
The Manna Culinary Center also helps a charitable organization called Feed by Faith.
"He provides me with space," said Peggy Coleman of Feed by Faith. "I need space because I have nowhere else to go. My mission is to come in, take care of the homeless, the poor, and the low-income individuals with a nutritional hot meal daily."
If you want more information about the Manna Culinary Center at The Gathering Place, call 601-553-2988.