A new bakery and coffee shop planning to open in Ingleside Village will operate a little differently from a traditional shop.
Not only will Chefspring offer cookies and other baked goods, but on a subscription basis it will prepare lunches for children during the school year and deliver the food to their schools. And family meals can be ordered the same way.
Also, the bakery at 2310 Ingleside Ave. will help support a commercial kitchen where entrepreneurs can make baked goods or other foodstuff to sell in the bakery or to other retailers.
The kitchen, also called Chefspring, is already open, and the bakery is expected to open by the end of month, said owner Lauren Hightower.
The bakery will sell nutritious school lunches for parents who don't want to make lunch every morning, she said. Food for the lunches would be selected based on what the child likes.
Family meals, which also would be ordered ahead on a subscription plan, will keep the shop's overhead low and cost families less than going out to eat at a restaurant, Hightower said. The lunches and meals would be prepared on site. Meal prices, which would depend on what's ordered, haven't been set yet.
The commercial kitchen at 3378 Brookdale Ave. is a way "to allow entrepreneurs a place where they can build their business," Hightower said. "It's like an incubator. The whole idea is that they grow to the point that they eventually open their own kitchen."
People who are interested in renting kitchen space need to have a license from the Georgia Department of Agriculture, and Hightower will help with that process if needed. The shared kitchen business targets people who make or want to make baked goods or other foodstuff to sell to retail stores or who don't have the capital to obtain their own space yet.
Membership to the kitchen is available at $40 an hour, $300 a week or $650 a month, and it includes space for food preparation, oven, stove, refrigerators and freezer space. Each member is responsible for bringing their own pots, pans and utensils, and private storage space is provided for each person. It is available to renters 24 hours a day.
Hightower has one employee, Cara Velasco, who manages the day-to-day business.
At some point Hightower would like to get the licenses needed to "become a true community kitchen," so caterers and food trucks could use the space.
There are three members signed up to use the kitchen now: Le Elegant Macaron Co., Three Brothers Cheesecakes and Savory Smoker, which will offer meat rubs.
Ebony Tyson, who owns Le Elegant Macaron, was the first to sign up. She's been in business about three years. It started when she came across a macaron recipe, and — even though it took awhile to perfect — she "finally got it right."
Macarons have a light texture, are a hybrid between a cake and a cookie and have a variety of fillings, such as butter cream or jams and jellies.
"I would take cookies to work, and people started asking me to bake them," mostly for birthday or Christmas parties, she said.
"I wasn't thinking it was a big, big deal until a girl ... said, 'I had them in Paris before, and yours taste just as good,' and that mine were even better," she said. So Tyson decided to try to make a business out of selling the cookies.
After searching for a commercial kitchen — the closest was in Atlanta — she discovered Chefspring, got her license and began making macarons in larger quantities. She made 200 for her first trip to the Mulberry Market and sold out in less than two hours.
"(The commercial kitchen) was the one thing we needed the most" to grow the business, she said. She plans to open her own shop by the end of July at the Macon State Farmers Market but will still sell at the Ingleside bakery and other locations.