Building Food and Beverage Businesses with Hatch Kitchen RVA

Building Food and Beverage Businesses with Hatch Kitchen RVA

Whether you are a chef with a recipe that you think would do well in retail or a food brand thinking about your next step, like a bigger space or moving your production to a copacker, then this is the episode for you!

Today’s guest is Austin Green, one of the co-founders of Hatch Kitchen in Richmond. This innovative business offers a whole suite of solutions for local food brands and restaurants, including Hatch Kitchen, Hatch Packaging, Hatch Café & Event Space, Hatch Butchery, a food truck corral, and now Hatch Logistics. They also have a food hall, Hatch Local, scheduled to open in the summer. Not only has the business grown rapidly over the last two years, but many of the businesses that they serve have also achieved success. Hear about Hatch’s mission to inspire innovation, enable growth, and promote community within Virginia’s food and beverage industry.

As a resource that helps to start and build food and beverage businesses, you’ll also find out how they can help you launch your business or move it to the next level, so make sure to tune in today!

Get to Know Austin:

Name: Austin Green
Location: Richmond, VA
Years in the food industry: ~15
Favorite Food: Ice Cream
Least Favorite Food: Bleu Cheese
The last thing I ate and loved: The last thing I ate from Oro

Key Points Mentioned in this Episode:

  • An introduction to Austin Green and the suite of Hatch businesses.

  • Austin talks about the rapid growth that Hatch has experienced.

  • How the pandemic has affected the business.

  • What Hatch Kitchen is: a 20,000 square foot building and 24-hour kitchen that members use as they please, “a 24-hour gym for culinary.”

  • Some of the equipment that can be found in the Hatch Kitchen.

  • Hatch Kitchen’s six individual private kitchen suites: to protect certain intellectual property.

  • Hatch’s incubation processor: how they help establish food business through the health department and other regulatory bodies.

  • Why Hatch offers a program of guest speakers and workshops with experts.

  • How Hatch helps members assess the best way to make use of their facilities and equipment.

  • The new logistics aspect to the business: helping the businesses they serve with storing and moving their products.

  • Hatch Café:  a space where people can guest chef, try out new products, or pop-up concepts.

  • How food trucks were hard hit by the pandemic but are recovering now.

  • Their goal: to continue to identify what’s missing in the ecosystem and find a sustainable way to provide those things.

  • Why Hatch doesn’t have its own brand of products.

  • Plans for the future of Hatch, including continuing to grow and develop their property.

  • How food entrepreneurs can contact Hatch and benefit from their services. 

  • Info about the Hatch Local Food Hall opening in the summer.

Links Mentioned in this Episode:

Subscribe to the VA Foodie Podcasts on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Overcast, Stitcher, RSS or wherever you get your podcasts.

Click Here for Full Transcript:

[0:00:00.0] Austin Green:
Then it just extends our mission, which is to help other companies grow. Our company makes products and helps people make their own products, so we’re happy to be the production facility or the facility that hosts companies that want to make their own products.”

[0:00:17.9] Georgiana Dearing:
Welcome to The Virginia Foodie Podcast. Where we lift the lid on the craft food industry and tell the stories behind the good food, good people, and good brands that you know and love. If you’ve ever come across a yummy food brand and wondered, “How do they do that? How did they turn that recipe into a successful business?” Then we’ve got some stories for you.

[0:00:44.2] Georgiana Dearing:
Welcome back, foodies, and thank you for tuning in. Are you a food brand thinking about your next step? Looking for a bigger space or perhaps you’re thinking about moving your production to a copacker? Or maybe you’re a chef or a home cook and you’ve got a recipe that you think would do well at retail? Then this episode is for you.

Today, I’m talking with Austin Green, one of the Cofounders of Hatch Businesses in Richmond. Hatch is on a mission to inspire innovation, enable growth, and promote community within the food and beverage industry. When I was at the Winter Fancy Food Show in 2019, there was a lot of buzz around business incubation for local food. I met innovators from across the United States and Canada who are all trying to find ways to help small food brands get over that startup hump.

Hatch is creating a whole suite of solutions. Their campus houses Hatch Kitchens, Hatch Packaging, Hatch Café and Event Space, Hatch butchery, a food truck corral, and now Hatch Logistics. This summer, look for their food hall, Hatch Local to open its doors.

Talk about inspiration and innovation! Listen as Austin describes where they’re building in Richmond and I think you’ll agree that it’s an amazing resource for the state and for the food industry at large.

[0:02:12.2] Georgiana Dearing:
Hi, Austin. Thanks for joining me today.

[0:02:14.9] Austin Green:
Hi, how are you?

[0:02:16.6] Georgiana Dearing:
I’m doing pretty good. Before we get started, could you introduce yourself and your business to our listeners?

[0:02:22.6] Austin Green:
Sure thing. My name is Austin Green. I am the co-founder and president of Hatch Businesses. Hatch at its core is a resource that helps start and build food and beverage businesses, we say our mission is to inspire innovation, enable growth and promote community.

We have been open for about two and a half years but it’s been over three years in the making. Our companies include Hatch Kitchen, Hatch Packaging, Hatch Butchery, Hatch Café, Hatch Logistics.

[0:02:52.9] Georgiana Dearing:
Holy cow.

[0:02:55.1] Austin Green:
And Hatch Helps initiatives, and then soon Hatch Local Food Hall.

[0:02:59.2] Georgiana Dearing:
Holy cow, that’s a lot of different entities that, you know, I visited you guys a few years ago and saw mostly your kitchens and the food truck portion of the business. I feel like I’m learning something too.

[0:03:13.5] Austin Green:
It’s growing very rapidly and certainly, at this point, it’s larger than anyone of us that works for hatch.

[0:03:22.3] Georgiana Dearing:
Wow, how many people work for Hatch now? Hatch, the company?

[0:03:26.7] Austin Green:
Right, we are rapidly hiring right now, especially for our packaging facility and our butchery facility because, you know, we need a lot more folks for that and, obviously, we’re going to be hiring quite a few people for the Hatch Local, but our core group, I would say is probably 10 to 12 people.

[0:03:45.5] Georgiana Dearing:
Wow, that’s not a huge – for all the things you’re doing, that’s not a huge crew.

[0:03:49.7] Austin Green:
Right, I mean, for the first year or two, I mean, other than my partners, which there are five of us, we had two to three employees for like the first year or two, it’s really just been the last six or eight months or so that we’ve allowed ourselves to expand as far as the people helping us do this.

[0:04:11.8] Georgiana Dearing:
Well, we’re talking in the spring of 2021 and for a business that’s been open two and a half years, one of those years was insanity. I’m just curious, how was the pandemic year for you guys being in the food business? What did it look like for Hatch?

[0:04:29.0] Austin Green:
For Hatch, we’re a startup in, like, the most standard sense and we are kind of used to a fair amount of chaos. We’re also in the business of doing things that other people might not have done in the region before. We’re kind of used to rolling with the punches, so to speak. This is definitely a different kind of curve ball that we have never experienced before but I think that our team responded really well to these challenges.

Financially, we took a small hit, certainly very small hit compared to people that are in the restaurant industry and other peers of ours. We’re really fortunate in that, very thankful for that. I think we’ve rebounded pretty quickly, we were able to pivot, we were able to decide pretty quickly how we could help the companies that work at our kitchen and we came up with several different kind of creative solutions. Some worked, some didn’t and that’s kind of the name of the game for us. We’re always willing to be wrong and to try something new as a new startup should be. Now, our businesses for the most part, I would say, most of our businesses –

[0:05:42.7] Georgiana Dearing:
You’re talking about your client businesses?

[0:05:45.5] Austin Green:
Correct. Yes, Hatch Kitchen is our incubator and commissary kitchen and we are in a 20,000 square foot building, and it’s a 24-hour a day kitchen that our members are allowed to come and go as they please, sort of like gym membership model for restaurants, not even restaurants, for food brands.

[0:06:16.0] Austin Green:
Most of our companies are members, I would say, they did okay. They’re still around, they did pretty well as a company. Maybe that’s not true for everybody but, you know, we had a few members that are actually are doing better than they ever have.

We have some members that do like meal prep, right? We have several really amazing companies who do that and that is just one of the major ways that people shift the way that they’re eating was to go with meal prep services. Pretty much like – over the course of a few weeks, their business really exploded.

[0:06:39.0] Georgiana Dearing:

[0:06:40.5] Austin Green:
Obviously, a lot of people started shopping the grocery stores and people started to order different types of products that they could prepare at home, open the freezer and eat as they wanted and that really includes a lot of our member’s businesses. Also, people were just like – people pretty immediately became tired of their own cooking and they can now — Usually, what you would do when that happens is you go to a restaurant, right? I think everybody was just looking for something different and also just, you know, the Richmond community is always trying to support local food businesses. I think everyone was really making a concerted effort to try to support these businesses as well.

[0:07:23.0] Georgiana Dearing:

[0:07:24.1] Austin Green:
You know, I would say that Hatch and Hatch members, we did okay.

[0:07:29.7] Georgiana Dearing:
You did okay, that’s good.

[0:07:31.1] Austin Green:
We did pretty good, you know what I mean? We’re still here, didn’t take too big of a hit, doing okay in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic is winning in my book.

[0:07:42.2] Georgiana Dearing:
My goodness, that’s like gold stars all the way around, I think.

[0:07:45.4] Austin Green:
Right, yeah. Doing okay is awesome.

[0:07:49.3] Georgiana Dearing:
Well, you talked about Hatch Kitchens and a commissary kitchen. Can you explain that a bit? We work a lot with emerging brands and I’m trying to figure out or help them figure out, really, how they might see themselves in some of the things you’re doing in Hatch?

[0:08:07.6] Austin Green:
Sure, Hatch Kitchen, which is our incubator and commissary is really a wonderful place for established chefs or established people to try out a product line, the risk is relatively low, I mean, I think – the minimum for our lease is six months and it goes month to month after that.

[0:08:30.2] Georgiana Dearing:

[0:08:31.2] Austin Green:
Yeah, we’re priced extremely competitive especially in this market.

[0:08:36.5] Georgiana Dearing:
When they pay that six months lease, what do they have access to? You said it’s a gym so what’s in there?

[0:08:43.8] Austin Green:
Well, it’s like a gym membership in that you know, you pay pretty much a flat rate and then you can kind of come and go as you please and I also mean to say that in that people don’t have to schedule things. There’s only a couple pieces of equipment that need to be scheduled and that’s really - we really have them schedule that so that they’re not wasting their time coming into the kitchen if someone’s going to be using the piece of equipment they need all day long. That’s really more for them.

What I mean by that is, there’s equipment to be used, it’s first come, first serve, it’s like a 24-hour gym for culinary. We have everything from, everything you would imagine would be standard for a kitchen, you know? Six burners, ovens, we have some – we have mixers and blenders and immersion sticks and we have a dishwasher and plenty of prep sinks and a ton of large tables for everyone to spread out on and dry storage and refrigerator storage and freezer storage, you know, all your basics.

We also have some more specialty equipments like we have a steam kettle with a piston filler attached to it, we have vertical cutter mixer, blast chillers. We have like six different convection ovens and, in addition to that, we have a rotating rack oven in our bakery facility, which is connected and, you know, tilt skillets, and large stock pot burners, and grills, and you name it! We’ve really tried to outfit the kitchen with more or less everything that a company at this stage would need and probably then some too. I mean, we even have like meat slicers and things like that.

[0:10:21.5] Georgiana Dearing:
Wow, that is great! I visited your property and I also saw that there are other like whole kitchens where businesses have kind of kitted out themselves? Or how does that work?

[0:10:34.6] Austin Green:
Yeah, in the main facility, which is like, again, is like a 20,000 square foot building, included in that, we have six individual private kitchen suites and those are spaces for companies that still use the main kitchen facility but for any number of reasons - like maybe they would like to make sure that they protect certain intellectual property or it just works better for their flow to have a private prep space, especially like we have like one business in particular that has a pretty large team and has a pretty specific mechanized way of producing their CPG product. For them to have to break all that down and set it all up every day would be difficult.

It’s a real advantage for them to be able to kind of have things in place and have everyone come in and just get started. There’s also people that have more of a complex process involved, right? We have one business that they need to prep a product that needs to sprout overnight. That could be a little dicey, I guess. It probably would be fine but that’s something that you probably want to do in its own space and be able to regulate temperature and space.

[0:11:50.9] Georgiana Dearing:
When a company comes to you guys, is there like – you named so many things that are guidance in your other businesses like you call your space an “incubator.” How do you – do you help them assess the best way to make use of your facility or are they showing up and going, “Okay, I’m going to try this,” and what is it like to kind of get into Hatch?

[0:12:13.9] Austin Green:
Sure, I mean, sort of the incubation processor starts at the very beginning, our team puts a lot of effort into coordinating with different health department officials and, you know, department of agriculture, even the city of Richmond, in trying to help guide people through how to become a food business, you know? Legally and in the eyes of different regulatory bodies.

Really, that’s where it all starts. If anyone has ever done that, they know it’s not nothing.

[0:12:47.5] Georgiana Dearing:

[0:12:49.1] Austin Green:
I mean, that’s really like the base level that we provide, that’s the very least you would attain from us, right? Because as far as our mentoring and different things like that, we provide as much or as little mentoring as our members would like, right? We provide a lot of regular programming, a little bit of that had to be readjusted because of COVID-19, because we went from having guest speakers and workshops and things like that in person to kind of, like, everybody kind of running around and trying to figure out what’s the next thing as far as the pandemic, to settling in to a life of zoom in conference calls, and things like that.

We’re finally able to, in the last few months, to get back to some regular programming that is free to all of our members to join and they’re really interactive sessions. They’re not just a speaker meetings, they’re really – a lot of times they’re more conversations with experts.

You know, each company, when they come into the kitchen, they’re given an orientation with our director in the kitchen, Ryan Evans to figure out what processes they’re going to be doing and to talk about that a little bit, and Ryan kind of like showed them which pieces of equipment they should probably use and also just find out the way they’ve been doing it and maybe makes some suggestions for how they can do it differently. I mean, we have a convection steamer for instance in the kitchen and it is an incredibly efficient and excellent way to steam potatoes or even make rice if you do it correctly.

Instead of, I mean, trying to scale up, cooking at large quantities of rice, you know, the convection steamer is kind of my go to suggestion for that. It really is trying to get the different companies, trying to get them into the mindset of working in a shared space but also working with some larger equipment that can, that they might need to change their process a little bit for their own benefit.

You’ve got the physical part of making food products and then you also have the ability to kind of reach out to us at any time, with any problems or issues they might have, whether it’s finding a good accountant or trying to trademark something or just anything really. We have a bunch of resources on our end and an amazing people in the community that are willing to help and so we’re able to – if we’re not able to answer the question, we certainly have somebody who can.

[0:15:23.2] Georgiana Dearing:
What an amazing resource for these craft food brands! What a crazy great thing you guys are doing down there!

[0:15:30.0] Austin Green:

[0:15:30.7] Georgiana Dearing:
You named so many other things in the list of the Hatch businesses. Logistics is the one that stuck out, like what are you doing with the logistics?

[0:15:42.0] Austin Green:
That’s our newest business that’s come online. The logistics building and the logistics business was really born out of – in part, a need that we created ourselves, right? We have a co-packaging facility that primarily focuses on a set of five foods. We do package a couple other products but we also had a USDA inspected facility that can do cold side like a meat processing and ready-to-eat foods, and finished products, and things like that, and meat snacks, and things like that.

The need for space and storage became really apparent and then we realized also that there are a lot of food companies even outside of the Hatch ecosystem that really need quality climate controlled space to store their products and people that know how to handle food, who understand that. It just sort of like became obvious that we should do this and I guess we should make it and then we started talking about liabilities and insurance and all of this and there’s like, “Oh, this really makes sense to just be its own business” right?

[0:16:53.2] Georgiana Dearing:

[0:16:53.7] Austin Green:
It needs to have its own people that are responsible for it and that can really focus on it because it is a really important part and, you know, it’s great because now, our members that are even in the main kitchen, they now have an option, another option to grow with us as they build their businesses because they don’t have to worry so much about like, “Well, what am I going to do when I max out my storage over here in the main kitchen?” They have an option sitting right there next to them.

[0:17:22.7] Georgiana Dearing:
When I think if logistics, I think of two parts of it, which is sort of like the storing and then the moving of products. At this point, you’re just on the storage end but –

[0:17:34.3] Austin Green:
Yeah and it is very much in its infancy. We definitely plan to work with specific clients to start rolling out more services that include kitting and shipping and things like that. I mean we can do that stuff right now, it’s just a matter of building out those services entirely. We will eventually be able to do pull, pack and ship and things like that.

[0:17:57.3] Georgiana Dearing:
Wow, this is a little food empire that’s happening down there!

[0:18:01.6] Austin Green:
I mean, almost everything here is really dictated by the demand of our community. So, you know, we’re not inventing anything here, we’re just asking what people need and doing our best to provide it.

[0:18:14.5] Georgiana Dearing:

[0:18:15.3] Austin Green:

[0:18:17.1] Georgiana Dearing:
One of the other things you mentioned was the café, the food hall. Can you tell me a little bit about that? Is that something the general public could come in and sample some of those?

[0:18:28.6] Austin Green:
Yes, so Hatch Café is actually separate from the food hall.

[0:18:32.1] Georgiana Dearing:

[0:18:32.6] Austin Green:
Hatch Café is located within our main 20,000 square foot building. It is a beautiful space. You know we have intended to open that up and to do a lot of these classes in there. I mean we have events booked in the café. You know, we had a wine portfolio tasting and there was a conference that was going to go in there and it’s all food based, right? These are all events around food and obviously there’s changes. All those plans have to change.

We’ve actually hosted pop-ups for the most part. We hosted pop-ups in the space so I mean Cobra Burger is probably one of the more notable pop-up concepts that did a residency at Hatch Café and those guys are doing great. They just opened a brick-and-mortar in Church Hill and so what we’re doing with the café now is we’re providing a space that people can come in and basically be guest chefs in our kitchen and again, try out a pop-up concept.

Whether they want to roll that into its own brick-and-mortar or whether they want to turn it into sort of like a ghost kitchen concept, or whatever it might be, but the café has really been used for the last year as a space to try out new food concepts and to kind of keep the ball rolling during COVID, which is amazing, right? We have people who were like trying out food concepts in the middle of the pandemic and providing a space that they can do that that is really low risk.

It’s also been a place that’s been great because it’s been a place for us to really get to know and try out several brands that might be working with us over in the food hall.

[0:20:19.8] Georgiana Dearing:
Okay, I’m just pausing because my mind is blown. There are so many things going on down there that I hadn’t – I wasn’t aware of it.

[0:20:28.3] Austin Green:
Yeah, we’re going to get the word out a little bit more. Hopefully this podcast will do all of that. We’re so busy. We’re so busy doing things, sometimes I think we don’t pause to tell people about things.

[0:20:42.1] Georgiana Dearing:
Well, one other thing I remember is food trucks. What is going on with the food trucks down there?

[0:20:46.5] Austin Green:
You know, I think food trucks have had a really hard go of it during the pandemic, you know? All of the office building business basically dried up. I think it’s easy to forget but, at the beginning of this sort of pandemic, people were afraid to go anywhere to do anything, so even the idea, for a lot of people, to even go in a safe manner to go pick up food from a food truck that was packaged and just go pick it up, you know there was a danger in that. I mean I remember early on, I remember seeing somebody in a parking lot of a grocery store with a sanitizer wipes, wiping down a pineapple.

[0:21:26.1] Georgiana Dearing:
Yeah, because it was crazy.

[0:21:29.0] Austin Green:
It was because we didn’t know, right? We didn’t know if you could carry the virus on a pineapple, I mean, so everyone was really trying to figure out just how this was transmitted and what was going on with that.

That was pretty devastating, certainly in the short-term for a lot of food trucks, we’ve been able to open up the food truck corral and allow our food trucks to actually basically do pick-up out of there over the last couple of months, and that seems to be working pretty well for them.

You know, the gated communities and just the sort of the neighborhood associations actually were pretty great early on because people, like I said earlier, people got pretty tired of their own cooking pretty fast. I think they found a lot of success in booking out in some of those communities and just getting a bunch of people out there to support them but, you know, food truck operators are tough, they’re a tough lot, you know? They’re going to figure it out and they’re going to survive it, so I don’t really have any doubt that they are going to come out of this and I’m really hopeful that, you know, this season for them, which you know the spring and the summer and into the fall is really – you know, that’s really the best spot for them. I’m really hoping that this season is going to be a lot better for them than last year.

[0:22:47.8] Georgiana Dearing:

[0:22:48.5] Austin Green:

[0:22:49.3] Georgiana Dearing:
Me too, I mean I am feeling the hope of spring in so many ways right now. What is on the horizon? What is next? I mean you said like it seems like you are being pulled in so many directions but I am sure you’re headed toward a point, so what’s next for you?

[0:23:06.1] Austin Green:
Am I, you know? We are. I think we just – it seems very complex but I don’t think it really is. What we always aim to do is to identify what’s missing in the ecosystem, as we see it, to listen to what other people are asking for, and to do our best to figure out a sustainable way to provide those things. In the future, we plan to expand the different types of products that we’re packaging into different types of co-packing facilities.

[0:23:39.1] Georgiana Dearing:
Are you packing, like, your own foods, or these are – there’s no Hatch brand in?

[0:23:44.2] Austin Green:

[0:23:44.9] Georgiana Dearing:
All right, just clarifying that.

[0:23:46.3] Austin Green:
That’s a very important thing for us that sort of distinguish, like, really sets us apart from other co-packers. And, for anyone in your audience that’s not entirely sure what that means is, you know, people bring their product ideas to us and we manufacture them for them, and then they then can concentrate on selling their product or developing new products. And if we decided really early on that intellectual property was really important to us, as far as protecting our client’s intellectual property, and we decided that we would never have our own brand of products.

[0:24:20.0] Georgiana Dearing:

[0:24:20.4] Austin Green:
We’ve removed any conflict of interest that might exist in people bringing their products to us and we’re very transparent about how we work. People who have their products packaged with us are welcome, from time to time, as long as it’s safe, to come and actually observe their own product being made to be sort of a part of the process in a more meaningful way than is usually allowed in that relationship.

[0:24:47.9] Georgiana Dearing:
Yeah, a lot of co-packers may be actually renting space on facility that they’re using for their own brand or they may be in the business of just doing house labels for other businesses, and then they say, “Okay, and you can come in in their selling space,” so that is a unique position to be in.

[0:25:07.8] Austin Green:
It just extends our mission, which is to help other companies grow. Our company makes products and helps people make their own products, so we’re happy to be the production facility or the facility that hosts companies that want to make their own products.

[0:25:22.7] Georgiana Dearing:
Yes, so I was asking about the future and you’re just sort of going to be expanding services in the areas you’re already playing?

[0:25:30.8] Austin Green:
Right, yeah and you know, we continue to develop our property as well. I mean, the main building is 20,000 square feet. We now encompass four buildings on campus.

[0:25:40.8] Georgiana Dearing:
How many buildings are on that campus?

[0:25:43.3] Austin Green:
There are over 30 buildings on the campus but we are being allowed to develop 15 of those.

[0:25:50.0] Georgiana Dearing:

[0:25:50.7] Austin Green:
Four down, 11 to go.

[0:25:55.2] Georgiana Dearing:
Okay, I see you’ve got a target.

[0:25:58.7] Austin Green:
Right, so not counting the food hall, right? The food hall is down in Manchester, like maybe a mile away from where we are, probably less than a mile. We’ve got a lot of room to grow. I mean I am already working on another building and we also develop properties for other companies as well. We were able to take Nightingale Ice Cream Sandwiches, which was our first member in the main kitchen, they are our first member to sign with us and, you know, we just built them their own ice cream sandwich factory basically.

[0:26:33.4] Georgiana Dearing:
Holy cow! I’m so glad you mentioned them because I remember that they sort of started on rental equipment and then graduated to their space, and I just saw that they were rolling out a new product like saw an effort.

[0:26:45.4] Austin Green:
I mean they’re just unstoppable, you know? Yeah, we’re really proud of everything that they have been able to achieve and we’ve been really happy to be a part of that story. But yeah, they’re doing great and, I mean, we have other businesses that just – we have businesses in our kitchen that are in need of that next thing and whether that means that we’re going to actually co-pack a product for them, or whether that means that they just need a larger dedicated space, we’re here to accommodate that.

The next building we plan on building individual kitchen suites that have hoods in them, that are fully kitted out with all the plumbing and the gas hookups and different electrical supplies so that they can be customized for each client’s needs, and can also expect to see some new co-packing wings of our packaging businesses so.

[0:27:35.0] Georgiana Dearing:
Oh, my goodness. So, tell me, like, for all the food entrepreneurs out there, tell me how can they tap into what they’re doing? How can they find you and connect with you?

[0:27:47.8] Austin Green:
Right, I think that the best thing to do for food entrepreneurs and I think it’s like – I think a lot of early food businesses think that they need to wait until they get a bunch of different things together to kind of start talking to other people in the business and us. And, you know, our job is to try to get people started as well and we can be very upfront and frank with people that maybe, “You do need a little more time before you get started in our kitchen,” but we’ll also offer some really helpful constructive suggestions for what you need to do, and we’re always a community resource. We’re a community resource for companies that don’t become Hatch members, right?

[0:28:31.7] Georgiana Dearing:

[0:28:32.3] Austin Green:
That’s fine. We think that if it is something that’s good for the ecosystem, it’s going to be good for us, you know? You never know, things change so quickly for food business, so just because a food business isn’t a good fit for us today, doesn’t mean that in six months things will have changed ,and now they’re ready to come over to Hatch. We always keep that in mind and we’re always trying to be helpful with that.

We do on our website, if you go to the website, there are entry forms that are sort of interest forms that you can fill out and those go to people on our team that will then follow-up with you and figure out where you might fit in, whether it is gaining the product co-packed, or renting the café space for a pop-up, or storing your products, or becoming a kitchen member.

[0:29:22.4] Georgiana Dearing:
Tell us what the web address is and where else they can find you?

[0:29:26.5] Austin Green:
The main website is just at and from there, you can kind of branch out and click for even for the food hall. The food hall has its own separate forms and stuff like that. You can find all of that by just going to

[0:29:45.5] Georgiana Dearing:
You can go to and start there and then you can branch off into all of the other things you’re doing.

[0:29:52.7] Austin Green:
Absolutely. And, you know, there is contact information there too and, you know, we check the email.

[0:29:59.7] Georgiana Dearing:
That’s good. Well, this has been a great discussion. I could probably make a whole podcast out of just one of the things you’re doing down there and we may do that again another time.

[0:30:10.9] Austin Green:
Yeah, anytime. Yeah, and I wanted to mention before we go, you know that for folks that maybe aren’t in food businesses, expect to see Hatch Local Food Hall open in the current at 400 Hall Street sometime this summer.

[0:30:25.4] Georgiana Dearing:
That’s going to be a food hall with different restaurants, right? Little mini-restaurants in your food hall?

[0:30:31.0] Austin Green:
Right. Yeah, so seven different food vendors all highly curated local businesses. We’ve announced several of them already. We have a few more to announce.

[0:30:40.2] Georgiana Dearing:
Yeah, we were talking about it on VA Foodie.

[0:30:43.8] Austin Green:
Nice, you know two full-service bars, just a lot of really exciting things, beautiful space, really like a local food lover’s paradise.

[0:30:53.6] Georgiana Dearing:
Oh, it’s going to be its own destination.

[0:30:56.2] Austin Green:
For sure, yeah.

[0:30:57.3] Georgiana Dearing:
For all the eaters out there.

[0:30:59.1] Austin Green:
One hundred percent, yeah we’re very excited about the different businesses that are going to be going in that.

[0:31:04.7] Georgiana Dearing:
Well, this has really been great. I want to thank you so much for taking some time with me and telling your story.

[0:31:11.2] Austin Green:
Sure thing.

[0:31:12.6] Georgiana Dearing:
Thanks for listening and if you want to learn more about how to grow your own food brand, then click on “grow my brand” at If you’re a lover of local food, then be sure to follow us. We are @vafoodie on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. Join the conversation and tell us about your adventures with good food, good people, and good brands.