The Incubator

Getting Started

First, about our "split personality"
The Kickapoo Culinary Center is available for a wide variety of functions, large and small, but its primary mission is to serve as an incubator for serious start-up food businesses. Hobbyists and others are welcome but incubator clients will be given priority when space in the kitchen is in demand.

It should be noted that some food entrepreneurs might prefer to concentrate their efforts on the marketing and distribution of their product and leave its actual production to others. That is commonly referred to as co-packing. The staff of the KCC is more than willing to make co-packing arrangements with anyone interested in doing so.

Curious about incubators? There are more than 35 in communities around Wisconsin; more than 1,400 across the U.S. Here are more facts from the National Business Incubation Association.

If you would like to discuss your food business plans with us, in complete confidence, please feel free to contact us. But before you do, we suggest reviewing the following material.

Entrance Policy
The Kickapoo Culinary Center, a certified food-processing facility, is available for rent
on an hourly basis to food entrepreneurs, and others, who have met entrance criteria, and:
  • Intend to process a food product that is approved under applicable state license
  • Obtain a  $1 million in product liability insurance that names the KCC on the certificate of insurance.
  • Agree to complete a business plan within six months of start date.
  • Agree to participate in a minimum of 15 hours per year of business development and industry-specific training.
  • Complete an application for admission and all other tenant forms.
  • Complete a three- to five-page business synopsis.
  • Complete kitchen sanitation, safety and equipment training.
  • Obtain the appropriate State of Wisconsin or federal license.
  • Complete all required classes as determined by the Food Code.
  • Agree to participate in quarterly reviews for documentation of business progress and production.
Note: Gays Mills village residents who stipulate, in writing, that the food they process is not intended
for commercial resale will be exempted from certain of the above qualifications.

Rental Agreement
The KCC is a food business incubator whose principal function is to provide affordable access to a certified food processing facility for those who meet the entrance criteria and complete all required applications, forms and training and who obtain the appropriate license by the State of Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP), or another agency, as appropriate, to process food. A signed rental agreement must be completed prior to start-up.

The Paperwork

Payment of Bills
Tenants are required to pay rental fees prior to each day’s use unless they have arranged for weekly, monthly, or anchor-level rental terms with the facility manager. All other fees for goods and services will be billed monthly and tenants are required to pay within 15 days of invoicing. Failure to pay rental bills within 30 days will risk suspension of a user’s rental agreement until such time as the bill has been paid.

Neither the KCC nor the Village of Gays Mills shall be liable for any damage to either person or property sustained by a tenant or by any third party arising in any way out of the use, operation, or occupancy of premises, or sale or distribution of any product manufactured on the commercial kitchen property. The tenant covenants and agrees to indemnify, defend, and save harmless the KCC and its employees, the Gays Mills Economic Development Association, Inc., and the Village of Gays Mills from all claims, costs, and liabilities arising from or in connection with: damage or injuries to persons (including death) or property in, upon, or about the KCC premises, any portion thereof, or resulting from the sale, distribution, and use of any product manufactured by the tenant on the KCC premises.

Delivery of Inventory
All deliveries are to be pre-approved with KCC management,and can be made only to the KCC loading dock receiving area. Arrangements for receiving deliveries must be made two days in advance. Deliveries must be paid in advance or by pre-established credit.

Storage of Equipment, Supplies and  Inventory
Storage area available for rent in the KCC premises is limited and does not allow for long-term storage of ingredient inventory. A minimal amount of special equipment and inventory may be stored on site. The KCC assumes no responsibility for the security of any equipment, supplies or inventory.

The KCC and its agents shall have the right to inspect tenant inventory, supplies and special equipment at any time. The state licensing agency and food safety inspectors may inspect without advance notice.

Inspection Reports
A copy of every inspection report must be submitted to the KCC staff and will be kept in the on-site tenant file.

Food and Equipment Sanitation

All tenants and their employees/assistants will be required to complete a commercial kitchen usage course under the direction of the KCC staff or specialists recruited for that purpose, and to show proof of attendance at a state approved food handler’s course. All individuals using the kitchen must be in good health, and follow all required sanitation requirements as identified by the DATCP, including dress code, food handling, equipment sanitation, personal hygiene, handwashing, hair nets, and gloves, as required by the Food Code. Clients are required to undertake a comprehensive cleaning and sanitizing of their work area before and after their processing work and, in connection with use of a deep fryer, will be required to supply their own cooking oil and then remove it as part of their cleanup procedure.

Kitchen Forms
In order to make sure that the kitchen is safe and sanitary at all times, tenants will be required to complete a Kitchen Use form indicating that all areas have been inspected by the tenant and found to be clean and equipment in working order for following tenants. Reports will be completed and turned in the day of use.

Products Produced
All food products produced for commercial resale must meet the approval of the KCC manager. All products must be processed, labeled, packaged, and warehoused according to the Food Code of the state of Wisconsin, local codes and FDA standards. Copies of all labels must be included in the on-site tenant file.

Ingredient and Packaging Records
Sourcing of all ingredients and packaging used in the production of foods for retail distribution at the KCC facility must be identified and filed at the kitchen facility in the on-site tenant file.

Notice of Recall, Claims and Suits
The Kitchen staff must be notified immediately of any product recall, claim, suit or litigation pending against a kitchen user.

Any Kitchen client processing potentially hazardous foods (as defined by FDA) for wholesale distribution must produce a HAACP plan as required by the FDA.

Dismissal From Facility
If a tenant fails to comply with contract requirements or policies established by the KCC, dismissal from the facility may result. If the breech of contract or policy puts others at harm or risk, the dismissal will be immediate. At minimum, failure to comply a first time will result in a verbal reminder and warning. Failure to comply a second time will result in a written warning. Failure to comply a third time will result in suspension of rental privileges for three months. A tenant may return from suspension after three months on a probationary basis, with review of tenant practices after each use for three months.

Graduation Policy
Each Kitchen incubator client will conduct a quarterly review, based on his or her business plan. Progress will be noted, along with areas of need for additional services and support. Decisions regarding a tenant “graduating” from the facility (i.e., ready to move to its own facility) will be determined on a case-by-case basis. Assistance in graduating will be provided by the facility staff and business assistance partners.
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