CookSpring Shared Kitchen’s first official full-time member has “flown the coop”—or, more appropriately, the kitchen—by moving into its own facility. Affiné Holdings Corporation recently opened its new restaurant, Junk Ditch Brewing Company, at 1825 West Main Street in Fort Wayne, leaving behind the commercial kitchen its owners had shared with other culinary entrepreneurs since March 2015. (See the accompanying article for more information on Junk Ditch Brewing).
Affiné Holdings is the umbrella company for both Junk Ditch and the Affiné Food Truck, a four-year-old business that used CookSpring’s facilities in 2015 and 2016 until the owners were able to open up their long-anticipated restaurant in July. The companies are co-owned by young entrepreneurs Andrew Smith, Dan Campbell and Jack May. Prior to the CookSpring facility, Affiné had used a couple of other commissaries as its base of operations, but those arrangements had not worked out. The owners were searching for a new space when employees of The Summit suggested they consider utilizing unused commercial kitchen space at The Summit complex, formerly part of the Fort Wayne campus of Taylor University.
While the Affiné owners used CookSpring as the base of operations for their food truck until Junk Ditch was ready to open, The Summit used Affiné as a springboard to open the CookSpring Shared Kitchen last year. Since then, more than 30 culinary entrepreneurs, home-based bakers/chefs and food truck owners have used the shared kitchen facility, the only one of its kind in Fort Wayne. “CookSpring was great; it was what we needed at the time,” reflects Affiné/Junk Ditch co-owner Campbell. He notes that “CookSpring allowed us to push the boundaries of the food truck and arrive where we’re at today.”
Mize, meanwhile, says he is proud of the Affiné owners, whom he calls the first “graduates” of CookSpring. “To Dan, Andrew, Jack, Grace, and everyone else at Affiné—thanks for growing with us, and thanks for helping Fort Wayne discover that food can be a catalyst for both economic and community development!” The Affiné owners moved into their new Junk Ditch Brewing kitchen in early July.
CookSpring is a partnering agency of the Northeast Indiana Small Business Development Center, providing a convenient alternative for culinary entrepreneurs in need of commercial kitchen space that fulfills Department of Health requirements. Those wanting to take advantage of this partnership should contact either organization to get started. The CookSpring Shared Kitchen can be reached through The Summit, 260-446-3200, or www.CookSpringFW.com. To connect with the Northeast ISBDC, go to www.isbdc.org or call 260-481-0500. For more information on Junk Ditch Brewing, call 260-203-4045 or visit its website, www.junkditchbrewingco.com.