Bagel supplier acquires food startup incubator
A supplier of bagels across the region has acquired the food incubator where it first launched.
It was last February when GR Bagel first launched in Uptown Kitchen in Grand Rapids' Eastown neighborhood, at 423 Norwood Ave. SE.
Now, GR Bagel, known for its hand rolled and boiled bagels, closed on its purchase of Uptown Kitchen on July 1, said René Kalter, co-founder, GR Bagel.
Kalter plans to transform the former Uptown Kitchen office space into a storefront for his bagel business.
The storefront, which he hopes to open by October, will offer breakfast and lunch, as well as coffee.
Now that GR Bagel is the owner, the space is no longer an incubator, the leases have changed and many tenants are no longer using the space, Kalter said.
There are seven tenants at the space: Art’s Hot Salsa, Deliciosity, Du Jour Fine Catering, CandyShanes, Marshmallogy, Bird and Stone Provisions and Link Love.
“We are still using it as a shared kitchen use,” Kalter said. “We are still open to other suitable tenants that want to work at our place.”
Uptown Kitchen, founded by Kelly LeCoy, opened in February 2012 as a way to develop Grand Rapids’ food culture by offering affordable kitchen space and marketing opportunities for food startups.
“Kelly LeCoy did this for several years and then she had some other career opportunities that she was interested in pursuing,” Kalter said.
Kalter said that the acquisition was ironic in a way.
“It is kind of funny. It was an incubator kitchen, and it gave us our legs in the Grand Rapids area, and we’ve never looked back,” Kalter said. “It’s turning into a freight train. Things are really going fast. Grand Rapids has been a great place for us.”
Although GR Bagel has no immediate expansion plans, Kalter said he’d eventually like to expand into places like Holland, Traverse City and Muskegon.