Caterers get help

Caterers get help

July 23rd, 2009 by Brian Lazenby in Businesstopstory

Staff Photo by Dan Henry Sharon Caylor works in her new business Kitchen Access on Monday. The business opened in April of this year and is a commercial kitchen that independent cooks can use 24-7.

Staff Photo by Dan Henry Sharon Caylor works in...

Herb Nelson ran a cake baking business from his home for several years, but when Kitchen Access opened in April, he saw an opportunity that boosted his business.

"I use it every week," he said. "I make all my cakes from there."

Sharon Caylor opened Kitchen Access to give caterers and other bakers access to a commercial kitchen. She used to own The Flaky Baker, a bakery and wedding cake business, but she knew there were others like her who needed a commercial kitchen.

"There is a huge need for a commercial kitchen in Chattanooga," she said.

Kitchen Access, 8174 East Brainerd Road, is a 1,200-square-foot facility with all the amenities a commercial baker will need.

Many who use Ms. Caylor's kitchen are caterers or bakers who sell their goods every Sunday at the Chattanooga Market.

A typical rental rate is $20 an hour, plus $10 a month for dry storage space and $5 a day for cold storage space.

Monthly membership rates also are available for $200 at the silver level, $400 for gold and $800 for platinum.

Platinum members can use the kitchen up to 80 hours a month and have priority for reserving kitchen space and time.

Gold members are limited to a maximum of 40 hours of kitchen time a month and have priority over all but platinum members.

Silver members are limited to 20 hours a month and have priority over all but gold and platinum members.

"It really works out to a much better deal," Ms. Caylor said of the monthly memberships.

Robin Pereira, owner of Robin's Cakes and Candies, is a silver member.

She used to have a cake shop on Lee Highway, but she is now using the facilities at Kitchen Access.

"I think it is a wonderful concept," she said. "We're signed up for 20 hours a month. It really takes care of a lot of the overhead we used to have."

When Ms. Caylor initially opened Kitchen Access business was booming, but things have slowed during the summer months. She attributes the slowdown to people being out of town.

It was very exciting in the beginning," she said. "Hopefully when the summer months are over, people will jump in again."