Today we’d like to introduce you to Carlo Capua and Cortney Gumbleton, Co-Owners of Locavore Fort Worth.
Can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
Ten years ago my 63 year-old mother sat me down and told me it was time to pursue her passion. I was shocked to find out that my mom had always dreamed of cooking for people as a career. She was known among our friends for her incredible skill in the kitchen…so we started a home-based catering business.
The business grew and we eventually settled in to our own kitchen, where we only used it part of the time. During the non-peak hours I started renting it to other fledgling entrepreneurs who needed access to a commercial kitchen but didn’t have the $200k to build their own.
My friend Cortney approached me 4 months ago with an idea – to create a full-size shared kitchen, co-working space and pop up venue to nurture the culinary startup ecosystem. Coincidentally, for the past 4 years my phone had been ringing off the hook from people who needed a part-time commercial kitchen. Mine was too small to help all of them, but I knew the concept and demand were evident.
So Cortney and I partnered up to start Locavore, and are now managing three commercial kitchens, working with kitchen renters, and planning events to support local foodie entrepreneurs.
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – Cortney, has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
I joke with Carlo all the time by saying that the stars have aligned for us. Back when Locavore was just a dream, I spent months building stakeholder support by sharing our concept, business model, and vision to friends and colleagues across town. They wrapped their arms around us and truly transformed our vision to give foodie trailblazers a home into a reality. I still pinch myself!
Friends, Carolyn Phillips from Alchemy Pops and Hayden Blackburn from Tech Fort Worth stepped in as advisors and now serve as Locavore Mentors. They realize the importance of supporting food entrepreneurs in Fort Worth. They tried to start a Kitchen Incubator a few years ago, but the timing wasn’t right.
Megan Henderson, a friend from Near Southside Inc., had this kitchen incubator model in her head for nearly a decade. She said, “Cortney, WE are going to make this happen in the Near Southside,” and connected us with Locavore’s future home—the Bastion. Shortly thereafter, I toured the venue, met the incredible owners (Hi Richard and Chandra!), and was offered the space.
A few weeks of begging later, I finally twisted Carlo’s arm to become my business partner. We decided to finance the business ourselves in order to fast-track the process and not miss out on the space of a lifetime. Since word has spread about Locavore, folks are coming out of the woodwork to schedule tours and learn more. There are so many people out there (like Carlo’s mom, Janet), who dream of pursuing their passion. I’m a big believer of when there is a will there is a way. We’re truly blessed!
Locavore – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
The food industry has one of the highest failure rates in business. Locavore offers resources to support foodie trailblazers, including affordable access to a commercial kitchen, co-working space, venue rental and business mentoring.
A byproduct of this support is for the kitchens who are used by our renters. Many are associated with nonprofit groups or struggling businesses, all of whom use this newly discovered passive income to ease financial challenges.
What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?
CARLO – I’m so proud to support my business partner, a female veteran, follow her dream of starting her own thriving business. Our vision us for Fort Worth to be known as a top location in the country for supporting entrepreneurs and small business growth.
- Commercial Kitchen Rental – $25/hour (monthly rates available)
- Event Space – $250/hour
- Co-working Space – $200/month
- Food Truck and Trailer Commissary – $350/year
- Address: Locavore
715 Hawthorne Avenue
Fort Worth, TX 76110
- Website: www.locavorefw.com
- Phone: 805-616-3252
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Facebook: Locavore