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Meet Tracie Shelton of Alamo Kitchens in San Antonio

Today we’d like to introduce you to Tracie Shelton.

Tracie, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
My youngest son was born with several health challenges. Through the years we saught lots of treatment, had many medical procedures and took way too much medicine. What we found worked best for his issues was a change in diet. We were able to leverage food as medicine. I shared our success with family, friends, and moms I didn’t even know. A desire to share this knowledge with young people who are forming their eating habits is one of the drivers behind Alamo Kitchens.

I am privileged to work as a coach and advisor to professionals and small businesses. In my work, I found that food and beverage entrepreneurs were limited in their ability to scale, and sometimes start, because the barriers to entry were quite high. The most significant barrier was having a license, commercial kitchen space to prepare their products. Alamo Kitchens was designed to limit that barrier for food and beverage entrepreneurs throughout the city. And, in addition to providing kitchen space, we provide incubation services to those businesses as well.

Ultimately, we would like to provide both, a place for food and beverage entrepreneurs to prepare and cook their product and programming that helps inform and excite young people around cooking and eating to their health.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
I liken the process of building a business to traveling on a road under construction. Some places are quite smooth and you speed along, while other parts of the road a laden with orange cones and someone flagging you to a detour. There are unbelievable highs, like when we were awarded the top prize at the Launch SA Venture Challenge which helped us launch; being featured and acknowledged in the community as a business focused on helping other businesses grow or; having the phone ring and emails come in with inquiries regarding how to become clients in our space. During these moments you think, ‘Yes, this is it!’ And then, as you begin to think you have it all figured out, there is an orange cone in the road.

We have had an oven and a refrigerator go out simultaneously; a troll write a negative review on Facebook and; our FOB controlled door not open. In those moments, the euphoria fades and your mind moves to UGH! It’s also in these moments that you have to remember why you are on the path and what you are hoping to accomplish.

Please tell us about Alamo Kitchens.
We are a culinary co-working space in the heart of San Antonio, Texas. Our business is designed to support food and beverage businesses as they launch and grow. We do that in myriad ways like providing a commercial kitchen for their use. Alamo Kitchens allows entrepreneurs to launch, start and grow their business with minimal startup, infrastructure and maintenance costs.

Businesses working with Alamo Kitchens also have the opportunity to receive incubation, referral and partnership support. We work with our clients to build the business side of their organization through coaching, business development, and strategy work. We also work with clients to develop and respond to proposal and bid opportunities.

I am most proud of what we are building. In the next year, we will have helped start and build over 20 food and beverage companies. And in that, we will develop partnerships and build a referral network that our clients can continue to leverage.

Our “why” makes us different and sets us apart. Alamo Kitchens is focused on creating good things. We provide a licensed commercial space for people to create good foods and beverages. We create and share tools and coaching to help build businesses. We partner with complementary groups to provide health and wellness training for youth and seniors. We do all of this because we are committed to small business growth and we want to help create a generation that has a positive relationship with good and “good for you” foods.

Do you look back particularly fondly on any memories from childhood?
When I think about my childhood, I smile when I think about time with my extended family. My cousins and I would split our time between the kitchen, spying the latest goodies to come out of the oven, and backyard where we could run, jump and play until our heart’s content. Today, when my cousins and I are together, we remember those times with fondest and try to create a space for our children to have a similar experience.

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Image Credit:
Antione Murray, Courtney Harris

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