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The Apple Cart offers workshops such as "Building a Business Through Farmers Markets."
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Apple Cart co-owners Stephanie Ganz and Barb Upchurch, and Pizza Tonight owner Victoria Roche, greet guests.
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Guests check out the spread at the launch party at Ardent Craft Ales.
The Apple Cart celebrated its launch Wednesday at Ardent Craft Ales, and I spent most of my time there stewing in jealousy that there aren’t resources like this for every industry. (The rest was spent eating too much of Pizza Tonight’s incredible snack spread.) If you’re interested in starting a bake shop, a food truck, a wholesale food biz or a farm stand, you really ought to be on the phone with Stephanie Ganz and Barb Upchurch right now. They lead clients through the processes of marketing, crowdfunding, strategizing and networking, and they connect them to designers, lawyers and bookkeepers who’ll ensure that the business runs like a tight, beautifully-crafted ship. It’s a hell of a one-stop shop, considering that you typically have to seek out all of those services separately, on your own, with only the Internet and a crust of bread to sustain you. (OK, that was going too far.)
Ganz got her start in the gooey center of the industry: After training for chefdom at Johnson and Wales, she cooked at the Fat Canary in Williamsburg, Bryan Voltaggio’s Volt and Richmond’s own beloved Millie’s. She traded in that life to become director of New Visions New Ventures’ Breadwinners food business development program, and went on to help Victoria Roche open Pizza Tonight—you know, one of the most high-demand food carts in town. Since meeting Upchurch at NVNV, who has 20-plus years of small business-development experience and marketing and a directorship of the Women’s Business Center under her belt, all kinds of magic happened. They’ve been working on food industry projects together since 2010, but The Apple Cart makes their union official.
Coaching isn’t the only thing The Apple Cart offers. Workshops like “Street Food 101,” “The 10 Commandments of Crowdfunding” and “Building a Business Through Farmers Markets” are available throughout the year, making carefully-crafted capsules of industry info easily accessible to those who are in the beginning stages of business development. “Nettie’s Naturally, King of Pops, Mosaic, Hispania Bakery, Simply Southern Pies, Hardywood Park Craft Brewery and Popping Mealies are among our workshop participants,” Ganz notes.
Want to know more? Check out their upcoming schedule online; it kicks off with a “Starting a Mobile Food Business” workshop on Oct. 8.