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Union Kitchen

Builds food businesses with our ecosystem, roadmap, and expertise.

Overview

Date Established 12/2012
Founder Cullen Gilchrist
Headquarters Washington, DC
Industries
Beverage, Food
Website https://unionkitchen.com
Press Contact Andrea Chan
Social

Products

About

Union Kitchen's mission is to build successful food businesses. When they build successful food businesses, something wonderful happens. Jobs are created. They develop wealth in our local economy and they get to celebrate culture, diversity, and vibrancy. They, collectively, build our city and we build our community.
Union Kitchen is a food business accelerator. They empower food founders with our ecosystem, roadmap, and expertise from launch to scale.

Founding Story

It started with a cookie… 

Cullen, his sister, and his friends opened the Blind Dog Cafe in 2012. The Blind Dog Cafe quickly became a popular community gathering spot, known for a great sense of belonging and the best chocolate chip cookies.

The Blind Dog Cookie (still served fresh in their stores) became so popular that they couldn’t keep up with demand! They needed more production space to keep up. They invited our food business friends to join us and we created the first shared commercial kitchen in DC.     

While running their cookie company, they noticed that their friends were having a hard time growing. They were so proud that they were starting companies, delighting customers, and bringing excitement and vibrancy to the DC food scene.  They had to find a way to help them be successful!

In particular, they noticed the challenges around manufacturing, distribution, and sales. Their answer? Pair their expertise in Consumer Packaged Goods through the Accelerator with a manufacturing infrastructure of Kitchen, Distribution, and Retail Stores that lowered the barriers to entry for local businesses.

Bios

Cullen Gilchrist

CEO and Founder

see bio

As CEO and Founder of Union Kitchen, Cullen Gilchrist has partnered with food businesses of all sizes to grow and scale their success. Cullen and his team have worked with over 120 exceptional food businesses to connect food founders with the resources, capital, and networks that they need to establish sustainable success. Cullen oversees the operations and management of Union Kitchen’s Accelerator as well as Union Kitchen’s Kitchen, Distribution, and Stores.

Elena Rosenblum

Vice President

see bio

Elena is the Vice President at Union Kitchen. In her role, she works closely with food and beverage entrepreneurs to build successful businesses. From refining their concept to raising investment, Elena advises more than 100 packaged goods companies on how to create products that meet market demand, build sustainable business models, and scale effectively. She sits on the board of numerous food and beverage brands.

In her previous roles, Elena advised private companies, nonprofit agencies, and government entities on how to foster entrepreneurship. Rosenblum graduated Cum Laude from the College of William & Mary with a BA in Economics.

Testimonials

We made this crunchy, puffy, almost pork rind-like chip and as we got bigger, we realized this has legs, and we got to get somewhere legit. And that's when Union Kitchen came on and they not only gave us a space to work out of but they also helped us with guidance and building the infrastructure that you need to start a company. It's not just cooking oddly enough.

Samy, Founder of Snacklins

When I first started this, I thought I can go and lease a space and have my kitchen there. And I looked online found Union Kitchen and met up with them and the rest is history. Having the Accelerator program, the certified kitchen, the distribution, the grocery store, it means you have all the pieces to go from developing your idea to actually trying it on shelves with the least amount of risk and least amount of investment. That's the way to do it.

Margarita, Founder of Mas Panadas

And we hear about Union Kitchen and we're building out our first cafe. And Cullen is starting to explain that there's products that they are making that they could sell to us. That's really the beginning of our relationship with Union Kitchen is we're buying fresh baked goods from Union Kitchen, we're buying snacks. ...we'd rather support local businesses with people that we know.

Michael and Harrison, Co-founders of Compass Coffee

Something we love about working at Union Kitchen is that we get to be directly in touch with customers and consumers, we get to take their feedback and directly iterate it and then put it into our production and processes. Union Kitchen is all about building a local community and providing small batch locally crafted food and beverage.

Daniel, Founder of Berg Bites

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