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Innovation

Florence culinary incubator stirs entrepreneurship dreams

FLORENCE, Alabama – Entrepreneurs looking to break into the highly competitive food industry have found invaluable tools and support in northwest Alabama.

The Florence-based Shoals Entrepreneurial Center is home to a culinary incubator that offers a fully equipped, FDA-approved commercial kitchen for fledgling startups to rent at reasonable rates.

Beyond that, the center’s staff provides coaching for their culinary clients, with advice on everything from marketing and packaging to volume production and distribution networks.

“We ask them, ‘Who in the grocery store are you going to knock off the shelf?’” said Giles McDaniel, the SEC’s executive director. “We try to encourage them to find a special niche first, and we’ve got local grocers and farmers markets where they can try it out and get their feet wet.

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