North Carolina

Rowan gets his first commissioner’s kitchen – Salisbury Post

Rowan gets his first commissary kitchen

Posted at 12:06 a.m. on Sunday, March 19, 2023

Melissa Schneider, owner of the first Rowan County Commissioner’s Kitchen in Spencer. By Elisabeth Strillacci

SPENCER – A nurse by training and by trade, Melissa Schneider is a cook and a foodie at heart, who left nursing to open her own food truck, Stick it 2 You, which offers delicious meals on skewers .

But to operate a food truck in North Carolina, you have to have a brick-and-mortar kitchen, known as a commissioner’s kitchen, somewhere. This expense, which can be well over $1,000 per month in some locations, can make operating costs too high for some new business owners.

So Schneider decided to tackle the problem by opening a commissioner’s kitchen in Rowan County. The first of its kind here, 5 Star Commissary and More is located at 1205 N. Salisbury Ave. to Spencer. The former restaurant is a large space, and currently Schneider has 20 attendees lined up – 12 are already using the space for storage and prep, and eight more plan to start once they receive all necessary permits.

She has room for 25, and renovations to open up space for more are coming soon. The cost is $400 per month, and compared to the average cost in Charlotte of $1,500 per month, that’s more than reasonable.

“I’ve always loved cooking,” Schneider said. “We don’t go out to eat with my family. We eat at home. And I love the food truck business – it’s a way for people to try new and different foods, and the people who run the trucks get to know their communities. But she knows the added expense of having a physical kitchen can be a deterrent for some.

The commissary provides a space for food entrepreneurs to prepare and package their products for sale to the public for an affordable monthly fee. The Commissary is equipped with state-of-the-art appliances and workspaces, including commercial-grade ovens, ranges and blenders. It also offers ample storage space for ingredients and finished products. The facility is designed to be flexible, allowing multiple tenants to use the space simultaneously.

And that helps more than food truck vendors. Several small businesses have already signed up for membership, including bakers and caterers, in addition to food truck operators. It also gives these small business owners and operators the opportunity to collaborate and network with other food industry professionals.

For Schneider, the goal was in part to help bring a greater variety of locally made food products, all produced under strict health and safety regulations, to Rowan County.

“I hope this will give the region a boost by helping to create jobs and make small businesses sustainable,” Schneider said. “I also hope it will benefit local farmers.” Customers not only have access to all available equipment, but also have access to the 24-hour commissary.

“So if anybody wants to come in at midnight and work on food prep, they can,” she said. “I wanted people to be able to use the kitchen when it suited them.”

Schneider has a silent partner in the business, someone she believes believes in her and what the commissioner is offering, but she is the face and identity of the business.

Schneider is not only passionate about food and small business success, but she believes in supporting her local community and is excited for her own food company and other local businesses to connect and participate in local events. And she’s happy to give back to the community by helping small businesses succeed.

“Honestly, I’m so lucky to be able to do this,” she said. “I’m grateful this has happened and I look forward to seeing the businesses here grow.”


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