Florida SBDC at UCF Helps Full-Service Food Prep Kitchen Start and Succeed
October 7, 2019
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Hal Thayer, Communications Director, FSBDC at UCF, 407.420.4850 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Orlando, FL – Eating Healthy; everybody wants to do it but nobody does it enough. And preparing those healthy meals every day isn’t easy, not for families or for singles. Jodee Soltes faced both challenges. Her son had special dietary needs which she had to address. And managing a family while building a second career as a Palm Coast high school teacher made time of the essence. Jodee Soltes found an answer. And then she decided to share it.
Together with her son Joe, a soon-to-be culinary arts graduate, she developed a business idea: a full service prep kitchen, sourcing local, fresh, whole foods, built on a passion for a healthy lifestyle and dedicated to using food as not only enjoyment, but as a type of medicine. Offering three different meal plans – Light, Traditional and Athlete – with a wide ranging menu appealing to all tastes, as well as a Grab ‘N Go option, Soltes believed she had a winning business proposition that would serve the Flagler County community she loves: Clean Eats Kitchen.
But a great business idea is one thing; how to start a business is a second. That’s when Jodee Soltes turned to the Florida Small Business Development Center at UCF (FSBDC at UCF). “I needed help,” she recalls. “I felt like I had no clue about what to do. But I did know there was help out there, at the FSBDC.”
Soltes turned to the local FSBDC in Flagler County and consultant Mike Oppenheim for its no-cost, expert consulting services and access to broad, in-depth market research resources. They started with the basics and then they used the FSBDC’s access to market information to research the opportunity.
“We needed to develop a financial plan to prove the concept,” says Oppenheim. “We needed to make sure her vision worked. We did the necessary market research. In my four years at the Florida SBDC, no client has done more or better preparation and market research before diving into the pool. It all laid the groundwork for a winning Clean Eats Kitchen business plan.”
Since starting their work with the FSBDC and consultant Oppenheim, the mother-son team of Jodee and Joe Soltes and Clean Eats Kitchen has had a whirlwind of success. With the help of the FSBDC, they found an excellent Palm Coast location; got the city permits and approvals they needed; obtained a loan from a local bank (never an easy thing for any start-up business); set up the store front and kitchen; and opened their doors in March 2019.
Clean East Kitchen: “The Easy Way to Eat Clean“ goes their slogan. And since opening, business has been good as the health conscious of Flagler County have found and started using this great, new source of eating well and eating smart.
“It was fantastic working with the FSBDC,” concluded Jodee Soltes. “I absolutely couldn’t have done it without them and without the support of Mike Oppenheim, Ray Peter and their administrative powerhouse Leanna Bourke. They are an invaluable resource to entrepreneurs and small business owners.”
For information about Clean Eats Kitchen, please visit www.cleaneatsflagler.com.
— FSBDC —
About the FSBDC at UCF
Hosted by the University of Central Florida (UCF), and with its main office in the National Entrepreneur Center located at the Fashion Square Mall in Orlando, the Florida Small Business Development Center at the University of Central Florida (FSBDC at UCF) is part of the UCF Office of Partnership & Innovation and the Florida SBDC Network.
The Florida SBDC at UCF provides aspiring and existing small businesses with no-cost consulting, low-cost training, and access to business data and research resources. In addition to its core service offering, the Florida SBDC at UCF also offers specialized services to qualifying companies, including capital access, market growth, government contracting, international trade, business continuation, cybersecurity, disaster planning and recovery, and more. The FSBDC at UCF serves an eight-county area that includes Brevard, Flagler, Lake, Orange, Osceola, Seminole, Sumter, and Volusia counties and maintains 10 service centers across Central Florida.
In 2018, the FSBDC at UCF served over 2,500 entrepreneurs in Central Florida with consulting services, resulting in more than 6,500 jobs created, retained or saved; $749 million in sales growth; $36.1 million in capital formation; $178.3 million in government contract awards; and 277 new businesses started. For more information, please visit www.sbdcorlando.com.
About the Florida SBDC Network
For over forty years, the Florida SBDC Network, the state’s principal provider of business assistance [Fl. Stat. 288.001], has nourished a statewide partnership between higher education and economic development to provide existing and emerging small and medium-sized business owners with management and knowledge resources that enable overall growth, increased profitability, and economic prosperity for Florida’s economy.
In 2018, Florida SBDCs have provided professional business consulting to 11,500 client businesses, resulting in more than 38,400 jobs impacted; $4.4 billion in sales generated; $520 million in government contracts acquired; $201.8 million in capital accessed; and 665 new businesses started.
A statewide network of over 40 offices, the Florida SBDC is funded in part by the U.S. Small Business Administration, Defense Logistics Agency, State of Florida and other private and public partners. The Florida SBDC Network, headquartered at the University of West Florida, is nationally accredited by the Association of SBDCs and is a 2016 recipient of the President’s E Award for Export Service. Florida SBDC services are extended to the public on a nondiscriminatory basis. Language assistance services are available for individuals with limited English proficiency. For more information, please visit www.FloridaSBDC.org.