Tasty Norco food creations in 300 stores

April 15, 2011 at 9:11 am  | Mobile Reader | Pring this storyPrint 

A display case shows the plethora of sauces and other food items manufactured at Norco’s Edible Enterprises. The only business food incubator in the greater New Orleans area now has 23 tenants whose products are in more than 300 stores.
Courtesy Photo
A display case shows the plethora of sauces and other food items manufactured at Norco’s Edible Enterprises. The only business food incubator in the greater New Orleans area now has 23 tenants whose products are in more than 300 stores.
Business is cooking at Edible Enterprises as the only food incubator in the greater New Orleans area enters its second year with 23 tenants whose food is now available in more than 300 stores across the Southeastern United States.

Over the last year, a wide variety of products including cupcakes, pralines, sauces, lemonade and bread pudding have been manufactured at the Norco facility.

“One of our tenants, Cupcakes & Company, have a mobile truck that sells cupcakes and they make approximately 900 cupcakes in our kitchen,” Gaye Sandoz,  the director of marketing and tenant services at Edible Enterprises said. “Another tenant, Sicily’s Finest Gourmet, makes a pasta sauce, creole sauce and a red pepper pasta sauce that is exceptionally good because he cooks it for six to eight hours.”

Sandoz said other exciting food products being created at Edible Enterprises include Billy Bytes Banana Bread, which is sold in coffee shops in New Orleans, Mama Spice Granola and Granola Cookies, Bayou Brew tea and Magoun’s Kitchen’s Twisted Lemonade and Blueberry Lemonade, which is sold in Whole Foods stores.

The facility offers a low-overhead way for local entrepreneurs with food business aspirations to get their products onto store shelves. Whether it’s sales demonstrations held for store representatives, educational workshops or technical assistance with marketing and health permitting, Edible Enterprises offers its tenants help in all aspects of the food products business.

The kitchens also offer a bottling machine, high-capacity mixers and convection ovens and walk-in freezers.

All of the tenants at Edible Enterprises have to pay a $200 application fee, but after that they pay just $20 an hour to use the kitchen.

“Compared to spending thousands of dollars to buy the equipment we have here, it’s pretty incredible that our tenants can take advantage of all that we offer for that price,” Sandoz said. “It’s also good for the tenants because they get to see if they really want to deal with the challenges that come with creating and marketing a product before investing so much of their money into it.”

While getting to rent out a state-of-the-art kitchen for $20 an hour is a pretty good deal, the fee includes so much more. Sandoz, who has created and marketed products for large companies like QVC and Cajun Injector, deals out marketing tips to every tenant at the facility.

“Without good marketing techniques, it can be very difficult to get into stores,” Sandoz said. “I have a lot of contacts throughout the area because of my work with QVC and Cajun Injector, and I can also teach the tenants ways to successfully market their product without spending a lot of money.”

And Edible Enterprises has continued to expand.

“We have grown a lot in the last year and we have bought two new walk-in freezers, we create ice cream fillings for Kleinpeter Dairy and we are developing a bread pudding mix for Edible Enterprises to create revenue for our operational cost,” Sandoz said. “And our tenants now come from 10 parishes across the state.”

And as the facility enters its second year of operation, Director Chelsea Lopker points to support from community partners for its continued success.

“We have a very talented group of entrepreneurs that truly represent the delicious flavors and personality of Louisiana,” she said. “Thanks to the collaborative efforts of our partners, we’re able to make this resource attainable for a wide array of clients.”

The incubator is a program of Goodwill Industries of Southeastern Louisiana. Founding partners include the River Parishes Community, Shell Norco and the St. Charles Parish Department of Economic Development and Tourism.

View other articles written Jonathan Menard

featured merchant

Landry's Outboard Motors & Repairs Service
Landry's Outboard Motors & Repairs Service Over 25 Years of Quality Sales, Service and Repairs on YAMAHA, MERCURY, EVINRUDE and JOHNSON Motors.

Sgt. Gautreaux remembered
Sgt. Gautreaux remembered
Many were hit hard by the death of Sgt. Roy Gautreaux Jr., a longtime volunteer deputy and K-9 handler with the St. Charles Parish Sheriff's Office who suddenly passed away last week at the age of 61.

Become A Herald-Guide Insider

Get breaking news, sports and lifestyles straight to your inbox