NeighborWorks Blackstone River Valley is thrilled to support the Millrace Kitchen, an incubator space designed to support food business startups. Since opening in 2017, over 40 food businesses have worked out of the kitchen space at 40 South Main Street.
In this series you’ll Meet the Millrace Members, get a sense of what it takes to start a food businesses, and learn of some incredible food and baked goods being made right in downtown Woonsocket.
Tell us about yourself and your business.
My name is Samantha Chamberlain, owner of Blush Bakeshop LLC. Blush is an all-vegan bakery business currently baking out of Millrace Kitchen, with a retail bakeshop coming soon in Providence, RI. I have over ten years of experience in the food industry and am a graduate of the AS Pastry and Baking program at Johnson and Wales University.
What type of food do you make?
We make vegan baked goods and treats! That means absolutely no animal products. We are most known for our donuts and pizza buns, a savory roll with vegan cheese and marinara sauce. We also make danish, pop tarts, cookies, brownies, cakes, pies, and more. Our mission is to prove you don’t need to exploit animals to enjoy your favorite treats. Vegan food can taste just as good, if not better. Our shop will also have locally roasted coffee, tea, kombucha, and vegan breakfast sandwiches.
What inspired you to start a food business?
I have loved cooking and baking since I was little, and after graduating high school I decided to make food my career. I attended a local community college culinary program and fell in love with pastry and cake decorating. That’s where I first got the idea to open my own shop. I then transferred to JWU to focus on baking. I have always been independent and never enjoyed working for others, even when I loved the job itself. I guess I’ve always wanted to be my own boss! Shortly after graduating from JWU I went vegan and made the transition to vegan baking exclusively.
How can customers find you?
Our brick and mortar shop is opening in just a few weeks! It is located at 408 Atwells Ave, Providence RI. In the meantime, we are still taking special orders and doing occasional pre-order menus for pickup. The best place to stay up to date with us is Facebook and Instagram, at @blushbakeshoppvd. You can also email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What are your food business dreams?
Opening our first shop and getting that established is the main focus right now. With COVID, the future is uncertain, but eventually, I would like to host community events in our space, and also have vegan baking and cooking classes. I want to be successful enough to be able to give back to our community regularly, donating to causes we believe in, especially LGBTQIA+ and BIPOC organizations who are doing amazing work locally. Maybe someday a second location in Boston or Worcester, as we have a lot of fans up there.
Interested in starting up your own food business? Need for a baker or caterer for your next event? Looking for a unique space to hold a party? Visit the Millrace Kitchen to learn more about our offerings.