Building a hub for food

By JEFF INGLIS  |  January 9, 2013

But with the new space, the Bomb Diggity may try to piggyback on the Fermentory's existing distribution network to also carry its products. And deCsipkes is already talking with local artists, including some Momentum clients, about making murals to decorate the walls inside the industrial-looking exterior.

It's that sort of synergistic potential that gets Cayer truly excited. Whether there are more classes (which the UFF used to hold until production demands required more space), or partnerships with renewable-energy companies, or opportunities for collaboration with food-truck owners as that business type develops in Portland, Cayer has no shortage of ideas about how to use the space inside the building, as well as the 5000-square-foot parking lot outside it. (In fact, he overflows with such ideas, many of which are not yet ready for publication; watch this space.)

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Not to mention that the warehouse bay between the former garage and the existing Fermentory is now available for rent. Though nothing is finalized, Cayer definitely has his eye on that, both as a connection between the UFF and these other businesses, but also to help with a much-needed expansion of his own production and storage space.

It's all part of his effort to grow community throughout Portland, even in a place like East Bayside, which is a place Portlanders are just starting to think of as an exciting neighborhood. "People are coming down here now" Cayer says, pointing to the little drink-related cluster of Rising Tide and Bunker brewing companies and Tandem Coffee. That's not to leave out other parts of the East Bayside revival, which includes eco-businesses like Washboard Eco-Laundry's Greener Cleaner dry-cleaning and Freeman's Bicycle Service, community groups like the Maine Muslim Community Center and the Compass Project youth-building non-profit, and arts groups Running With Scissors and Zero Station.

People are already attracted to the area. "We just need to create more reason for them to come a little further," he says. He hopes that's where this new food hub will come in.

YOU CAN HELP
• Volunteer work parties will happen on Saturdays from 10 am to 2 pm through the end of January — so show up and contribute your sweat and equity too!

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  Topics: Food Features , Forest City, Eli Cayer
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