Restaurant Notes extra: CookSpring commercial kitchen helps Mr. Koffee Cakes, other Fort Wayne companies

Eric Kreienbrink uses CookSpring, a shared kitchen at the Summit to make his Mr. Koffee Cakes products. (Photo courtesy of Eric Kreienbrink)

Eric Kreienbrink found that his coffee cakes were so popular that he couldn’t make enough in his kitchen at home. He’s now a member of CookSpring and using the commercial kitchen at The Summit to get ready for his public tasting event there noon-2 p.m. Wednesday.

Kreienbrink has been selling his cakes at places including Fort Wayne’s Historic Main Street Farmer’s Market and Columbia City’s new farmers market the first and third Saturday of each month. Customers gave him the name of his business, Mr. Koffee Cakes.

“I grew up a family (where) we all baked,” Kreienbrink said. “. I started to (sell) crafts and I was doing some shows, so I thought I’d take some coffee cakes.”

Using his mother’s recipe he created his 3-inch round cakes, a size he calls “personal,” but which could be cut in half to share.

“I wanted to take the world of doughnuts and put it into a coffee cake,” he said.

In addition to that original recipe of brown sugar and cinnamon, he has created a variety of flavors with blueberry, raspberry, lemon, toffee and caramel apple with Honeycrisp apples among his 11-13 offerings.

The small containers of cake sell for $3.50 each, $20 for six and $30 a dozen.

When the business outgrew his personal kitchen, Kreienbrink started thinking about finding a commercial kitchen to use. That’s what led him to join CookSpring’s shared commercial kitchen at The Summit, 1025 W. Rudisill Blvd. The kitchen never closes, so members who pay an hourly or monthly rate can reserve use of a kitchen space that has gas/convection/conventional ovens as well as some equipment and dry, cooler and freezer storage. Monthly rates vary from $325-$1,100.

“I thought what a great idea. You can rent space without buying all this expensive equipment.”

He gets use of the kitchen along with refrigerator, freezer and shelf space.

He was able to afford it through a new loan called BrightLaunch from the Brightpoint Development Fund. The loan program helps entrepreneurs who need business and financial mentoring and works with groups like CookSpring and Start Fort Wayne.

Brightpoint Development Fund referred him to the Compass entrepreneur coaching program at Start Fort Wayne. He worked with Steve Franks to create a business model and other items to put into an executive summary.

His business plan qualified him for the loan.

At CookSpring, he worked with Troy Tiernon, CookSpring’s kitchen coordinator, to learn about permits, understand the commercial equipment and change his recipes as necessary.

TASTE FOR YOURSELF

WHAT: Mr. Koffee Cakes public tasting event

WHEN: Noon-2 p.m. Wednesday

WHERE: CookSpring at The Summit, 1025 W. Rudisill Blvd. Enter in Door N at the front of the back building on the campus

FOR MORE: See the Facebook page at www.facebook.com/mrkoffeecakes, send email to lovecollectionbyeric@gmail.com or call 260-267-0423

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