CANAAN – When Heather Kerner launched her startup The Good Crust in 2020, she rented space at The Miller’s Table at Maine Grains in Skowhegan where she had access a few days a week to an 80 square foot kitchen and a large walk-in closet. freezer.
This gave him room to produce up to 11 pounds of pizza dough at a time, with the ability to do that amount about five times a day.
Business, it turned out, was good.
The Good Crust expanded its operations with a move earlier this year to 210 Main St. in Canaan. The 1,200 square foot space includes new equipment that produces approximately 2,000 pounds of dough each workday.
“For us, the footprint and condition of this facility is perfect,” Kerner said. “It’s sparkling and new, not too big to be too expensive to operate, and only six miles from the grain mill where we source 100% of our grain ingredients.”
The Good Crust has produced 61,000 pounds of dough since its launch two years ago. This year alone, the company is on track to produce 35,000 pounds, using roughly the same volume of local grain in the process. While there are several pizza dough makers in Maine, The Good Crust is the first and only commercially available dough maker made from 100% Maine grains, Kerner said.
The dough-making process, she said, is a little different from some competitors, using a process required for freshly ground beans to create a higher hydration dough.
“(The process) is part mechanized, part manual,” Kerner said. “This is directly in line with our social mission to create good jobs in Somerset County for underserved populations.”
The Good Crust has partnerships with The Miller’s Table in Maine Grains and Crown O’Maine in Vassalboro (Kerner is the twin sister of Maine Grains co-founder and CEO Amber Lambke). Since opening, the business has also become a supplier for Flight Deck Brewing in Brunswick, Strong Brewing in Sedgwick, Maine, Hearth and Soul Oven, and other locations in Maine and as far south as Hudson Valley, New York.
The Canaan space allows The Good Crust to expand the building at some point. Kerner also plans to add another freezer, which would help the company achieve the capacity to reach $1 million in revenue over the next two years.
“Then we can start thinking about a modest kitchen expansion to expand our ability to support Maine agricultural products with new markets for pre-stretched pizza dough, dry pizza dough mix and larger volumes. frozen dough bred to serve university, school and hospital food service programs,” said Kerner.
She is an occupational therapist by training and is employed by Oakland Regional School Unit 18. One of the main goals of his company is to provide workforce development training to people with different cognitive and physical abilities.
His business is one of many in Somerset County that are planning to expand and grow in the coming months.
“The Good Crust and its expansion is a wonderful story, especially at the start of the pandemic and the economic uncertainty that comes with it,” said Christian Savage, executive director of the Somerset Economic Development Co. “This is testament to the Heather’s commitment, intelligence and faith in her business.As food safety and supply chain constraints continue to plague us, The Good Crust is well positioned to succeed and contribute to our local economy. with its local products.
Maine Grains and Bigelow Brewing have both announced expansions to their facilities in downtown Skowhegan. Last fall, an Embden couple closed the Solon Hotel with plans to renovate the building in a multi-phase project, revitalizing a space that will house a restaurant, bar and entertainment area.
GO Lab/TimberHP is also ramping up production of wood fiber insulation at the former Madison Paper Mill, with production slated to begin in early 2023, a move that will create about 100 jobs in the area. In Bingham, Maine Plywood plans to begin operations at the former Quimby plant with plans to produce premium wood underlayment/plywood, bringing an additional 100 jobs to the area.
“Regionally, the business climate has had its ups and downs like most regions, but we have been impressed with the number of new businesses opening, even in these challenging times,” Savage said. “We are also excited to see existing businesses investing in themselves and their employees during the pandemic. The Good Crust is another business contributing to the local food and grain economy in Somerset County, which really took off with Maine Grains over 10 years ago.
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