Founder and owner Jeff Greenberg puts his background in psychology and business to help small food producers launch and grow. “We even sometimes get involved with product development, taking an existing recipe and refining it,” he said. Jonathan Castner/For BizWest

Kitchen Coop co-working space comes with a side of mentoring

BROOMFIELD — The Kitchen Coop in Broomfield is not your average commercial kitchen co-op. It provides kitchens and production areas for small food producers to make their wares, but it adds a little something extra: sound advice.

Jeff Greenberg, founder and president of The Kitchen Coop LLC, wanted his venture to stand out from the competition. Why keep renting commercial kitchen space to companies that had a high chance of failure when he could share his knowledge and expertise in management consulting and manufacturing operations to help these businesses succeed instead.

He didn’t just want to be a landlord.

“In order to leverage the opportunity, you need to help these companies grow,” he said. Otherwise, he added, you just keep renting to one failing company after another.

“The companies at that small scale can’t survive,” Greenberg said. “They can’t develop long-standing clients because they aren’t going to make it; they aren’t going to make money and they are going to quit.”

The idea for The Kitchen Coop was born in 2011, but really got off the ground 2 ½ years ago. Greenberg was a consultant to many different manufacturing companies from 2004 until he decided to venture out on his own. One of his clients at the time was a $30 million food company out of Albuquerque, N.M. After working with that company for three years, Greenberg decided he enjoyed the food industry and wanted to work in it.

He worked for six months at MM Local, a start-up branded food business that cans local, organic fruits and vegetables, to better learn the food business. As part of his work, he needed to find it a facility in which to operate.

“That proved to be very difficult,” he said. He began to mull over the idea of opening his own commercial kitchen facility for upstart food producers.

While it might seem as though the food industry is a major leap from Greenberg’s previous work, he pointed out that he studied judgment decision making as a graduate student at the University of Colorado, earning a master’s degree in cognitive psychology. He wanted to be a management professor, teaching managers and execu tives how to encourage better decision making. He earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology and another in economics from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania.

It is that background that drives his company today.

To date, The Kitchen Coop has helped two dozen companies and continues to work with more than half of those, Greenberg said.

The company has 23,000 square feet of space, including six different production areas, two packaging areas and a large climate-controlled warehouse and office space so people can use the building as their entire base of operations.

On top of that, the company owns millions of dollars in equipment for baking and liquid product processing.

“We help clients with everything from finance, marketing, business planning and business-level consulting, where we make sure that they have a realistic view of their product’s profitability so they are not wondering why they aren’t making money. They don’t go into it with unrealistic expectations,” he said. “We help them source ingredients and packaging material. We even sometimes get  involved with product development, taking an existing recipe and refining it.”

When a company reaches a certain level of success, Greenberg and his staff help it scale up to real proper food manufacturing. They help clients develop food-safety programs and standard operating procedures and train them on the use of the company’s equipment and how to work with The Kitchen Coop’s labor force to produce their products.

The Kitchen Coop employs 15 to 18 people who work in day and evening crews.

Companies come to The Kitchen Coop for two things. They either are looking for a contract manufacturer, someone to make their product for them, or they are looking to rent space.

“We fit in between those in that we do want to offer co-manufacturing, but most companies we are talking to, they are so small that they don’t realize it is not profitable for someone else to get involved,” he said. “It is not profitable for someone else to take it over.”

The company is working to bring in more clients on the contract manufacturing side.

To that end, The Kitchen Coop has added additional equipment and is building out another production area as well. The goal is to work with small companies that want to produce more but don’t have a way of doing it currently.

“We provide a path to co-manufacturing that is proving itself quite worthwhile that it works. We help clients who self-manufacture and coach them and guide them through until such a time as we can take over,” he said. “The offering is unique in the industry and is what has attracted people to us.”

BROOMFIELD — The Kitchen Coop in Broomfield is not your average commercial kitchen co-op. It provides kitchens and production areas for small food producers to make their wares, but it adds a little something extra: sound advice.

Jeff Greenberg, founder and president of The Kitchen Coop LLC, wanted his venture to stand out from the competition. Why keep renting commercial kitchen space to companies that had a high chance of failure when he could share his knowledge and expertise in management consulting and manufacturing operations to help these businesses succeed instead.

He didn’t just want to be a landlord.

“In order to leverage the opportunity, you need to help these companies grow,” he said. Otherwise, he added, you just keep renting to one failing company after another.

“The companies at that small scale can’t survive,” Greenberg said. “They can’t develop long-standing clients because they aren’t going to make it; they aren’t going to make money and they are going to quit.”

The idea for The Kitchen Coop was born in 2011, but really got off the ground 2 ½ years ago. Greenberg was a consultant to many different manufacturing companies from 2004 until he decided to venture out on his own. One of his clients at the time was a $30 million food company out of Albuquerque, N.M. After working with that company for three years, Greenberg decided he enjoyed the food industry and wanted to work in it.

He worked for…