Those who have dined at ChefScape in Leesburg probably don’t know that the food hall only accounts for a fraction of the space’s 16,000 square feet. The parts that diners don’t see? They’re devoted to commissary kitchens. This is more important than ever right now. And no one realized it more than ChefScape COO Ginny Grivas. “These are small, small family-owned businesses,” she says of the vendors who use her kitchens. “No one’s in a growth stage right now, but they can sustain hanging on.”
That’s why ChefScape has just partnered with LoudounGo, a service devoted to boosting Loudoun County’s food and drink businesses (and in fact, all small businesses) to provide both kitchen space and a pickup location. LoudounGo launched in May and now includes a roster of roughly 40 businesses, ranging from farms to chefs to wineries. CEO Luke Baldwin says that business’ struggles due to COVID was part of the original inspiration, but now with people staying indoors as the cold weather hits, there’s even more reason to seek home delivery or pickup.
One of the latest additions is Erik Foxx-Nettnin, former chef at Magnolias at the Mill in Purcellville. He left to start catering business The Polished Foxx, which uses ChefScape as its kitchen for catering culinary experiences ranging from small dinner parties to big holidays feasts, all of which will take advantage of ingredients from local farms. “He needs a lot of room for all those turkeys,” Grivas says.
LoudounGo uses local transportation service Chariots for Hire to deliver goods within a 100-mile radius. That means that deliveries from Loudoun have gone not only to DC, but as far as Baltimore and Fredericksburg. “The biggest thing we really want to get the word out about is that conversion factor of supporting local really does keep our economy strong,” says Baldwin.
Next time you’re thinking of having groceries delivered, why not spring for chicken from Whiffletree Farm, greens from Nuts About Berries and a bottle from Walsh Family Wine? It could mean that a local business will make it through a tough winter.
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