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Downtown kitchen incubator The Commissary looks to expand

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The Commissary at Mercantile on Main is used by food-based startup companies and is looking to expand. - PHOTO PROVIDED
  • PHOTO PROVIDED
  • The Commissary at Mercantile on Main is used by food-based startup companies and is looking to expand.
An operation in Sibley Square designed to help start-up food businesses is celebrating the growth of that facility.

It’s called The Commissary, and it’s operated by the Rochester Downtown Development Corporation. It opened last fall when the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic was in full swing.

But the president of The Commissary, Laura Fox O’Sullivan, said during a celebration on Thursday, that they persevered, and now the downtown facility has attracted 43 member businesses to that incubator operation.

She also noted that 57% of the businesses are minority-owned and 52% are owned by women.

“It is core to our mission that the commissary supports entrepreneurship, for people who have fewer advantages, and who traditionally, business ownership would be too difficult of a barrier to overcome,” Fox O’Sullivan said.

The Commissary has benefited from state and federal funding and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, (D-NY), and a number of other officials gathered in Sibley Square to mark the expansion of that facility, which offers commercial grade kitchen equipment to entrepreneurs working to get their food-based businesses off the ground.



RDDC officials said that The Commissary is also seeking additional funding to boost its incubation services for food-based startup companies.

The project is adjacent to The Mercantile on Main, the food hall operated by the Winn Companies within the Sibley Square atrium.

Randy Gorbman is the news director at WXXI News, a media partner of CITY.