As Hope & Main celebrates its first birthday, the historic schoolhouse that it calls home turns 100. Built in 1915, the 18,000 square foot elementary school was faithfully rehabilitated by its new owner, Hope & Main. With the help of a $2.9 million USDA loan, classrooms were preserved, blackboards were restored, and even the maple floors were polished to reveal the places where wooden desks were bolted to the foor. The entire first floor remains a community space devoted to public education about cooking, nutrition and the need to recapture and sustain the local food system.
Hope & Main is calling all alumni who attended the Main Street School to return to their “alma mater” as special guests on Sunday, October 11 from 2-6 p.m. at 691 Main Street in Warren, RI. This historic gathering is so significant, that the Warren Preservation Society will be on hand to video the stories and memories of Main Street School alumni as part of the town’s oral history project.
The Centennial Celebration also coincides with the last Schoolyard Market of the season (Schoolyard is Hope & Main’s makers market), and will be a turn of the century themed, fall festival open to everyone free of charge. In addition to the fare that market-goers have discovered at the Schoolyard Market all season long, the Centennial Celebration will feature:
- 2:30 p.m. PieEating contest featuring Humble Pie
- 3 p.m. Square dancing with the Town Howlers
- 4 m. Class Reunion for everyone who attended school at 691 Main Street
- 5:30 p.m. $100 Raffle Prize Winner Announced
- Plus, Oldtimey photo booth and games, Historical artifacts from 1915, Carnivalstyle food and treats, Photo submission contest, and Live music
- Festivities are being sponsored by Navigant Credit Union also celebrating their 100th year of serving Rhode Islanders; and Dave’s Marketplace
There is much to celebrate as Hope & Main boasts a solid report card in its first year of business. The nonprofit food business incubator has jump started more than 50 food businesses, poured more than $1.14 million in into the local economy, and created 124 new jobs. President and Founder, Lisa Raiola says, “When I first saw the building it took real imagination to see the potential for what Hope & Main has now become. It is a vibrant place of reinvention. At the same time we created state of the art production kitchens for food entrepreneurs, we also preserved the school as a community resource where people of all ages can learn about the benefits of healthy eating and local food. Now that we’ve been open for a year, I cannot believe the voracious appetite people have for this novel concept.”
While capturing the stories of Main Street School alumni, Hope & Main will also tell the story of some of its “star pupils” and break-out businesses:
- Both Deelish No Scare Skin Care and Ocean State Smoked Fish were among only five finalists in the recent “Get Started Rhode Island” business competition
- Hola Baked Goods is in production full-time to satisfy
- Fox Point Pickling Co. is marinating in 70 stores across five states, plus 610 restaurants and corporate cafeterias. Fox Point won a RI Monthly Best of RI award, and is a finalist in the Martha Stewart Living American Made
- Tito’s Cantina quadrupled production and launched four new products, thanks to Hope & Main’s technical support, equipment, and
- Delsie Catering & Events clients include Alex and Ani, RISD, Brown University, The Office of Governor Gina Raimondo, The Dean Hotel, The Governor Henry Lippitt House Museum, Lark Hotels, and the Junior League of Rhode
- Essentially Coconut has seen impressive online sales, and their products can be purchased at Whole Foods and eight other stores across RI and
- Backyard Food Co. is selling 51 stores, including every Dave’s Marketplace in Rhode
Hope & Main invites alumni to submit your school picture or a photo of the Main Street School by October 9, 2015 for $20 worth of free raffle tickets. For more information about this ticketed event, and for photo contest details, please go to: https://www.facebook.com/events/740013216125621/
About Hope & Main:
Hope & Main helps local entrepreneurs jump start early stage food companies and other food related businesses by providing low cost, low risk access to shared use commercial kitchen space and other industry specific technical resources. As the state’s first food business incubator, Hope & Main’s nonprofit incubator program gives food startups the chance to grow in their first two to three years without the cost of equipping their own commercial facilities. Members benefit from extensive mentoring, access to fullyequipped and affordable workspace, and immersion in an entrepreneurial environment where they can collaborate with industry experts and peers. Hope & Main’s aim is to create a community of support for food entrepreneurs and to serve as a springboard for the launch and growth of new culinary enterprises.