Small Business Feature: Union Kitchen
When it comes to supporting culinary startups, Union Kitchen has become a premier incubator in Washington, DC helping hundreds of DC businesses get started.
Union Kitchen first opened in 2012 as a response to the growing number of small businesses in Washington, DC and the support those businesses need. WDCEP asked Jonas Singer, CEO, to tell us why they do what they do in Washington, DC.
Jonas Singer, CEO
Union Kitchen, Founded 2012
1369 New York Avenue, NE
Washington, DC 20002
When did you first begin thinking about starting your company? What inspired you to do so?
Soon after opening Blind Dog Cafe, we started getting offers to expand. It was at that point that we began to realize there was a need in DC to support the expansion and launch of small businesses and to provide a high quality, well managed kitchen space.
Why did you select Washington, DC as a location for your company?
Even as the Nation’s Capital, DC is a small city that allows for community.
We are locals. We owned Blind Dog and we are focused on building the city we want to live in. By launching our small business that propels the success of hundreds of others, we are building the culture of DC.
What are your top 3 favorite things that you love about Washington, DC?
- It’s a small city. Even as the Nation’s Capital, it is a small city that really does allow for community. And that speaks to the relationships we’ve built. It’s great to know folks everywhere we go.
- It’s open for business.
- It’s home. Good, bad, weird, illogical, whatever – DC is ours.
What were the top 3 resources you used to start your business in Washington, DC?
My hair. Our brains. Our hustle. The city is going to great lengths to further support of the business community and we are excited for those who come after us to benefit. Union Kitchen, though, has been developed as a solution to the breadth and depth of resources and support growing and launching businesses need.
Have you worked with WDCEP previously (attended programs, used publications, met with staff, visited website) and if so, how did we help?
WDCEP has been a great partner and supporter as we’ve grown and expanded, including supporting our search for real estate, connecting our members with resources to learn and expand their knowledge, and in being a megaphone for our own marketing efforts.
WDCEP has been a great partner and supporter as we’ve grown and expanded.
What surprises you the most about running your business in Washington, DC?
That we are. We never thought we’d be running a business. And we are shocked every day that we aren’t bankrupt. It is also surprising how supportive the District government – and the individuals who comprise it – is on the one hand, but how much ground we have to gain to make the regulatory infrastructure truly ready for business.