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Mac & Cheese Ministry Inc.

Submitted by: Rashelle Brooks
State: North Carolina
City: Greensboro

Business Description

Mac & Cheese Ministry Inc is a Gourmet mac and cheese business with a social mission. We sell 7 different kinds of gourmet mac and use a portion of of profits to feed, employ and empower people.

What one unique aspect of your business will make you succeed over the next year?

Mac & Cheese Ministry was started in 2014 as one person's effort to feed the local homeless people. The company's story AND product are an inspiration to others to think of comfort food differently. The customer base and community partners gained over the last 3 years, plus the appropriate resources, will serve as a launchpad from which the company will experience rapid growth.

How does your business make a positive impact on the community?

Not only does Mac & Cheese Ministry make a delicious, competition-winning version of the America's all-time favorite comfort food, but the business model is based on inviting the entire community to be accountable for addressing the needs of others. The product has been market-tested and has a following of great customers who not only love the mac, but the mission as well. By directly selling our product to local individuals, specialty stores and other food businesses, we create an avenue for these groups, to contribute to feeding families in their own community. Replicating this social responsibility model in other communities is currently in the works via shipping of our product.

What would you do with a $1,000 Sam’s Club gift card, training, and help from a SCORE mentor to grow your business?

A $1K gift card to Sam's would be used to add to production inventory and relieve some of the stress on the company's finances and using the cash surplus to hire additional help for production. The company is in its fourth year of operation and a SCORE Mentor and training would be valuable in evaluating scalability options (and projecting revenue - not yet in the profitability stage/owner takes no salary), permanent options for production (location, co-packers etc), and planning for the company's growth beyond the break-even stage.

The following responses will be considered in judging for a SCORE Award.

How has working with a SCORE mentor helped your business?

I had a SCORE mentor through Wake Tech Community College in the very early stages of my business. He asked the tough questions, gave me guidance and tools that created a roadmap for me to work from in paving the way to my next stage of development. An what was most valuable, was the push to resist quitting my dream.

Have you had to overcome any obstacles along the way to build your business?

Yes! I've operated for over 3 years without a steady production facility. In my county, commercial kitchen regulations are nearly impossible for food startups to overcome without enough capital. I've borrowed church kitchens and worked tirelessly (and repeatedly) to reformat my production model to meet County and State regulations. This has hindered growth tremendously, but I have continuously worked to keep my customers engaged, to keep serving as many people as possible and to keep the product visible. In spite of the challenge, I have still been featured in local publications, won first place in Charlotte, NC's Mac & Cheese competition and grown my database of potential customers through social media.

How will you utilize the marketing video and national recognition of winning a SCORE Award to help take your business to the next level?

Visibility at this level will spark an influx of interest. I plan to use this as a jumpstart to invite investors from all over, who have an interest in food and/or social enterprises to help grow this company.
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