Canaan business rolling in the dough

CANAN – When Heather Kerner launched her startup The Good Crust in 2020, she took a seat at The Miller’s Table in Maine Grains, Skowhegan, where she had access to an 80-square-foot kitchen and a large walk-in freezer several days a week.

This gave Kerner a place to produce up to 11 pounds of pizza dough at a time, with the capacity to make that amount about five times a day.

It turned out that the business was good.

The Good Crust expanded with a move earlier this year to 210 Main St. in Canaan. The 1,200-square-foot space features new equipment that allows the production of about 2,000 pounds of dough a day when work is done.

“For us, the footprint and condition of this facility is appropriate,” Kerner said. “It’s shiny and new, not too big to be prohibitively expensive to work with, and only six miles from the mill where we buy 100% of our grain ingredients.”

Sean Duffy poured ice Monday into a new 160-liter mixer used to make batches of 350 pounds of pizza crust dough at The Good Crust in Canaan. Rich Abrahamson / Morning Sentinel

Good Crust has produced £ 61,000 of dough since it was launched two years ago. This year alone, the business is set to produce £ 35,000, using roughly the same amount of local grain in the process. Although there are several pizza dough makers in Maine, The Good Crust is the first and only maker of commercially available dough made with 100% Maine beans, Kerner said.

The process of making the dough, she said, is slightly different from some competitors, using a process needed for freshly ground grains to create a dough with higher hydration.

“The process is partly mechanized, partly manual,” Kerner said. “This is directly in line with our social mission to create good jobs in Somerset County for the underserved population.

The Good Crust has partnered with The Miller’s Table in Maine Grains and Crown O’Maine in Vassalboro (Kerner is the twin sister of co-founder and CEO of Maine Grains Amber Lambke). Since its inception, the business has also become a supplier of Flight Deck Brewing in Brunswick, Strong Brewing in Sedgwick, Maine-based Hearth and Soul Oven and other locations in Maine and south to the Hudson Valley, New York.

Heather Kerner, founder of The Good Crust, at the company’s new production facility on Monday in Canaan. Rich Abrahamson / Morning Sentinel

The Canaanite space allows The Good Crust to expand the building at a time. Kerner also plans to add another freezer that will help businesses have the capacity to reach $ 1 million in revenue over the next two years.

“Then we can start thinking about modestly expanding the kitchen to expand our ability to sustain Maine’s agricultural products with new markets for pre-stretched round pizza dough, dry pizza dough mix and larger volumes of frozen dough.” to serve the university, the school and hospital nutrition programs, ”Kerner said.

She is an occupational therapist by training and is employed by the Auckland-based Regional School 18. The main objective of her business is to provide workforce development training for people with different cognitive and physical abilities.

Her business is one of several in Somerset County that plans to expand and expand in the coming months.

“The Good Crust and its expansion are a wonderful story, especially at the beginning of the pandemic and the accompanying economic uncertainty,” said Christian Savage, CEO of Somerset Economic Development Co. “It’s a testament to Heather’s commitment, intelligence and confidence in her business. As food security and supply chain constraints continue to plague us all, The Good Crust is well placed to succeed and contribute to our local economy with its local goods.

Maine Grains and Bigelow Brewing have announced the expansion of their facilities in the center of Skowhegan. A couple from Embden closed the Solon Hotel last autumn with plans to renovate the building into a multi-phase project, reviving a space that will be home to a restaurant, bar and entertainment space.

GO Lab / TimberHP is also growing to begin production of wood insulation in the former Madison paper mill, with production set to begin in early 2023, a move that will result in about 100 jobs in the area. In Bingham, Maine Plywood plans to start work in the old Quimby Mill with plans to produce high-quality wood backing / plywood, which will lead to an additional 100 jobs in the area.

“Regionally, the business climate has had its ups and downs like most areas, but we were impressed with the number of new businesses opening, even in these difficult times,” Savage said. “We are also pleased to see that existing companies are investing in themselves and their employees during the pandemic. The Good Crust is another business that contributes to the local food and grain economy of Somerset County, which really developed with Maine Grains more than 10 years ago.

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