For immediate release
Hummingbird Kitchen expansion nearly completed
The Owensville-area business that specializes primarily in catering, carryout and sometimes delivery, was approved for the IRP loan in March 2015. The new building is being constructed less than 50 feet from the former establishment.
“Workers are finishing up on construction downstairs and hanging some drywall upstairs this week,” Willsey said. “The state will be out this week to pre-inspect the facility before we move the kitchen equipment over.”
The current 160-square foot facility fulfills orders for a growing clientele in a more than 60-mile radius. When the couple applied for the loan last year, the facility was already too small. Willsey said they have added clientele since then.
“We are working into the St. James area and Hermann,” Willsey said, “ We currently provide meals for two wineries, a coffee shop and bed and breakfasts.”
Hummingbird Kitchen provides two kinds of bread, including baguette, to The Bistro at the Mill in Gerald; and dessertitems for the Hermannhoff Wine Trail, Tin Mill Restaurant and Stone Hill Winery in Hermann.
“We are also working to complete a contract with Hermann Farms to cater lunches,” Willsey said.
A bakery and retail location was also part of the expansion project.
“We are working on some fun pastry items for Valentine’s Day for either individuals or businesses,” Willsey said. “We decorate any type of cakes, heart-shaped and individual cakes.
The couple has also been working with Naturally Meramec, a group of small business owners, producers and farmers, to purchase raw products from local providers.
“We are working with all producers –livestock, fruits and vegetables– to develop a larger wholesale customer base and use our retail location on site,” Willsey said.
Maria Bancroft, business loan specialist at MRPC, said the couple’s desire to branch out is what made them perfect candidates for the IRP loan.
The business currently runs specials, such as the Valentine’s Day cakes and the Super Bowl discount, as well as carryout dinner meals on nights and weekends. The retail site will make customer pick-ups easier.
“Hummingbird Kitchen is an ideal example for the purposes and goals with the IRP program,” Bancroft said. “This very unique project is impacting economic growth in the region that is threefold: creating jobs for the community, promoting our local farmers and offering specialty products for businesses and individuals.
“We had a 20 percent increase in sales this year, and we are still in the same space that was too small before,” Willsey said.
With so many additional clients, the Willseys have already hired two additional employees since June to help them keep up. The new site has also already experienced an additional expansion to increase the square footage of the bakery.
“MRPC and Maries County Bank of Owensville have been incredibly willing to work with us,” Willsey said.
Bancroft said the business was worthy of the additional credit extension that expanded the new building again, before it has even opened its doors to the first customer.
“By working together collaboratively with the Maries County Bank and the Willseys, we were able to provide the capital that was needed to make the expansion possible,” Bancroft said. “Which has allowed the company to grow and prosper.”
The couple is hoping to show off their business as soon as it is completed.
“We are trying to do a grand opening in early April for customers to try our products,” Willsey said. “There will be a three-hour window where visitors are welcome to free samples.”
Willsey said the event would be by RSVP. Anyone interested in learning more about Hummingbird Kitchen or would like to see a menu may visit their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/hummingbirdmo or visit them at their current location at 2175 Highway ZZ, Owensville.
Formed in 1969, MRPC is a voluntary council of governments serving Crawford, Dent, Gasconade, Maries, Osage, Phelps, Pulaski and Washington counties and their respective cities. A professional staff of 24, directed by the MRPC board, offers technical assistance and services, such as grant preparation and administration, housing assistance, transportation planning, environmental planning, ordinance codification, business loans and other services to member communities.