Melissa Shahan can’t wait to launch her precut veggies business. The full-time mom said she almost gave up on the idea because she couldn’t find a commercial kitchen.

  • Your Pro Kitchen was founded in 2008 in Largo
  • Florida-based company will have 11 locations by the end of next year
  • Lakeland kitchen will open in mid-October

That is until this summer, when she learned Your Pro Kitchen was opening up near downtown Lakeland, and she decided signed up.

“I can’t do it without this space" said Shahan."There was another kitchen but the price was astronomical for what I’m doing. I needed to try it out and see if it’s going to work. This is a great opportunity."

If the business takes off, she said she’ll use the extra cash to pay bills at home.

“My child is going to a dyslexic school," explained Shahan. "It costs quite a bit, and this is a way to provide for my family."

Your Pro Kitchen plans to open mid-October. It’s moving into the old Salvation Army building, located at 830 N Massachusetts Avenue, near downtown Lakeland.

Franchise owner Sandra Hamberg said the company rents the commercial kitchen to food entrepreneurs for less than $17 an hour. She said the minimum to start renting the space is around $145 per month.

“It provides a legal way to start your food business,” said Hamberg. “By operating legally, you can advertise, you can really get your name and your product out there. We help you get your food permit with the state. We help you get all of the licenses necessary to operate.”

Hamberg's location is where Cheeses & Crust also plans to prepare its classic grilled cheese sandwiches with bread made from scratch.

“The opportunity that this space presents us with is kind of unfounded," said the new company’s Chief Creative Officer, Jeremy Camp. "Can’t really replicate this anywhere else."

Your Pro Kitchen in Lakeland is currently accepting applications from those interested in renting the space. The company first opened in 2008 in Largo. It’s since grown to eight franchises, many across Florida. Three more franchises are scheduled to open in 2017.

For more information, call (407) 492-8807.