Imagine Kitchen is something entire new and different. The facility is open to anyone who needs the use of a commercial kitchen without going through the expense and red tape of maintaining one themselves.
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Did you know that the Upstate is booming? I know, I know – that’s a major “duh” statement. Greenville has taken off and the growth rate is phenomenal. Now, Spartanburg is emerging has a major hub, hence the nickname “Hub City”. And the result is that all the towns in between are growing as well. And on the Parkway in Greer (just off Pelham Road) is a company called Imagine Kitchen, LLC, owned by Jef and Stephanie Heuerman.
Jef is no stranger to the culinary industry. He studied Pastry Arts at the Midwest Culinary Institute in at Cincinnati State in Cincinnati, Ohio. However, Imagine Kitchen is something entire new and different. The facility is open to anyone who needs the use of a commercial kitchen without going through the expense and red tape of maintaining one themselves. For example, food companies that have outgrown their home kitchens and need a bigger space but aren’t ready for the investment, or farmers market vendors who need seasonal access to a commercial kitchen to create their products – Imagine Kitchen is the perfect solution. Anyone can rent the kitchen for any culinary project you can imagine.
Imagine Kitchen has been the location of choice for caterers, a professional chef who wanted to cater his own wedding, but had long since given up his own commercial kitchen, even a television production company that needed a commercial kitchen to film a potential pilot episode. The possibilities are endless, and everything is ready for any project you might have in mind.
So, how did a couple from Cincinnati end up Upstate South Carolina? As Jef says, things in life come in 3’s. A few life changing events happened all at once – Jef lost both his mother and his father within a short time of each other. In the same timeframe, Stephanie was involved in a very serious automobile accident. Life was suddenly changing, big time, and the Heuermans were considering an even bigger change.
During a vacation/college scouting trip to Myrtle Beach, their travel route brought them right through our area. When their son showed serious interest in Coastal Carolina, the family decided to move here permanently. “South Carolina just felt right.”
Imagine Kitchen is a combination of Jef’s culinary training, a background in marketing and business management for both Jef and Stephanie, and Stephanie’s experience in the IT world. A strong desire to have more control over their daily schedules was the motivator to become their own bosses, especially considering Stephanie’s car accident took place after a 16-hour day, which had become the norm for the Heuermans at the time. Neither Jef nor Stephanie will ever forget the jaws of life having to be used to extract her from her car that night. “Mazda and God saved my life,” Stephanie says.
Both Jef and Stephanie wanted to use their knowledge and experience to help other businesses succeed. They understand that starting a business in the food industry can be tremendously intimidating, but they’ve got you covered. “It’s overwhelming for people just trying to get into this, just dealing with DHEC and stuff. A lot of time we find ourselves sitting around our table just talking ‘okay, you need to do this. Here’s what you need to do.’ We’ll help you get to this, and when you run into something give us a call and we’ll help you out.” They often see the relief in their clients’ faces when the realization hits them that they’ve got someone to work with them and walk them through the process.
Stephanie has even set up a photo studio within the Imagine Kitchen facility for clients to get professional images of their culinary creations to use for their marketing materials and websites. Though she doesn’t have formal photographic training, she is constantly learning and practicing because it is just the creative outlet she needs, and the clients are very grateful to have this option.
With the farmers’ market season upon us, Imagine Kitchen will be hopping, so if you want to learn more and get a tour of the facilities, you’d better act fast. You will be very impressed with the entire facility, and Jef and Stephanie are some of the nicest people you will ever work with.
To learn more, please contact Jef and Stephanie Heuerman at Imagine Kitchen.
Heather Kitchen, Editor-In-Chief
Heather is the editor-in-chief of Upstate Exposures Magazine. She is also the owner of Heather Kitchen Images professional photography based in Inman, South Carolina.