1. Intake Form

Potential clients of the Athens Food Ventures Center and the Nelsonville Food & Farm Enterprise Center are required to complete an Intake Form. The form provides information which helps our staff gain a sense of your business experience, and which assistance areas your business will likely utilize. Once the intake form is complete, you can schedule an intake meeting with our staff to discuss opportunities which fit your needs.


2. Intake Meeting

To schedule your intake meeting, contact AdamK@acenetworks.org or at 740-592-3854 ext. 119

All research and planning conducted ahead of time will increase the productivity of the intake meeting. Before your visit, compare and price product packaging and begin forming a list of markets you plan to access. Study how similar businesses package and market their products as well as the target consumer group you will be trying to reach.

Items to Bring to Intake Meeting:

  1. Intake Packet
  2. Product Recipe
  3. Samples of Product
  4. Names Considering for your Product
  5. Label Design
  6. Examples of Packaging: Size, Container, Lid Styles, Colors
  7. Budget / Financial Projections (if existing business)
  8. Market Research / Information About Similar Products
  9. Business Plan

General Topics Discussed During Meeting:

Product Liability Insurance

Product liability insurance protects your business and your retailers in the event that something happens with your product that could harm a consumer.

Most stores now require a business to have this coverage in the range of $1 -$2 million per occurrence and an aggregate of at least two occurrences. A retailer may also ask that they be listed as an “additional insured”, which provides them with coverage through your policy. A product liability policy may be obtained through your current insurance broker or ACEnet can provide you with an insurance broker that is located near the Food Ventures Center.

Process Authority Letter/FDA Filing

In order to process a bottled product at the Food Ventures Center, it is necessary to obtain a “Process Authority Letter” from an approved third party. This letter verifies your process and determines the FDA classification of your product. The letter will also provide instruction as to the need to file the product with the FDA. If the product needs an FDA filing, this is done by the processing establishment, not your company, unless you operate your own registered establishment. The cost of obtaining a “Process Authority Letter” is approximately $125 and the FDA filing by ACEnet is $30 per product.

Company Structure

Many start-up businesses operate as a sole proprietor, filing taxes under your own personal income tax return. Others operate as a “LLC” or Limited Liability Corporation, providing some “limited” protection for your personal assets and income. As companies grow, they begin to consider forming a regular corporation. We encourage you to research which company structure is best for your business through talking with your attorney or speaking to someone at your local Small Business Development Center.

UPC Codes

The UPC, or bar code, is the image on product labels that stores use to identify your product and its retail price. Bar codes can be obtained in two ways. The first way is to purchase a block of 100 bar codes from gs1.org (LINK). This is the organization that controls the use of bar codes throughout the world. The cost of purchasing your own code is a one-time fee of approximately $850 for 100 codes, and an annual renewal fee of those codes for around $45. The second way is to purchase single codes from a company that operates as a reseller of their own codes. These companies can be found online and typically charge $85 per single code.


3. Scheduling Production

Hours of Access: Monday-Friday 8:30 AM – 5:00 PM

Contact: AdamK@acenetworks.org or at 740-592-3854 ext. 119


4. Production Day

Production Team: Each producer is responsible for assembling a production team of up to six individuals. ACEnet Staff are Not Co-Packers. Production teams must come prepared, and with the capacity to produce and package their own product.

Sign-in Sheet: Producers must list start and stop times and identify their type of usage (thermal processing, catering, bakery etc.) on the Food Ventures Center Sign-in sheet. The Central Kitchen Sign-in is located by the 3 bay sinks. The Thermal Processing Sign-in is above the prep tables by the door.

Clean-up: Each producer is responsible for sanitizing their work space before and after use. Before leaving the facility, producers must wipe down all equipment they have used, mop the section of the floor and sanitize the countertops used during production.


5. Trainings Considerations

Level 1 Food Safety Training: ServSafe Person in Charge Certification

Person-In-Charge (PIC) Certification in Food Protection is a mandated training for the designated person in charge for each shift of a risk level I, II, III, and IV food service operation or retail food establishment if any of the following apply:

  • A food service operation or a retail food establishment initially licensed after March 1, 2010 unless the individual has successfully completed an equivalent or more comprehensive manager certification in food protection course (Manager Certification).
  • A food service operation or retail food establishment has been implicated in a foodborne disease outbreak.
  • The licensor has documented a failure to maintain sanitary conditions in accordance with section 3717.29 of the Revised Code for a retail food establishment or section 3717.49 of the Revised Code for a food service operation.

Level One certification is required for each person in charge of a food production shift. ServSafe food safety training can be obtained through ACEnet..

To obtain Level 1 ServSafe Person in Charge training, contact AdamK@acenetworks.org or at 740-592-3854 ext. 119

Level 2 Food Safety Training: ServSafe Food Protection Manager Certification

The Manager Certification in Food Protection program is a more extensive training that provides managers with in-depth knowledge of proper food safety practices for use in their facilities. ServSafe food safety training can be obtained through ACEnet. ServSafe training covers key areas of Basic Food Safety, Personal Hygiene, Cross-Contamination & Allergens, Time and Temperature, Cleaning and Sanitation.

Beginning March 1, 2017, each risk level III and risk level IV food service operation and retail food establishment is required to have at least one employee with supervisory and management responsibility and the authority to direct and control food preparation and service that has obtained the Ohio Manager Certification in food protection. To obtain Level 2 ServSafe Food Protection Manager training, contact AdamK@acenetworks.org or at 750-592-3854 ext. 119