1. Intake Form
  2. Intake Meeting
  3. Scheduling Production
  4. Production Day

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, email Adam Kody.

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 the 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:

1. 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.

2. 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.

3. 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.

4. 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: Adam Kody at 750-592-3854 ext. 119


Training Considerations:

Level 1 Food Protection Training

Level One certification is required for each person in charge of a food production shift. Training is offered by the Athens City-County Health Department as well as other state-recognized organizations.

See complete listing of Ohio Department of Health’s approved training providers: Level 1 Training Providers.

Level 2 Training

ServSafe food safety training can be obtained through Ohio University, Hocking College, and the Southeast Ohio Regional Food Bank. ServSafe training covers key areas of Basic Food Safety, Personal Hygiene, Cross-Contamination & Allergens, Time and Temperature, Cleaning and Sanitation.

Level 3 Training

In order to produce thermally processed products without the presence of ACEnet staff, a member of the production team must be licensed by the Better Processing School. For a schedule of Better Processing School trainings, visit www.gmaonline.org/news-events and under “Events”, click “Better Process Control Schools.”

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.