A tenant of the Grand Rapids Downtown Market incubator kitchen has opened a physical location.
Kalene McElveen, owner of Tasteful Vegan Frozen Dessertsgraduated from the Downtown Market incubator program this month and opened a standalone dessert shop on Monday, May 30 at 2265 Porter St. SW in Wyoming.
McElveen began working in the Downtown Market incubator kitchen in July 2020 and launched her first products at Fulton Street Farmers Market in the spring of 2021. Since then, she has also placed her products in several local grocery stores, including Harvest Health in 2021 and Forest Hills Foods. , Bridge Street Market and Spun Sugar Detroit earlier this year.
“The Downtown Market incubator kitchen gave me some amazing experiences, and it was the safest place for an emerging business owner like me to start and grow,” McElveen said. “The downtown market offered low overhead, guidance and a community of business owners who were often six months or a year ahead of me. They gave me invaluable advice on packaging, sourcing ingredients and more.
McElveen grew up a vegetarian in a family that “would turn an average Thanksgiving dinner into a royal feast.” To accommodate her and her brother, Kalene’s mother made special cakes so they wouldn’t miss the party. Her mother’s commitment to others inspired McElveen to launch Tastefull Vegan Frozen Desserts.
“Whether dietary restriction is by choice or necessity, no allergy or food choice should prevent anyone from being able to enjoy one of life’s greatest joys – ice cream,” she said.
Tasteful vegan frozen desserts are free of dairy, tree nuts, soy, gluten, eggs and refined sugar. The company uses Michigan maple syrup as a sweetener and a coconut or fruit base for most products. The Wyoming storefront will sell frozen ice cream, frozen dessert bars and soft serve ice cream.
McElveen is a 2019 Start Garden 5×5 Night winner. She used the $5,000 investment to launch Tastefull Vegan Desserts.