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Laura Chenault of Pallet23

Laura Chenault is founder of Pallet23, an innovative event space.

How did you start your business?

I am in the process of launching. The space is being “white boxed” and should be ready for me to start the kitchen build-out by September.

How did you come up the idea for your business?

I have been the organizer and chair of the Celebrity Chef & Wine pairing event during Second Sunday on Main for the past five seasons; I’ve been talking with my chef friends for years about opening a dedicated space for food demonstrations, dinner parties and food events for years. It wasn’t until I found the perfect space in Northside that that vision expanded into what it is now.

What resources here did you take advantage of and how did they help?

A good friend, Barbara Hauser, who works for Procter & Gamble, turned me on to the Springboard program last summer and I signed up right away. Springboard and Sarah Corlett have been instrumental in clarifying my idea by showing me the path and steps I need to tackle to launch.

Several Springboard graduates are Pallet23 collaborators in making the space come to life, including Once Blind Studios, Lucius Limited, Such + Such, E13 and Dulcet Designs, to name a few.

Also, I am so grateful for the generosity of knowledge and advice from successful businesspeople, such as Todd Meyerrose, Bill Cunningham and Tom Hodges, for example. It has been inspiring.

Finally, Carriage House Farm will be creating an edible walkway and landscape, and is donating beautiful wood from their farm for the kitchen build-out and tables. Building Value has generously partnered to fill any supplemental cabinet and countertop needs.

What will a typical day in your business look like?

In the first phase of the launch, I anticipate the space being rented Friday and Saturday evenings for private parties, art openings, reunions, etc. Sunday days will feature cooking events, while Sunday nights will be set aside for private “supper club” chef dinners. I will still need to keep my day job as a freelance producer!

Hopefully, I will start filling the weekdays with meetings, luncheons, video/still shoots, classes etc. and grow the cooking, food component on the weekends.

Interview by Robin Donovan

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