Patric Moore, business relations manager for Main Street Skowhegan, stands inside 185 Water St. in downtown Skowhegan in September. The nonprofit organization is looking to transform the space into a shared commercial kitchen. Zara Norman/Morning Sentinel file

SKOWHEGAN — A shared commercial kitchen project in Skowhegan is one step closer to its fundraising goal, thanks to a $99,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture awarded earlier this week.

The nonprofit group Main Street Skowhegan will use the Rural Business Development Grant to fund its commercial kitchen project, dubbed The Kitchen at 185, located downtown at 185 Water St.

The Kitchen at 185 will provide space for local businesses to make and sell their food products. The shared space will reduce startup and overhead costs as well as provide the community with more local food options, according to Kristina Cannon, president and CEO of Main Street Skowhegan.

“We’re invested in our local entrepreneurs and supporting the people that live in our community that want to become business owners,” Cannon said. “It’s really our way of investing locally.”

USDA Rural Development Maine State Director Rhiannon Hampson, in a statement announcing the grant, called Skowhegan “a hive of business development, cultural opportunities and outdoor recreation.”

“When a town has this much to offer, it shows the best of what rural life in Maine can be,” she said.


The renovation of the 6,000-square-foot space, which Main Street Skowhegan is leasing from a Skowhegan resident, is estimated to cost the nonprofit upward of $1 million.

So far the project has received $195,000 from the Maine Technology Institute and $49,940 from the telecommunications company T-Mobile.

That leaves roughly $700,000 to reach Main Street Skowhegan’s fundraising goal. Cannon said that several grants are pending and fundraising is ongoing.

The space is slated to open by early 2025, Cannon said.

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