Cottage food businesses set to benefit from new policy

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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (NEXSTAR) — Christina Coady started her bakery in 2019, but she doesn’t have a store. She runs it out of her home. In Illinois, it’s called a cottage bakery. That designation brings a lot of restrictions on what can be sold there.

“First year, I had people calling me and asking me to go to their art fairs or asking me to go to other events,” Coady said. “And I wasn’t able to, legally, because I could only sell at farmer’s markets or directly from my home.”

The Illinois legislature passed a bill that expands options for cottage food operations like Coady’s. Now they can use many more avenues to sell there products, including online. That’s big for an industry that many use to test the waters before moving on to a bigger business.

“So many small producers, you know, they just need to be able to start a customer base and kind of test their products,” Molly Gleason with the Illinois Stewardship Alliance said. “So it provides that kind of testing grounds and growing grounds. And then many of them really do want to scale up into a brick and mortar store at some point.”

Coady’s runs her entire business out of her dining room. She hopes to one day own a commercial kitchen, and this new law brings that dream much closer to reality.

“It was the answer to everything I’ve had such a hard path to try to figure out how i could get a commercial kitchen,” Coady said.

Coady already bought a bus to help transport her food all over the city, and when she learned this change was coming, she couldn’t believe it.

“It’s been humbling and amazing. I, i feel so blessed to get to do what i love to do. And i get to do it in my home,” Coady said.

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